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How to Choose the Right Criminal Lawyer for Your Case

The criminal lawyer you pair up with can make or break your case. Going with the first person that pops up on Google, or a lawyer you were recommended but didn’t research, puts you at risk of hiring someone who doesn’t hold the qualifications to lead you to victory. So, how should you go about choosing the right criminal lawyer for your case?

In this article, we’re going to cover all the steps you should take in order to find the right lawyer. When serious charges are on the line, it’s crucial that no stone is left unturned. So, throughout your search, don’t be afraid to ask questions or say no to those who don’t seem like a strong fit.

Find a Lawyer that Specializes in Criminal Law

Not all lawyers are the same. There are several different branches of law a lawyer can focus on, from immigration law to corporate law and everything in between. In a criminal case, you need to make sure your lawyer specializes in criminal law and has years of experience under his or her belt.

It would be wise to hire someone who has dealt with your specific type of charge in the past and found success. For example, a person facing DWI charges would likely benefit from hiring a lawyer that solely focuses on those types of cases.

Look for a Local Lawyer

As a rule of thumb, hiring a local lawyer is far more advantageous than hiring someone from a different province. During the build-up to the trial, communication is key. If you’re hours away from your lawyer, the flow of information will be much slower. Local lawyers, on the other hand, will be easier to contact and more available for face-to-face meetings.

Additionally, a local lawyer will be more familiar with how the courts in your area operate and the judges who preside over them. Having this extra bit of knowledge could give you the upper hand during the trial and lead to a favorable decision.

So, if you have a case in Toronto, don’t go looking in Calgary for legal help. Instead, hire a Toronto criminal lawyer and increase your chances of success.

Seek Referrals

Knowing where to start in your search for the right criminal lawyer can feel overwhelming. A great early step would be to get referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have been in a similar situation and used legal counsel. Ask about the lawyer they used, what they liked, and what they didn’t like about him or her. You should make sure to jot down the names of lawyers that gave someone you know a poor experience so that you can avoid them in your search.

Keep in mind that just because someone recommends a criminal lawyer doesn’t mean that it will be the right option for you. Once you’ve gathered a few referrals, do the necessary research to ensure you make the best choice.

Schedule In-Person Interviews

Once you’ve put together a list of potential lawyers, it’s time to schedule in-person interviews. In today’s world, anyone can come across as a legitimate professional with a sharp website, a few testimonials, and a couple staged photos. A face-to-face meeting will allow you to assess the lawyers and get a better understanding of how they might perform in the courtroom.

Look for Confidence and Enthusiasm

Two crucial characteristics to look out for are confidence and enthusiasm. During a trial, a criminal lawyer’s ability to control the room, sway the jury, and remain coolheaded is nearly just as important as strong evidence. Additionally, you want to go with an individual who shows genuine enthusiasm and a strong motivation to win the case. Lawyers aren’t cheap, so don’t choose one who isn’t going to give you your money’s worth.

Check Reputations and History of Success

Checking reputations and history of success is a mandatory step in finding the right lawyer. The good news is that most of the information you need can be found online after searching the name of specific lawyers. However, when you schedule an in-person meeting, ask if he or she has dealt with cases like yours in the past and what the outcomes were. Lawyers with an outstanding track record will be happy to discuss past results, while less successful lawyers may be inclined to beat around the bush.

Steer Clear of Cheap Lawyers

While you’re sifting through private lawyers, you’ll come across a wide range of rates. Although there are surely great lawyers who charge low prices, you typically get what you pay for. Criminal lawyers who charge higher fees are usually able to do so because of the resources they have and their history of success. So, although a low rate may seem attractive, ask yourself why the price isn’t higher.

On the other hand, hiring the world’s most expensive lawyer won’t guarantee a victory in court. No matter what rates someone charges, you always need to do adequate research and schedule an in-person meeting before making a decision.

Avoid Lawyers with an Unclear Payment Structure

A professional criminal lawyer will present you with a clear and organized payment structure. After your consultation, you should have a strong understanding of how much you’re going to pay, when payments are due, and all the circumstances that could affect the total price, such as behind-the-scenes work.

If a lawyer is not upfront about billing, it’s a major red flag. Unfortunately, there are some lawyers that will surprise clients with questionable fees or pad their hours in order to charge more. During your search process, you should quickly eliminate any lawyer that hesitates to provide a transparent outline of fees and billing procedures.

Final Thoughts

With so many options out there, choosing the right criminal lawyer can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. But if you follow these tips, you’ll have a much smoother process and feel more confident as you reject or accept certain individuals. So, if you’re looking for a Toronto criminal lawyer or are seeking any other information, feel free to reach out and have your questions answered.

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Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

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