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How to Hire the Best Criminal Defense Attorney


When choosing the best attorney for you or your loved one, there are a number of mistakes that you can avoid making by having the proper guidance. This blog is designed to help you make an educated decision about which attorney is right for your case.

Step One

The first consideration is whether you want, and can afford, to hire an attorney. Often times, if you are eligible for incarceration and your income falls below a certain threshold, the Court may appoint a public defender to support you. There are times when continuing with the public defender may be right for you, such as when you cannot afford to hire an attorney of your choosing or if you are comfortable with the defender. Some attorneys work part-time as public defenders as a service to the community or until they can build their private practice up. There are some reliable public defenders who have experience with the judges and the prosecutors, and will aggressively fight for you; however, you must remember that sometimes the public defender may be overburdened with a large number of cases. He or she may not return your phone calls in a time frame that you think is appropriate or makes you feel comfortable. In fact, your public defender may not even have time to meet with you at all, until your court appearances. After all, public defenders can have hundreds of cases, in addition to any private cases to attend to as well. Many of these may even occur on the same day. There are only so many hours in the day that a public defender can give attention to your case.

Step Two

Once you determine that you can afford to hire a private attorney, make sure to research the attorney. There are a number of websites such as, where you can find out the attorneys ethics and experience levels, especially in Peoria County. Do not be fooled by someone who says they are a trial attorney. Research the area newspapers to see how many major cases the attorney has actually taken to trial or successfully won. The name of the game is RESULTS. You want the best lawyer you can afford.

Step Three

Once you find the prospective attorney's experience, visit his or her office. Observe if his staff cordial and professional. Take note of how he keeps his files. You don't want to hire the attorney whose offices are unorganized and outdated, because that is probably how he will treat your case. There are attorneys who use iPads and there are attorneys who feel more comfortable with a typewriter. The best attorneys look for angles, take advantage of modern day technology, and structure their office well. If you're looking for an attorney like Perry Mason, that will probably not serve you well either. Each case must be treated differently. You don't want your jury to hear the same cut and paste Perry Mason argument. While there is no such thing as someone looks like an attorney, there are both advantages and disadvantages to age. The advantage of a young attorney may be that attorney is ambitious, and ready to passionately defend you, but they may not have much courtroom experience. The advantage of an older attorney is that the older attorney may have more experience, yet they may fail to be energetic about your case. One must evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of age very carefully.

Step Four

Additionally, you want to see which attorney instills the most confidence. Does he look prepared? Is he sleek or are his clothes wrinkled or disheveled. I have heard clients in Peoria and Tazewell County remark that attorneys do not take care of themselves physically will not take care of their cases either. Ask what the attorney's game plan is for your particular case? Make sure he can tell you the last times he had a jury trial. Again, you don't want to hire a trial lawyer who refuses to go to trial. Surely, not every case is one that is appropriate to advocate before a jury, but odds are a successful attorney who fights is at a minimum trying a few a year.

Step Five

Finally, you want to determine how appropriate his fees are. An attorney can charge based on his skill level and the work he anticipates will be needed in your case. You want to hire the best lawyer you can afford and who makes you feel the most comfortable. They should be able to counsel you and be knowledgeable of the law.

Call my office if you have any further questions about how to get the best attorney. I am a Peoria criminal defense attorney with over a decade in experience. Get in touch with my office for your free case evaluation.

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