What to Look for in an Attorney

When you are facing criminal charges, it can be extremely stressful and frightening. You’re worried about your livelihood, your career, your freedom, and your future. You know that a good criminal defense attorney can help you, but how do you find one?

There are a number of criminal defense attorneys out there. Unfortunately, many of these attorneys use some troubling practices aimed at enticing desperate clients to hire them. When searching for an attorney, please be wary of the following tactics:

Promising Results

No attorney can promise or guarantee results in a criminal case, especially at the beginning of the case, before the discovery process is complete. More often than not, what a client says during the initial interview is much different than what is contained in the police reports and witness statements. How can an attorney promise a result before they have had a chance to view the evidence? Furthermore, a defendant does not have a constitutional right to a favorable plea agreement in a case – that decision is the prosecutor’s alone. So how can an attorney guarantee an outcome before he or she has spoken with the prosecutor? Trial results cannot be guaranteed either. The judge or the jury must make decisions about the evidence and testimony that cannot be fully analyzed at a client’s initial meeting with an attorney (or over the telephone for that matter).

Overaggressive Attorneys Wanting to Take Every Case to Trial

Many times, these attorneys will boast about how battle-tested they are and try to convince you that attorneys not willing to go to trial simply are not doing their jobs. At Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC, we use a balanced approach when representing clients. Some cases should be taken to trial, while many others should be negotiated. There are certain risks with going to trial – with the obvious one being a more severe sentence if the trial is not successful. We prefer to keep all options open and search for the most favorable outcome to the client before closing the door on any hopes of a negotiated plea agreement. Furthermore, a number of defense attorneys elect to file a number of motions with the court to demonstrate how aggressive they are and how hard they are working. Oftentimes, these tactics backfire on the client, who not only pays additional fees but also has to deal with the consequences of these tactics once the patience of the prosecutor and judge is exhausted and the tactics have been unsuccessful. On the other hand, we prefer to take the time to gather the necessary evidence and fully research the issue before filing such motions.

Unprepared attorneys

We firmly believe in being fully prepared for all hearings. We do not believe in meeting with our clients for the first time ten minutes before a scheduled court hearing. We believe in having lengthy meetings to fully discuss all issues well in advance of any court hearings. The client needs to be prepared for hearings and know what to expect. Unfortunately, we’ve seen attorneys meet and speak to their clients for the first time moments before an important hearing countless times. Even if the case is resolved by a plea agreement, he or she needs to be fully prepared on the best manner to present themselves, whether it be in court before the judge, with a probation officer during a pre-sentence investigation, or a diversion officer.

Attorneys Who Overschedule

Why hire an attorney who is so overwhelmed with a large caseload that they cannot give your case the attention it deserves? Or how about the attorney who always has some other attorney in the office covering your case? Our aim in representing clients is to know more about that case than anyone else in that courtroom. How can we gain this knowledge if the case is continually handed off to someone else? We purposely limit the number of cases that we handle at any given time and will personally be present at all hearings and meetings. We do not delegate anything.