When you search for a criminal defense lawyer online, you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The top search results on Google are made of lawyers who have “won” the marketing game—but aren’t necessarily the best options for your case. We independently review law firms and only list true winners on Legal Legends.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need all the help you can get to reduce (or avoid) your sentence. Criminal defense attorneys know all of the loopholes and tricks of the legal system, and can help you avoid costly mistakes that could very well sink your case. The right attorney is an ambitious advocate who will never stop fighting for your rights.
Criminal defense attorney costs will fluctuate based on your location, the type of crime you’re being charged with, and your lawyer’s personal experience. Some lawyers work on retainer, meaning you pay up front for a certain number of hours. Some bill hourly. Others charge a flat rate for certain services—for example, $1800 for DUI defense.
Yes, many do. A case evaluation is a golden opportunity to get an honest, impartial look at your case. At a consultation, your lawyer will go over your situation, help answer your questions, inform you of potential pitfalls and things to watch out for, and let you know the reality of your charges and what to expect from your case.
A criminal defense attorney’s job is to represent in court those who have been charged with a crime, namely a misdemeanor or a felony. Representation is guaranteed by the Constitution, but you may privately hire a criminal defense attorney if you wish (and it’s generally a good option to do so, as you may receive better assistance with your case).
When you’re represented by a public defender, you may or may not be getting a lawyer who will truly fight for you. A great lawyer is your Number One advocate, and will do everything possible to prove your innocence, keep you out of jail, and to reduce your sentence. A great lawyer can mean the difference between freedom and prison.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, but MOST attorneys must be licensed by their state bar to practice law. It’s a waste of your precious time to find who looks like an excellent attorney online, only to find out that they aren’t licensed in your state. With Legal Legends, you can search for representation in your state only, making the whole process simple and easy.
Find out if your lawyer specializes in criminal defense, how long they’ve been practicing law, and how many defendants they have represented successfully. Ask for an honest opinion of your case, and what you can expect from legal proceedings. And of course, make sure that they have a habit of communicating frequently with their clients.
When you’re assigned a public defender, the judge will rarely grant your request to switch attorneys. That’s one of the benefits of hiring a private defense attorney—YOU are in control of who represents you and your case, meaning you have the best possible chance to work with someone who truly supports you and will fight for you.
You could technically represent yourself, but this tactic is rarely successful. Prosecutors routinely walk all over defendants who self-represent, and we don’t recommend it. Hiring a lawyer gives you much better odds at avoiding serious repercussions like community service and jail time. Don’t take the risk!