How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago

Most people only look for an attorney when they’ve been accused of a crime — not many people keep a criminal defense attorney on retainer just in case they find themselves in hot water. But unfortunately, that means you’re looking for an attorney during one of the most stressful times of your life. So how can you make sure you’re choosing the right one for your needs? This guide explains.

How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago

First things first: You should never pick an attorney without doing significant research. Here are a few things you should consider:

  • Experience
  • Reputation
  • Communication
  • Strategy
  • Fee structure
  • Your comfort level

Here’s a closer look at each.

Related: Can your lawyer challenge DUI evidence?

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Experience

Although there are many new attorneys who are very good at what they do, you may feel better about working with an attorney who has several years of experience. Criminal defense is a very focused area of law, so it’s in your best interest to work with a lawyer who has experience handling cases like yours. Because it takes a lot of time and research for an attorney to stay up to date on the most current criminal laws and how they affect people accused of crimes, it may not be in your best interest to work with an attorney who also handles other types of legal issues, such as divorce, immigration or estate planning. Sometimes, people feel most comfortable working with attorneys who only focus their practices on criminal law.

Related: What are the consequences of a felony conviction in Chicago?

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Reputation

You should never choose an attorney without checking their reputation first period researched their reputation within the legal community, read reviews from former clients and other attorneys, and check to see if the attorney has been disciplined by the Illinois Bar Association.

Related: Understanding Illinois DUI laws

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Communication

You want to work with an attorney who communicates in a style you’re comfortable with. Naturally, attorneys need to be good communicators, so if you find one who isn’t, they may not be the best person to represent you. The attorney you choose should be responsive to your calls and emails, and they should be able to explain the legal process in ways that you can understand. Your attorney shouldn’t hesitate to explain your options to you.

Related: What is a plea bargain in Illinois?

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Strategy

When you consult with an attorney, you should ask them what type of strategy they would employ in your case. You want a lawyer who can think on their feet and who can explain their plan for defending you — and you should Be comfortable with that plan.

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Fee Structure

You should always ask about an attorney’s fee structure before you make a hiring decision. Some criminal defense attorneys charge flat fees, while others charge an hourly rate. Make sure you understand how much you’ll have to pay and what services are included in the fees the attorney will charge you.

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney Based on Your Comfort Level

You should always trust your instincts when you meet a new attorney. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your case with them, or if you don’t feel confident in their ability to represent you effectively, find a different attorney.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.

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