What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you find yourself arrested or charged with a crime in Maryland, chances are that you will need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer.

With the help of an experienced Maryland defense attorney, you will learn all of your rights, the stages of the criminal process, and the options you have when it comes to potential sentencing.


Criminal charges are serious matters that you should not handle lightly. With a criminal charge, you face severe consequences such as jail time, hefty fines, family strain, a criminal record, loss of future jobs, and more.

In fact, if you dealing with a criminal arrest, you are going to need the most effective criminal defense attorney in Maryland to protect you and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

But how do you know the defense attorney you are hiring is the very best?

Today, we are going to look at some of the key things to look for in any criminal defense lawyer that you consider hiring to represent you; so, that you can rest assured your case is handled in the most professional and effective way.


Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Maryland

Regardless of how minor you crime seems, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice before moving forward with your case. This way, you can fully understand the charges against you, the available defenses you have, the legal process, and possible consequences you face.


Three Types of Criminal Defense Attorneys

  1. State Criminal Defense Attorney. State criminal defense attorneys specialize in state law. This includes cases such as murders, robberies, property crimes, serious traffic violations like DUI’s, and family disputes such as those involving domestic violence.
  2. Federal Criminal Defense Attorney. Federal criminal defense attorneys deal with cases such as violations of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, such as serious drug and embezzlement charges, bankruptcy, copyright, and patent cases.
  3. Public Defender. A public defender differs from a criminal defense lawyer in that public defenders are paid for by the general public, and you generally have to meet their low income threshold to qualify for their services.


What to Look For When Choosing Quality Maryland Defense Lawyer

Local Experience


If you were in Maryland when you were arrested and charged with a crime, it is best to hire a local attorney that has experience with Maryland law.

In addition, you should aim to hire an attorney that has experience in the courthouse where your case is pending. Some people take this too far and believe that they need an attorney in the very county or city in which they are charged. That is not the case. Sometimes, it helps, but many criminal attorneys practice all over the State.

Local lawyers familiar with all of the key players in the legal process – judges, police officers, and even court personnel– typically have a good idea how each performs during court proceedings. For example, your criminal defense lawyer may know which prosecutors are likely to plead before trial, those who will negotiate well in advance, and how judges are likely to handle sentencing in a particular case.


Areas of Practice

Every crime is different. Try finding a Maryland attorney that has experience defending others with similar offenses to yours. In fact, during your initial consultation, you should question your potential criminal defense attorney on matters such as:

  • Possible defenses
  • Experience with the crime you are charged with
  • Likely results
  • Options given your charges


These are all important factors that will affect your attorney’s ability to defend you properly.


Legal Staff

It is not unusual to have a lot of contact with your criminal defense lawyer’s legal staff. During your consultation, ask how much involvement others working on your case will have.



Communication is key when it comes to handling your criminal case.

Unfortunately, the legal process often takes a long time to move through Maryland’s court system. That said, it is crucial your criminal defense lawyer keep you up to date on any changes in your case status. This is especially true when it comes to required court appearances.

Finding out how well your attorney will communicate with you while your case is handled is best done during your initial consultation.

Ask about:

  • Email availability
  • Response times
  • How often to expect status updates
  • Who in the office will have access to your personal case file


After all, you must be sure that your attorney is fulfilling that legal obligation of confidentiality. That means not speaking with anyone other than yourself or those you have approved to receive information on your behalf about your case.


Attorneys’ Fee

Lawyers, no matter which kind you are working with, have the tendency to be very expensive. Understanding from the beginning how much your attorney’s fees will be is a good way to avoid any future disputes.

Find out ahead of time how much your attorney will bill, either hourly or as a flat fee. If billing hourly, find out if you must pay a retainer fee up front and how much of the casework that will cover before having to pay another retainer. If billing a flat fee to handle your entire case, again, make sure to ask what tasks are covered. Oftentimes, there are miscellaneous fees that are not covered in a flat fee case, especially if the case goes to trial.

Lastly, if you need financial assistance, make sure ahead of time if the attorney you want to work with allows for payment plans. If so, make sure it is clearly stated in the representation contract how much will be owed and how often, again to avoid any later disputes.


In the end, finding the right attorney to represent you when you have been arrested or charged with a crime can take some time and due diligence, despite time being of the essence. That’s why understanding what to look for in a high quality criminal defense lawyer is so vital.

As one of the top attorneys in the Maryland area, Dilip Paliath, Esq. understands what it takes to be an exceptional criminal defense attorney.

Whether you are seeking simple legal advice, or need a criminal defense lawyer to defend you in a court of law, Dilip has you covered. Offering free 30-minute consultations, Dilip is convinced he will be able to help you get the best defense and ultimately the best outcome possible with your criminal case.

Contact Dilip Paliath, Esq. today and see how he can help you with your legal troubles. He is dedicated to his clients and helps guide them through the legal process step-by-step answering all questions that come his way. In addition, he maintains an open line of communication, he explains all available defense options available, and he protects his clients’ rights at all times. If you are in need of an effective and successful criminal defense lawyer, Dilip Paliath, Esq. is the lawyer for you..


Dilip Paliath, Esq.


  1. You bring up a good point that your attorney should keep you informed on any updates or changes to your case and its status as things move forward. If you are involved in a criminal case, this may be especially important since you are likely fairly stressed in the first place. I think an attorney who is able to help you feel comfortable and communicate well with you can save you a lot of stress by keeping in the loop and making sure your concerns are being taken care of as far as the legal system goes.

  2. My brother is looking for a good criminal defense attorney and I want to make sure I can help if he needs it. Thank you so much for talking about the importance of choosing a lawyer that communicates well and who is available when you need them. Personally, I would want to find someone that can explain the possible outcomes of my case and who can provide the advice I need to get the results I need.

  3. I never took into account how communication could play a vital role in the outcome of a case. I like how you suggest asking the lawyer amount their response times to any questions or inquiries you may have about your case. I feel like this would be really helpful in determining if the lawyer you’re speaking with would be right for a case.

  4. I liked how you pointed out that it’s important to hire a criminal law attorney that has experience working with the court where you case is being heard. I’ve read elsewhere that the experience level an attorney has makes the biggest impact as to the outcome of your case. If it were me, I wouldn’t take any chances and would definitely take the time to look at what experience a lawyer has with cases similar to mine in the courthouse where mine will be held before hiring them.

  5. My brother has recently received a moving violation and he is looking for the best attorney to help defend him. So I like your suggestion to try to find a lawyer that has dealt with cases that are similar to yours before so that they have the best experience to help you win. I’ll be sure to tell my brother that he should try to track down an attorney that has worked on a lot of moving violation cases before so that they will be able to help him in the best way.

  6. My brother was arrested for DUI and reckless driving last weekend. It was not the proudest moment of his life, he says, and we wanted to help him through it. The court is providing a lawyer but seeing as this is a criminal case, we wanted to know if hiring our own would give him a better chance of winning the case. I’ll be sure to note all these tips and discuss it with my family. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for saying that you would want to consider if a lawyer has experience with local and state laws in your area. Because these laws vary from state to state, it would be good to find someone who is local to you. My sister is looking for a criminal lawyer for her son, so she’ll have to consider what kind of experience they have.

  8. It’s interesting to learn that there are primarily three types of criminal defense attorneys, such as the state criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUIs, the federal criminal defense attorney who deals with federal statutes, and the public defenders who are paid for by the general public as you’ve mentioned. That is quite helpful to learn as being able to differentiate them in the time of need would be important. Not knowing who to get when you are falsely accused of something might lead you to be falsely convicted. Thanks for the tip on what to look for a criminal defense lawyer!

  9. That is a good idea to try and find a criminal defense lawyer that has experience defending others with similar offenses as your case. I have a friend who really wants to find a lawyer, and I think that would be a good idea to search for one that has dealt with similar cases. Thank you for the tips! I will be sure to tell my friend.

    • Hi Deb, We’re happy to hear that you found the post to be informative. Best of luck to your friend! If they need an attorney in Maryland, please be sure to give us a call!

  10. A friend of mine was arrested last night for DUI, and he was convinced that he can defend himself in court because he knows that he has done nothing wrong and that it was a misunderstanding. At first, I thought that he can actually pull it off, but now I am not so sure. It is great that I came across this article because like you said, it is always good to seek legal advice because they fully understand the charges against a person, the possible defenses that they have, and many others. I will be sure to try to convince him. Thank you.

  11. I appreciate your comment about how you should hire a criminal defense lawyer that specializes in your specific type of case with a lot of experience. My brother is looking into criminal attorneys; thanks or the suggestions.

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