Considerations In Finding A Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer For A Loved One
Even if you are never arrested yourself, there may come a time that you need to retain a Florida criminal defense attorney for a loved one. Being charged with a crime is overwhelming, so your friend or family member will be understandably shaken and unsure where to turn for help. He or she will rely on you for support during this difficult time, not being in a position to do the research, interview potential candidates, attend a consultation, and – finally – hire a lawyer. One of the best things you can do to help after a loved one is arrested is to assist with the process, so here are a few factors to consider when you take on this responsibility.
Retaining a Lawyer Versus Public Defender
A defendant in a criminal case has the option to work with a public defender under Florida’s law on court-appointed counsel, but bear in mind that these lawyers handle many cases at one time. A busy lawyer may not have time to dedicate proper effort and attention to your loved one’s case, while also juggling other clients.
Hiring a private criminal defense attorney is more costly, but it is important for your loved one to retain the best, most experienced counsel possible according to budget. You want the confidence of knowing that the lawyer is dedicated to fighting for the best outcome, from the initial appearance and arraignment to pre-trial motions and the final trial.
Factors to Consider in Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
As you are helping your family member or friend with finding an attorney, you should look for certain characteristics:
- Knowledge: All practicing lawyers are required to pass the bar, but the exam covers a very broad range of legal topics. You need to feel confident that the candidate has in-depth knowledge about criminal topics and court procedural rules.
- Experience: Make sure the attorney has spent several years practicing criminal law, including in the courtroom, in plea bargaining discussions, and in pre-trial proceedings.
- Focus: The best fit for a criminal defense lawyer is one that only focuses on criminal law, or whose practice is mostly clients needing help with criminal issues.
Reasons Your Loved One Needs Your Help
Without a law degree or legal background, your friend or family member may be confused about the charges and the court proceedings. Most importantly, your loved one will not be fully aware of his or her rights. That person could be in custody, locked up away from you and others, having limited contact with the world outside.
Being imprisoned is a terrifying ordeal; adding the task of finding an attorney can create a hopeless situation. Your loved one may give up and decide on self-representation, at which point he or she faces worst-case scenarios of a long prison term, fines, extensive probation, and many other criminal sanctions.
Call an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Regardless of whether you or a loved one needs help in a criminal case, hiring a skilled, knowledgeable attorney is critical. Please contact Fort Lauderdale, FL criminal attorney Kevin J. Kulik today to set up a free, confidential consultation today.