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The Ultimate Checklist for Choosing a Criminal Justice Attorney

The Ultimate Checklist for Choosing a Criminal Justice Attorney

The checklist below is a basic guideline for choosing a criminal justice attorney. The questions it covers are the most important ones to ask when interviewing potential Criminal Justice Attorneys. The checklist can be used by individuals, lawyers, or law firms that need an attorney for a specific case. The checklist also includes tips on how to evaluate your lawyer once you have chosen one and what you should do if things go wrong with your representation.

Do you want to hire a single attorney or a criminal defense team?

The necessity for a defense attorney may arise at any moment, and it is impossible to devote the time necessary to handle each case. When an attorney has a team of other attorneys assisting him or her, the single lawyer may be bogged down in court all day while the team assists with activities and gets tasks completed.


What kind of cases does the Criminal Justice attorney take? 

The attorney's website should list the categories of cases he or she is willing to take. The following are common types of criminal cases an attorney may be willing to take:

  • Drug possession, drug trafficking, and sale charges
  • Assault (physical)
  • Domestic violence assault and battery (including spousal abuse)
  • Murder / manslaughter*

*Note that only a small percentage of attorneys will have experience with homicide law.*

Does your Criminal Justice Attorney have prior experience in both State and Federal Courts?

There are several instances in which a case may transition from a state to a federal case without notice. You'll be unable to locate a new attorney if your lawyer isn't qualified to defend you in federal court. When you hire an attorney who is familiar with both Federal and State courts, you can rest confident that you will get high-quality representation no matter where the case sends.

Does this Criminal Justice Attorney specialize in my type of case?

Nothing is worse than hiring the best criminal justice attorney in the city to represent you, only to find out that he or she does not have any experience with your specific type of case. 

  • No need to worry about finding the best attorney for your case
  • Easy to find attorneys with your specific specialty near you
  • Sort by relevant criteria like location, ratings, and more

The easiest way to determine if someone specializes in your particular area would be reading what other people say about them online through testimonials, reviews, etc. Another idea might be asking yourself. Does this attorney seem to be an expert in his or her field? The combination of these two approaches should lead you towards finding a great criminal justice attorney.

  • The easiest way to determine someone specializes in your type of case
  • Look for testimonials, reviews, etc online
  • Consider asking yourself if this attorney is an expert

Are they available when I need them? Will they return my calls or emails promptly? 

Make sure that you can always get in touch with them. The best way to do this is to call and leave a message, send an email or text, and then give it 24 hours before calling back again. It's important that your chosen Criminal Justice Attorney returns all of these calls promptly so you don't feel as though they're trying to hide something from you about the case by not returning your phone call immediately upon receiving it.

Will They Answer My Questions?

If at any time during the evaluation process or throughout litigation your questions are met with silence (or worse yet no answers), consider looking elsewhere - especially if there isn't anything on their website explaining why they may be delayed in responding. The best criminal justice attorneys will answer all of your questions, whether they're big or small. 

  • Get the information you need to make a decision
  • Get accurate, honest, and up-to-date information about your legal situation
  • You will always know what is happening with your case
  • Dedicated criminal justice attorneys are available 24/7

How Much Experience Do They Have?

Criminal law is serious business - don't trust your freedom to just anyone who says they know what they're doing. Ask potential candidates how many years they have been practicing criminal law specifically - this will give you a good indication of their experience and expertise in the field. 

The best criminal defense attorneys will have at least a decade of experience under their belt - and they should be active in the community as well as members of associations, such as The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers or The American Bar Association.

Are They Connected?

If you've found an attorney that has all the qualities listed above but just doesn't seem to 'get' your case then it's time for some due diligence on your part! Look up this lawyer online and make sure there aren't any complaints filed against him/her with The State Bar Of California or another governing body. 

  • The search for a good lawyer just got easier
  • Check Google results and other online databases to see all the information about them
  • Save time by checking courthouse records and court documents- it can help you make a decision
  • Get reliable information 

The best criminal justice attorneys should understand how important networking is when trying to secure representation - particularly within the legal community. The more connected they are, the better chance you'll have at finding someone willing (and able) to take on your case before all hope seems lost. Your chosen attorney should have no problem sharing this information with you free as well as giving you a list of references to speak with.

The bottom line is this: 

Don't be afraid to ask lots and lots of questions. The more you know about your lawyer and the case, the better off you'll be. Take some time during your evaluation process to research all of your potential candidates and then choose the one that seems like they'll fight for you tooth and nail - no matter what.


Do You Need a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust?

With Lynn Gorelick you don't have to face criminal charges alone. You will receive personal attention to your case. Ms. Gorelick will be the one to appear in court with you from beginning to end. Ms. Gorelick, herself, will be doing your DMV hearings. You will not be handed off to another attorney or associate. You deserve this kind of attention to your needs at this stressful time. Ms. Gorelick has represented people charged with DUI for over 38 years.  She has NEVER been a prosecutor who pursues convictions. She has only DEFENDED people accused of crimes. Contact us today for your consultation!


The materials available on this website are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.  You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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