How to Choose the Best Attorney for Your Criminal Defense in Ann Arbor
By Daniel T. Geherin
Take The Stress Out of Choosing a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, it’s important that you hire the best criminal defense attorney for your case.
For people who have never been charged with a crime, choosing an attorney for your criminal defense in Ann Arbor can add to an already stressful situation. At Geherin Law Group, we’re here to take some of stress out of that decision, and arm you with a basic framework you can use to help choose the best criminal defense attorney for your case.
Search for a Criminal Defense Attorney Online, Then Schedule a Meeting
When you’re trying to choose the best criminal defense attorney for your case, start by searching online for criminal defense attorneys in your area. Visit their website, and look for information about the lawyer’s background, experience, education, and qualifications.
It’s important to find a lawyer who has experience handling cases like yours. Just like doctors specialize in a particular practice area, so do lawyers. When looking for the best criminal defense attorney for your case, make sure you’re talking to a lawyer who has taken cases to trial, has handled other criminal cases, and has experience with a criminal case like yours.
It’s also important to make sure that you find a lawyer has worked in the jurisdiction where your case is pending. Different courts have different local rules and customs, and it’s important that your lawyer knows the people involved, and any requirements that are unique to a particular jurisdiction.
Narrow your internet search to a handful of lawyers - between 2 and 5 - and call them. See how you feel when you talk to the lawyer and their staff on the phone. Is the staff welcoming? Is the attorney responsive to your questions? Do you feel comfortable calling the office?
Most criminal defense lawyers offer a free initial consultation. This is your opportunity to meet with an attorney face to face, and to see if you’ll feel comfortable working with them. Not every lawyer is right for every client. If you don’t feel comfortable, find a different lawyer who can put you at ease.
As you’re interviewing potential criminal defense lawyers, here are some potential questions to ask:
- How long have you been practicing criminal law?
- Have you represented someone facing a charge like this before?
- What other kinds of cases do you handle?
- How many cases have you taken to trial?
- Are you board certified?
- Have you worked in this particular court before?
How Will This Criminal Defense Attorney Handle Your Case?
When you’re looking for the best criminal defense attorney for your case, schedule a meeting with the lawyer and ask what they’d do with your case. While every case is unique, a good criminal defense lawyer who has handled cases like yours before should be able to give you an overview of the process, what they’d do, and how they anticipate the prosecutor might respond.
A lawyer’s analysis may change as new evidence is uncovered, and as he gets further into the details of your case. But you should leave the meeting with a sense of how the lawyer would proceed.
Some questions to ask might include:
- How would you handle a case like mine?
- Do you think this case would go to trial?
- Have you handled a case like this before?
- What factors work in my favor, and what factors work against me?
- How will a case like this proceed?
- What would be your first steps?
- What investigation would you do in a case like this?
Case Management and Attorney’s Fees
Finally, it’s important to understand how the attorney will handle the case within his office, and how you’ll be billed.
While your attorney for criminal defense in Ann Arbor should strive to give you personal attention, there will be times when you call that your attorney is in court working on other cases. It’s important that you understand how your case will be handled internally within the lawyer’s office.
- Will you be directed to a paralegal or legal assistant?
- Should you leave a message with the receptionist, or is it better to have your message go to voicemail?
- Is this the only lawyer who will be working on your case, or does the lawyer have partners or associates who will also being working on the case?
You should also ask how you’ll be billed. Criminal defense lawyers will usually either handle cases on a flat fee, or will bill you at an hourly rate.
In a flat fee structure, the lawyer will charge one fee for the entire case, or at least a part of it, regardless of how much time the lawyer spends working on your case. Sometimes a lawyer will charge one fee if the case is resolved before trial, and will require additional money if you decide to take your case to trial. Regardless, it’s important that you understand how and when you’ll be billed.
In hourly rate fee structure, you will be billed for every hour the attorney spends on your case. Your lawyer will usually ask for a retainer up front, and will bill against the retainer in hourly increments. Once the retainer amount is used up, the lawyer will ask you to pay more money to continue the defense.
It’s also important that you understand how additional case expenses will be handled. For example, if you need to hire an expert witness, will that be paid for out of the retainer amount, or is that a separate bill? Again, different lawyers handle case expenses differently, and the same lawyer might even make different arrangements depending on the type of case. The important point is that no one wants surprises, so it’s better to ask up front so there is no confusion.
Questions to ask at your initial meeting with your lawyer might include:
- Do you charge a flat fee or an hourly rate?
- Will there be any additional charges and, if so, for what?
- What, if anything, is not included in your fee?
- If any expenses are not included in your fee, what are they and how much do you think they’ll cost?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- When is payment due?
Choosing a criminal defense attorney can be a difficult task. But with a little planning, some research, and knowing what questions to ask, the process can be made a lot less stressful.
Choose the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case
At Geherin Law Group, we want to help you choose the best criminal defense attorney for your case. We understand that being charged with a crime is a stressful situation, and that facing a criminal charge is personal crisis. That’s why we work with our clients to provide personalized solutions based on your unique situation, attend to every client with respect and professionalism, and tailor our advice to meet your personal needs and objectives. We understand that justice is not “one size fits all” and that our clients trust us to guide them through the legal system.
If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at GLG today.
Attorney Dan Geherin is a former prosecutor and Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Ann Arbor with over 25+ years’ experience practicing law. He has tried more than 200 cases, and his accolades and honors demonstrate an unparalleled expertise in the area of criminal law.
Contact Geherin Law Group anytime, 24/7, by calling (737) 263-2780, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by completing our online contact form. We know how stressful it is to be facing criminal charges, and we’re here to help.