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|10 Tips for Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer|
10 TIPS FOR FINDING A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER:
1) Do not delay! If you are being investigated for or charged with a crime (including DUIs), you should consult a lawyer immediately. You will not be able to find a lawyer if you wait until the day before a court appearance.
2) Remember you are hiring a professional that you can trust. If you are uncomfortable with the way you are initially treated, you will probably be uncomfortable with that person as your lawyer. If the lawyer is not professional or you cannot trust them, DO NOT HIRE THEM!
3) Call AT LEAST three lawyers. The more you initially call, the more you will understand if you are being given accurate information.
4) Talk with each lawyer over the phone about the basic nature of the case (e.g. charges, jurisdiction, next court appearance, etc).
5) Talk with each lawyer about his/her experience level (how long have they practiced, where have they practiced, have they handled cases like yours, etc.).
6) Talk with each lawyer about what an initial, in person consultation would cost (some lawyers charge for an initial consultation, many do not).
7) If it seems too good to be true, it is. No lawyer should promise you that he/she can have your case dismissed. No lawyer should promise you to “win the case for you.” If they do, keep looking for a lawyer. Remember, you are the primary judge whether a lawyer is adequately serving your interests.
8) Talk with each lawyer about how much he/she charges for a case as you have described (flat fee? hourly fee?), how much time they expect to spend on the case, and how much of a retainer he/she requires. Note that a lawyer's retainer request is not always intended to be an estimate of total fees. Also remember, hiring a lawyer can be and often is expensive.
When comparing lawyers, you may consider a lawyer's hourly rate as a more accurate measure of cost than their quoted retainers. A $100 difference may not seem like much, but it can add up quickly. For example, if Lawyer A works a full day on your case, at the hourly rate of $250 per hour, the cost to you is $2,250. If Lawyer B works the same day, billing at $350 per hour, the cost would be $3,150 -- almost a thousand dollars more.
Having said that, it should be true (but not always) that Lawyer B may be more experienced and with that experience may be able to resolve your case more quickly, and more successfully.
Bottom line - if the rates you are quoted are extremely low or extremely high, you may want to keep looking for a lawyer.
9) Are they a lawyer? This isn't usually a problem, however, you can find out whether the lawyer you are speaking with is in Good Standing with the Supreme Court of Colorado by visiting www.coloradosupremecourt.com. This site will also tell you whether the lawyer has a public disciplinary history.
10) If you decide to retain a lawyer, read and understand the fee agreement before you sign it. Always get a copy of the fee agreement for your records.