It goes without saying that you need to hire your own criminal defense attorney for your Wisconsin court case. You must make your decision quickly because your legal rights depend on you getting the necessary legal help. The question then becomes which attorney you should hire. You are faced with many choices, as there may be a large number of criminal defense attorneys in your area. The attorney you select must be the right attorney for you, and you must make the selection under pressure. Here are some things that you should consider when choosing a Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer.
Get Referrals from People Who You Trust
You can certainly go online and read reviews from actual clients who can tell you about their experience with an attorney. If you do, try to read reviews on Google because they will contain the most accurate information.
You can also ask friends and family for referrals to an attorney that they know. Your friends and family will give you an unvarnished account of what they think of an attorney. They would certainly only refer an attorney who they believed helped them and provided excellent representation. You can get an honest account from someone whose only interest is helping you.
Pick Someone with the Right Type of Experience
You do not want an attorney who may be in over their head in your case. Your attorney should have experience dealing with the type of charges that you are facing. For example, you would not want an attorney who handles many OWI cases when you are facing a murder charge. Similarly, you would certainly not want an attorney who is experienced with civil trials but does not have a background in criminal law. Ask the attorney about the kinds of cases that they have handled and the results that they have obtained.
Similarly, you want an attorney who knows their way around a courtroom. While most criminal cases will reach a plea agreement at some point before a trial, you need to have the option of going to court to fight the charges against you if the prosecutor lacks the evidence to convict you. A criminal attorney must have trial experience to provide you with the most effective legal representation.
The Right Type of Experience Also Means Being Local
Wisconsin has 72 counties, and each one has its own courts and judges. An attorney should have experience in the particular circuit where your case is located. This way, they may be familiar with the prosecutors and the particular judge assigned to the case.
Experience also means that your attorney has built their own reputation and credibility. The prosecutor should know who your attorney is because it gives you some extra cache if there are plea bargain negotiations. Similarly, a judge may be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt when your attorney is making an argument if they are familiar with your lawyer.
Different judges have varying personalities and preferences. Ideally, your attorney should already have experience with cases in front of the judge handling your case. In addition, local experience may also provide an advantage if your case proceeds to the point where there is jury selection. Your attorney would be able to ask the right questions to get a sense of whether a potential juror can be fully objective.
Pay Attention to the Rapport Between You and the Attorney
You are putting your future in your attorney’s hands when you hire them for a criminal defense case. They will be communicating with you throughout your case and giving you legal advice about what decisions you should make. You should be able to understand what your attorney is telling you and be able to relate to them in conversation.
It is essential that you are able to work with your attorney throughout your case. How they communicate with you can go a long way toward determining whether your relationship is a successful one. Even though you have been charged with a crime, your attorney still needs to treat you with respect and understanding. You should pay close attention to how your attorney speaks to you.
Scrutinize the Attorney’s Professionalism
Your attorney needs to be professional at all times when dealing with you. This extends to both their responsiveness to you and how they present themselves. During your case, your attorney will be your voice and your representative. They will deal with the prosecutor on your behalf, and they may even speak to the media. Most critically, your lawyer will be your representative to the court. Judges demand professionalism from lawyers, and a lack of professionalism will reflect poorly on you and could affect the outcome of your case.
Your attorney’s level of professionalism will be scrutinized by the prosecutor, who is trying to gauge what type of adversary they would make in court. If your attorney presents themselves well, it could bear on the credibility of your defense.
Listen to Your Gut
Your instincts may be telling you whether you can trust an attorney to properly and competently handle your criminal case. There may be something telling you that you are speaking with the right person on whom you can rely. Similarly, your gut instinct could be telling you that you need to look elsewhere to find the right attorney for you.
While you should not go solely with your gut, you should consider it along with the other factors that are mentioned above. You know yourself, and your intuition can go a long way.
Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
While finding an attorney should not be a check-the-box exercise, the attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff meet the above criteria. We are highly recommended because we have experience providing excellent client service and delivering results for clients in the Appleton and surrounding areas. You can contact us today online or call us today at (920) 450-9800 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.