How To Find a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer
What to Look for In a Criminal Defense Attorney
Before you start looking for a lawyer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Criminal defense as a primary practice area. Law, like medicine, can be a specialized field, and many attorneys take cases in just a few main areas of practice. This allows them to get the experience and deeper knowledge they need to be more effective for their clients. Just as you’d go to a heart specialist for heart troubles, you should go to a criminal defense lawyer for help with your criminal defense case. This may sound obvious, but it can be tempting to ask a friend or relative who is an attorney to help you with your situation for free, even if they have no background in criminal defense. But think twice before doing this. In criminal matters, so much is at stake: your reputation, your assets, your work or family situation, or possibly even your freedom. This is a situation where you want to work with someone who dedicates a significant amount of their time to criminal defense.
A good fit for your case. Criminal law encompasses a large range of crimes, from driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) to robbery to premeditated murder. Criminal defense attorneys, like other types of attorneys, tend to narrow their focus over time by taking on cases of the same type, which gives them greater experience in defending those crimes. You want to work with an attorney who regularly handles cases like yours.
Years of experience. Experience in criminal defense matters. Ideally, you should work with an attorney who has significant experience handling criminal defense cases like the kind you need help with.
Local. In criminal matters it’s a good idea to hire an attorney who regularly works with the prosecutors and judges in the courts where you’re being charged. The relationships and connections formed over time between attorneys, judges, and others in the local courts are invaluable and can’t be duplicated by an attorney from another part of the state without that history.
Courtroom / trial experience. You need a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in the courtroom as well as trial experience. This is an imperative skill set to look for in a criminal defense attorney. Not only do you want one with plenty of courtroom experience and a good track record, you also want the lawyer representing you to have good judgment about when to take a matter to trial. Going to trial means more stress and more money, but sometimes it’s the only way to defend your rights and see justice done.
Bonus: other related experience. Criminal defense attorneys who have previous experience working in the prosecutor’s office bring a unique and valuable perspective to their clients. They understand how the state prosecutes a case and what makes for a good defense. Likewise, criminal defense attorneys who have previous experience in the public defender’s office also bring valuable insights to their clients. Before founding The Carolina Law Group, Monty worked as prosecutor in the Greenville County Solicitor’s Office and Nihar was on the other side in the Greenville County Public Defender’s Office. Mitchell also worked as a prosecutor for the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, focusing on traffic, violent, and economic crimes. This allows them to draw from their past experience to more effectively represent their clients.
Good reputation. Work with an attorney who has a good reputation among your friends and family, their past clients, and/or the legal community. An attorney with a good reputation will have more favorable reviews than unfavorable ones online, may hold positions of responsibility in community or legal associations, and may have received recognition and accolades. For example, attorneys of The Carolina Law Group have been listed among the Legal Elite, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40, and Super Lawyers Rising Stars, among others. Accolades like these show that the attorney is recognized and respected by their clients, their peers, and their profession.
Good communication. One of the biggest complaints people have about their attorneys is how hard it is to get a hold of them. While you’re going through one of the most stressful experiences of your life, trying to recover from an accident and get much needed damages, you need to know that your attorney is concerned about you and moving your case forward. Look for a lawyer who makes it a priority to keep the lines of communication open. Here at The Carolina Law Group, we make sure to keep our clients up-to-date on the status of their case through regular contact with their case manager. Plus, we actually give our clients our personal cell phone numbers so they know they can contact us if they need to, which is very rare in our profession!
Good support staff. You shouldn’t expect to work exclusively with your attorney 100% of the time. It’s common practice to work closely with other members of the support staff, such as paralegals. That’s why it’s important to find a law firm with a team you like and trust, as it can make all the difference between a pleasant experience and a stressful one.
Schedule a Consultation with the Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
Choosing a criminal defense attorney to represent you may feel like a daunting task but hopefully the information above helps. We encourage you to call us at one of the numbers below to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with us. The criminal defense attorneys at The Carolina Law Group have helped people in South Carolina with:
- Driving under suspension
- Drug offenses
- White collar crimes
- Violent crimes
and more. We’re here to help protect your rights and we’re ready to go to court to fight for you.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).
Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only.