You probably feel overwhelmed if you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Dayton, OH. Maybe you are also confused about what happened and how you ended up at this point. Now you have to start the process of finding a lawyer to represent you.
This may be one of the most important decisions you make in your criminal case. A good criminal defense lawyer can be the difference between getting convicted and getting the charges reduced or dismissed. They can also help you mitigate your punishment if you are convicted. That may include less jail time or lower fines.
You might have the urge to hire the first Dayton criminal defense lawyer you meet with, but that is not always the best option. You should ask your lawyer several questions during your free consultation to ensure they are the best fit.
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What Happens During a Free Consultation With an Attorney?
A free initial consultation is a common service that Dayton defense lawyers provide to prospective clients. During a free consultation, the lawyer will get information from the person about their case. This will include the nature of the charges and biographical information. Usually, the consultation lasts around an hour, but it can vary from firm to firm.
It’s also an important opportunity for the prospective client to get information about the lawyer and law firm. While many people like lawyers who have advertisements and billboards around town, that doesn’t mean they are the best choice.
It’s better to choose a lawyer that you are comfortable with and trust than someone purely based on their name. You’ll want to have an idea of what to ask the lawyer before the meeting so that you can find the best legal representation for your case.
Important Questions To Ask a Dayton Criminal Defense Lawyer During a Free Case Evaluation
Don’t feel embarrassed bringing a list of questions to the consultation with your Dayton criminal defense attorney.
You might think it will be easy to remember everything, but chances are you’ll forget something. After all, it can be overwhelming to talk about what happened, answer questions about yourself, and get all the information you need to make an informed decision.
How Do You Bill Clients?
Lawyers don’t work for free. You’ll want to understand how the attorney bills clients. It’s better to discuss this upfront than to be surprised later in the case.
Many criminal defense lawyers charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services.
With an hourly rate, the lawyer will keep track of the hours that they work on a case. At the end of the month, they will send a bill to their client for the hours that have been worked thus far. The longer your case lasts and the more work your lawyer does, the more you will pay. More complex cases – and those that go to trial – tend to be more expensive than those that resolve quicker.
A flat fee, on the other hand, is a fee arrangement where a lawyer charges a certain amount based on the charge. This is very common in DUI cases and matters involving certain misdemeanors. It’s also possible that the attorney will charge a flat fee for representation up to a certain point (like up until trial) and then charge you hourly after that.
What Services Are Included in Your Fees?
You may assume that all services are included in your lawyer’s fees. While some attorneys operate in this manner, not all do.
Common services include:
- Investigating the case (and hiring private investigators)
- Collecting evidence
- Sending forensic evidence for testing
- Consulting expert witnesses
- Copying discovery
- Creating exhibits
- Appearing in court
- Appealing a conviction
Remember to ask the lawyer specifically what services they will provide to you. This includes asking about additional costs that may arise during your case. It is better to know what is included upfront than to be surprised by the bill.
What Is Your Experience Handling Cases Similar To Mine?
Many criminal defense lawyers specialize in a particular type of case. This may include drug crime cases, domestic violence cases, or sex crimes. Even though the lawyer may be an expert in their field, you want to ensure that they have experience handling cases similar to yours.
You should ask the lawyer if they have defended people with similar charges and see if they will share details about what happened in those cases. Did they go to trial? Did they negotiate a favorable plea deal? Can you speak to a former client as a referral?
Certain lawyers out there will tell prospective clients they can handle any type of criminal case. While this may be true for some law firms, it’s usually better to hire a lawyer that has specific experience handling cases like yours. This becomes even more important the more severe your charges.
What Is the Best Way To Reach You, and How Will You Update Me About My Case?
Lawyers are busy, and it can sometimes be difficult to get in touch. Talk with the lawyer about the best way to get in contact with them. For some attorneys, it may be by calling the office, sending an email, or even texting.
You also want your lawyer to contact you with updates about your case. Ask the lawyer how often they will update you and how they will do it. Will they request an in-person meeting or a phone call?
Remember that your lawyer has an ethical responsibility to keep you updated about your case. You want to make sure you don’t miss important updates.
How Long Will My Case Take?
During the initial consultation, you can take the time to get an idea of how long your case might last. This is important so that you can get an idea of the lawyer’s fees (especially if they charge by the hour) and also so that you can prepare yourself for the road ahead.
Every case is different, but a criminal defense lawyer in Dayton should be able to give you a general range during your consultation.
Hire a Dayton Criminal Defense Attorney That Best Suits Your Needs
You should never settle for a lawyer that doesn’t meet your standards. If you feel uncomfortable with the lawyer during your initial consultation, chances are they won’t be the right fit. Don’t be afraid to talk with multiple lawyers before making a choice. It’s better to work with the right lawyer than to make a knee-jerk decision that turns out to hurt your case.
Call Our Dayton Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you are charged your right to remain silent except for asking for a Dayton criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC are here to help you fight charges.
You do not have to face these allegations alone. Learn about your legal rights and potential defenses during a free consultation with one of our lawyers.