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No one wants to be in a position where they need to hire a criminal defense attorney. However, when it happens there are some things to know to ensure you get the best defense possible. Often this decision is made under duress as life and liberty are on the line, and someone may not know what to look for when deciding who to trust with their future. Experienced criminal defense attorney Jack Litwak shares what to look for when hiring a criminal defense attorney. With years of experience in high-level felony cases across the state of Arizona, he knows what it takes to get the best results possible.
There are 6 factors that Litwak points to when selecting a criminal defense attorney:
- Point of Contact. Who are you interacting with at the first point of contact? Is it an attorney, receptionist, intake specialist, or salesperson?
- Direct and Continuous Contact with your Attorney. Will the attorney have continuous and direct contact with you? Will they get to know you, your family, and your story personally so they can understand you as an actual person rather than a paycheck? Continuous contact should lead to passion in their fight to defend you. Passion in the fight against the government will always yield a better outcome.
- Individualize Representation. Will you be one out of hundreds of clients, or will the attorney have a balanced caseload to be able to provide individualized representation? Will they be able to employ strategies and resources to your specific case and unique needs? No two situations are the same and the attorney you choose needs to be able to represent you in your unique situation, whatever those needs are.
- Aggressiveness. Anyone can say they are aggressive; you need a criminal defense attorney that really is. Aggressive defense does not mean an attorney that is loud or yells in court, it means finding out if this attorney forms early and aggressive trial strategies and who thinks outside the box. Do they review evidence quickly, interview witnesses, and explore all possible constitutional violations? Are they an aggressive and effective cross examiner at evidentiary hearings or trial? By aggressively investigating, interviewing, and preparing for trial the attorney will set you up for the best possible chance of success either in the form of a dismissal, a not guilty verdict, or a favorable plea.
- Experience. Picking an experienced lawyer and an experienced criminal defense lawyer are not the same thing. An attorney with criminal law experience, with a track record of success, is the best choice. Look and see what kinds of cases they have handled; are they new to criminal law, do they dabble in it, or do they focus exclusively on criminal defense? Do they litigate criminal cases in Arizona, and if so, what kinds of cases? Are they handling major felony cases where decades of someone’s life is on the line or only misdemeanors?
- Affordability. Of course, affordability and cost are important to consider when choosing the right criminal defense attorney. What kind of advertisements and caseloads does the firm have? The more overhead a firm has, the more a client will need to pay to help cover that overhead or the more cases a firm will need to take on. So, look at what the price really covers. Do not assume the cheapest is best or that the most expensive attorney is the most experienced or successful. The fee should match the amount of work that needs to be done in each case.
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