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Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Birmingham: A Complete Guide

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When facing criminal charges, seeking legal representation is often the first step in fighting for your freedom. No one wants to spend time behind bars or pay hefty fines due to a criminal conviction. Whether you are being charged with your first DUI or your second violent offense, you deserve compassionate legal care during your legal battle. Hiring a lawyer can be an overwhelming task. Find out what you need to know with our guide to hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham.

Check Law Areas Practiced

Not all lawyers cover all areas of law. The legal system is vast and diverges into several categories of practice. When seeking a lawyer for your criminal case, it is important to choose one practicing criminal law. While a criminal law lawyer will be able to help you with any type of criminal case, it may be worth it to consider a lawyer who primarily focuses on your type of crime. For example, a criminal law lawyer may cover all areas of criminal law, but primarily take DUI cases.

Consider Reputation

When hiring a lawyer for your criminal case, you should consider reputation. Reputation can be examined by looking at reviews from other clients. These can be found online with most law firms. You can also consider cases they have represented in the past based on media coverage and successes in the courtroom. You may even be able to ask around town amongst people you know, friends and colleagues, to see if they have any suggestions for criminal law firms.

Do Your Research

Another step in hiring a criminal defense lawyer is to do some research about the lawyers at the firm. This can be done by looking at the law firm’s website to see if they list the credentials and educational background of their legal team. You will want to look at where they studied law, any specialized credentials they have received, how long they have been practicing law in your area, any awards they have won in their law career, and their involvement with the community.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Most law firms will offer a free consultation on your case. This means that you can call and set up a time to discuss your situation with a member of the law firm’s legal team. If you are shopping around for a lawyer or have questions about how a lawyer may be able to help you in the first place, the consultation is the perfect opportunity to get some initial answers and maybe even put your mind at ease. The consultation will allow you to get a feel for the law firm and how they treat clients, as well as their potential strategy for your case if you choose to hire them.

Ask About Fees

One of the reasons some people choose to avoid legal counsel is because they worry about the costs of hiring a lawyer. During the consultation, you should take the time to discuss anticipated legal fees if you choose to hire a law firm to represent you during your criminal case. If you know going in what the fees will be, it can help eliminate hidden fees and stress regarding payment for legal services. You should also ask the lawyer if there is a payment schedule or if fees are due once services are rendered and the case is over.

Come Prepared to the First Meeting

As you prepare for your consultation meeting, you should be prepared to present certain things to the law firm. For starters, you should come to the first meeting prepared to discuss the criminal charges and the events of the arrest or crime. You should also come prepared in the sense that you are somewhat familiar with the possible consequences you are facing as a result of the crime. This will make it easier for the lawyer to discuss the case openly with you since you already have a basic understanding of what is at risk if convicted.

Ask Questions

Another way to come prepared to the consultation meeting is to prepare questions. When you are facing a criminal conviction, you are bound to have questions. The consultation meeting is a great opportunity to ask the questions that are nagging at you during this difficult time. An experienced criminal law lawyer will be to answer your legal questions about your case during this difficult time. From what to expect at the arraignment to the maximum sentencing you may be facing, it is important to bring any important questions to the first meeting to not only get answers but also to gauge how the lawyer answers them as part of the hiring process.

Choose Someone with Confidence and Communication Skills

During the consultation, use this time to gauge how confident the lawyer is since this can be important later on. You want someone with confidence and strong communication skills to represent you in the court room. If the lawyer does not seem confident, able to communicate clearly, and knowledgeable about what they are saying, they may not be the right fit for you case.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Their Plans for Your Case

Before you hire an attorney for your criminal case, you should ask what their plans would be if you hired them to represent you. This will give you a way to gauge how familiar they are with your particular criminal charge, how they intend to fight on your behalf, and what they envision the outcome being for the end of the case. While the outcome will be influenced by outside factors, it is a good start to know what the lawyer thinks is possible for your case.

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