10 Tips for Hiring the Best Private Criminal Defense Attorney in NM
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is more than just picking a name out of the phone book or picking the first attorney with a website. Instead, it requires some due diligence on your part – after all, this person could determine how much freedom you have in the future. When you are in need of legal representation, there are a few things that you need to consider first before signing any retainer agreements.
10 Things to Consider
- Determine the immediacy of the situation. If you have been accused of a crime, you need an attorney immediately – this cannot wait. Delay in seeking legal counsel could be detrimental to your case.
- Look for an attorney who has experience with your type of crime. Not all attorneys have copious amounts of experience in every type of criminal charge. So, you will want to inquire about what types of cases they mostly handle, how many of those types of cases they take on per year, etc. The more experience they have with your crime in particular, the better the outcome could be.
- Know what you are paying for. When an attorney asks that you sign a retainer agreement, it should outline the professional relationship – including what is expected of the attorney and what you are expected to provide as the client. Read this agreement very carefully, and make sure that you understand fully what you are paying for. Will fees include expenses, or will these be separate? Separate fees will add up quickly – and you need to know what comes included with the attorney’s hourly rate.
- Visit the attorney’s records. You can check with the New Mexico State Bar Association to see if your prospective attorney has any pending actions or previous actions taken against him or her.
- Ask about predictions. While the attorney cannot give you a full prediction, he or she should be able to give you an opinion as to how he or she sees your case moving forward – such as if it is suspected that you will need to take a plea deal, if there is enough evidence, etc.
- Who will be assisting. Most criminal defense attorneys do not work alone. They either have secretaries, paralegals, or other associates in the office working on your case. You will want to know who will be handling your case, as well as who you will deal with on a day-to-day basis.
- Create a strategy. You should be able to actively discuss your case with the attorney and devise a defense strategy. If the attorney does not seem interested in your opinion or working toward what you want, then you should consider switching representation.
- Attentiveness. When you are talking with the attorney, make sure he or she is giving you full attention. Some attorneys will use consultations to just get to know you very briefly – and may even be working on other tasks while talking with you. You want an attorney who actually gives you his or her full attention – because that means that he or she will put the same attention toward your case.
- Experience with prosecutors. The more a criminal defense attorney works in the same city, the more likely he or she is to develop a working relationship with the prosecutors. This relationship could be helpful if you need to negotiate a plea deal; therefore, inquire about how often the professional tries cases just like yours, and if the attorney knows the prosecutor assigned to your case.
- Use realistic expectations. If you have good evidence against you, do not expect your attorneys to work miracles. While they may be able to have evidence excluded during motions, there are times when your attorneys can only do so much. Be realistic and ask for realistic expectations from your attorneys – that way, you have a better idea of what to expect with your case.
Schedule a Consultation Today
The best way to find the right criminal defense attorneys is to meet with them through a consultation. This is a time for you to ask questions and get to know them, and for the professionals to assess your case. To meet with a criminal defense attorney, contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices now at 505-375-4661, or fill out our online contact form with your questions.