Having had a serious incident with the law is a situation that any citizen would wish to avoid. However, if such a case arises, it is best to be well aware of what your options are. This article aims to guide you on finding the right defense lawyer for yourself in Seattle.
1. Confirm That You Require the Services of a Defense Attorney
It is important to ascertain the nature of the criminal charges you have been convicted with, for instance, manslaughter, self-defense, first degree murder or other similar crimes. You will need a homicide defense lawyer if a killing was carried out and you need to prove that you are innocent. A defense lawyer will certainly need to be approached once it is confirmed that you need to be defended in court.
2. Conduct Preliminary Research
While word-of-mouth referrals would be handy, you should carry out research online to find out which defense lawyers have good reviews and best suit your needs. Websites such as Thumbtack allow you to select lawyers according to your zip code. Moreover, search results will yield a number of law firms and directory results to start off your process. Utilize webpages that also have a helpline for dispensing free advice. Scour the classified sections in local newspapers such as the Seattle Weekly and The News Tribuneto find out information about lawyers practicing in your area.
3. Narrow Your Search to Specialized Lawyers
Homicide is a specialty. This makes it integral that the defense lawyer of your choice should be practicing in a particular area, should have a reputation, and have been credited with designations and awards to add to his credibility.
4. Select an Attorney Based On Your Specific Need
Good defense lawyers in Seattle also have their own niches. You may require an appellate attorney instead who can represent you in specific courts, such as for an appeal in a lower court. Make the distinction and select your lawyer accordingly.
5. Affirm That the Defense Lawyer Is Skilled and Capable
Homicide can be an especially complicated case to deal with, and a skilled Seattle homicide lawyer should possess the requisite qualities. These include a good grasp of forensics, excellent defense capabilities, good negotiation and communication skills, relevant experience and a stellar trial record.
6. Conduct Background Research
Do a thorough background investigation about the defense lawyer of your choice. He should at least belong to the County and State Bar Associations, such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).
7. Determine Costs and Charges
While you may obviously want to hire the best possible defense lawyer for your case, it is important to keep in mind that the better the lawyer, the more he will charge for rendering his services. A good defense lawyer charges based on his expertise and demand in the locality. Your lawyer will bill by the hour or quote a lump-sum fee based on the services required.
8. Discuss Pre-Trial Concerns
In most cases, your defense lawyer will need to be involved in the investigation research process. Provide him with all relevant facts, figures and non-quantitative information. This is a crucial time since your lawyer may be able to get charges dropped against you on account of insufficient evidence or challenge the way the investigation was conducted. He may also negotiate bail or negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution.