Many criminal defendants who have been charged with a serious crime for the first time may not have a clue on where to find the appropriate criminal lawyer for them. If they are low income or indigent, they may have to settle for a court-appointed attorney if they qualify. Some jurisdictions, however, do not provide court-appointed attorneys for misdemeanor cases, though you may get a referral to someone who will represent you at a reduced fee.
For white collar defendants involved in financial crimes, their own firms or companies will have in-house counsel or a private firm that normally handles its other noncriminal matters who can refer you to established white collar defense firms. If you have a DUI, there are firms that practice exclusively in this area.
Regarding referrals from friends or relatives, these are fine so far as they have first-hand experience with these attorneys. Otherwise, your county bar association is an excellent resource.
An overlooked resources for finding an excellent criminal attorney is finding a manual used by criminal lawyers for reference or tips. These are written by attorneys with intimate knowledge of their craft honed from years of experience and trial work and are well-regarded in the criminal law community. If these attorneys are not in your area or are not available to you, they may have satellite offices in your town or nearest city or their offices can refer you to a local attorney with whom they either have a relationship or are confident has the abilities you require.
Professional associations such as your state’s criminal defense lawyers association will have a list of reputable attorneys and their credentials for you to consider. There is a national association as well for you to contact and ask for a recommendation or list of nationally prominent or local criminal attorneys who have the skills and experience for your type of case.
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