Anyone that finds themselves facing a criminal charge, no matter how minor it may seem, should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Maryland.
Chances are if you are in trouble with the law, you will be in need of an attorney right away. However, it is critical you do your research and find an attorney that has a good reputation, is trustworthy, and of course is affordable.
That’s why today we are going to look at the top reasons why you should hire a criminal defense attorney and the best way to do so. After all, the attorney you hire might mean the difference between a case dismissal and jail time.
Why Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Maryland?
If you are charged with a crime, you should always consider it a serious matter. You risk facing penalties, fines, a criminal record, loss of family, friends, and jobs and even jail time depending on the crime you have committed.
Trying to handle a criminal charge on your own, especially one that goes to court before a judge or jury, is never recommended.
Most people do not understand the complexities of the law and can land themselves in more trouble than ever if they do not have proper legal representation helping them along the way.
Some of the Benefits Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
1. Legal Advice
A legal consultation can help guide you through the process that’s ahead of you. Further, an attorney experienced with your type of crime can help explain your charges, what your rights are, your defense possibilities, potential plea bargains, and what can happen if you are convicted.
2. Trial Prep
Your criminal defense lawyer will be able prepare you thoroughly for your defense strategy. For instance, identifying issues that may be brought in court against you, collecting evidence to help your case, and gathering witnesses when applicable are all part of your attorney’s trial prep.
3. Plea Bargains
If you are in serious trouble and are facing a potentially large sentence if found guilty, your criminal defense attorney is sure to conduct some sort of negotiations with the opposing counsel regarding a lesser sentence in exchange for a specific plea.
How to Hire the Right Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
There is a lot that goes into hiring a criminal defense attorney. And, when time is of the essence, it is better to know beforehand what you should do if you find yourself in serious legal trouble.
Step 1: Understand Which Type of Attorney You Need
The first thing you need to do is determine whether you need a state or federal defense attorney. If it is a state law that you have been charged with violating, you will need a defense lawyer experienced in state law. Some examples of state law violations include:
- Drug possession
- Traffic violations
- Family disputes
If you have been charged with breaking a federal law, you will need an attorney experienced with these types of cases:
- Violations of the United States Constitution
- Patent cases
- Copyright cases
- Bankruptcy issues
In either case, hiring the right type of attorney, with experience dealing with your particular type of case, is going to help tremendously down the line when things get tough.
Step 2: Determine a Budget
It is important to know the potential cost of hiring a defense lawyer so that should you need one in the future, you know what you can afford.
- The jurisdiction the case will be heard in
- The experience of the attorney
- The attorney’s win-loss ratio
- The seriousness and nature of the charges
- The amount of potential pretrial work required
- Whether expert witnesses will be required
The way it typically works when you hire a lawyer of any kind is that they require a retainer to start the process of representing you. This retainer usually ranges from $1,500-$10,000, depending on how much work the attorney has agreed to do before requesting more money. Most criminal cases are done on a flat fee basis, so you know what the case will cost at the outset.
Be aware that should your case go to trial, your defense lawyer is likely to ask for an additional retainer to continue representing you throughout the trial process.
Step 3: Research Criminal Attorneys
Here are some great tips for finding a Maryland criminal defense attorney to represent you:
- Professional Organizations. Many states and even some major cities have criminal defense lawyer organizations. You can often call the organization and get information about online directories, or sometimes even receive a direct referral.
- If know any close family or friends that have had recent experience with a defense attorney, ask them for a referral. Another option is to contact the public defender’s office and see if they might recommend a private criminal defense attorney to you.
- Online Directories. There is a lot of useful information available online, if you know what you are looking for. For example, try major online directories such as Lawyers.com or FindLaw.com. Just make sure you do your due diligence and research any attorney you are considering.
Step 4: Schedule a Consultation
The last step before hiring your criminal defense attorney is to meet with them to discuss your situation to see if they are a right fit for you.
Here are some of the key things to do both before and during your legal consultation:
- Check to see if the attorney you are considering offers free consultations
- Make a list of possible questions
- Have all of the facts (and police reports, if possible) about your charges before you meet
- Make sure you feel comfortable with the attorney while meeting with them
- Don’t fall for “too good to be true” promises, such as guaranteed no jail time
- Make sure you understand what exactly they will do for you if you choose to hire them
If you decide to hire a criminal defense attorney that you have consulted with, make sure you read the retainer agreement and understand it fully before officially hiring them. Understanding how you will be billed and for what is important. Also, make sure to inquire about attorney’s fees if you win your case or have the charges against you dismissed.
In the end, facing criminal charges can be a scary thing. You have to act quickly to prevent further trouble; however, there is a lot that goes into hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you. There is a lot at stake when you go before a judge or a jury of your peers. You want to make sure you have the best legal representation.
If you are looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney in Maryland, look no further than Dilip Paliath, Esq. Dedicated to representing you or your loved ones when charged with a crime, Dilip will ensure that you, your family, and your assets are fully protected. Offering free 30-minute consultations, Dilip can share his experience and knowledge with you, and guide you through the next steps in your defense. Don’t take any chances with your life, contact Dilip Paliath, Esq. today and see how he can defend you.