Choosing a Knoxville criminal defense attorney is an extremely important step in achieving the most positive outcome available under the law for your criminal case. Below are seven tips you can use when searching for a criminal defense lawyer in Knoxville.
Searching for a Criminal Defense Attorney
- Choose an attorney with the right experience. An attorney can have years of experience in real estate law or family law but this does not matter when you are facing serious criminal charges. The stakes are high; therefore, you want a criminal defense attorney with years of experience defending individuals against criminal charges. Look for an attorney who has been practicing criminal defense for several years. You can check the attorney’s biography on the law firm’s website, question the attorney during the consultation, or check information through Super Lawyers, avvo.com or com.
- You need a negotiator and a trial attorney. The attorney you choose should be a savvy negotiator as well as a skilled, experienced trial attorney. Depending on the facts of your case, it may be in your best interest to settle with a plea bargain. If so, you want an attorney who can negotiate the best deal for your guilty plea. However, your attorney may advise you to go to trial. If so, you need a talented trial attorney who understands jurors and how to present a convincing case. Not all attorneys are good “performers” in the courtroom. If you know someone in the court system, asking that person about the attorney’s performance in court is a great way to get a true picture of the attorney’s performance.
- Hire an attorney with a sufficient staff. Preparing for trial takes more than one person. You want a Knoxville criminal defense law firm with a staff of trained legal professionals who support the attorney. Ask to meet staff members including associate attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, and investigators who will be working on your case.
- Check references. Do not just rely on the testimonials on an attorney’s website. Ask trusted friends and family for references. If you know an attorney in another area of law, ask that attorney whom he would use if he were facing a criminal charge. You can also check with the bar association and the Board of Professional Responsibility for complaints or disciplinary actions.
- Look for a local criminal defense lawyer. If possible, hire an attorney who practices before the court that will handle your case. The attorney will know what to expect from the prosecution and the judge. Practicing in the same court gives the attorney a good idea whether a prosecutor will be more likely to accept a plea deal. He will also have a good idea of the types of sentences the judge orders for similar crimes. This is a huge advantage when deciding whether you should plead guilty or go to trial.
- Choose an attorney with experience in your specific crime. Being a criminal defense lawyer with experience in this area of law is not enough. You want an attorney with experience defending clients who were charged with the same crime. For example, if you are charged with vehicular manslaughter, you do not want a criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug crimes. You want your attorney to have extensive experience developing successful defense strategies for your specific crime.
- Choose someone you can trust. Do not be afraid to “shop around” for a criminal defense attorney. You should feel comfortable with your attorney because you may be discussing very sensitive issues. “Interview” a proposed attorney and pay attention to your instincts. If something is “off,” continue looking. You want an attorney:
- You can talk openly with about your case;
- Who explains things in a way you understand;
- Shows concern for your personal well-being
- Who takes an interest in your case by showing a genuine willingness to help
- Who is willing to take the time necessary to address your concerns and answer your questions without rushing you;
- Who does not offer you “pie in the sky” promises because you need hard, straight-forward advice to make an informed decision about your options; and,
- Who seems comfortable and at ease because this is a trait jurors and prosecutors will respond to and trust.
Have You Been Arrested in Knoxville?
If you have been arrested in Knoxville or the surrounding eastern Tennessee area, contact our office immediately. Even if you are only being investigated at this time, contact our office immediately. Exercise your right to remain silent except for asking for your attorney.
Contact Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC by calling 865-292-2307 or by visiting our website. Our attorneys are here to help you defend yourself and to protect your legal rights.
Our attorneys who practice in this area:
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