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Criminal law is the legal system that classifies whether an act is illegal or not. Grave crimes like felonies, which include murder, rape, and theft, are easily identified because they endanger other people’s well-being.
Misdemeanors like assault and battery are also relatively obvious. Violations, on the other hand, are slightly trickier to distinguish, such as traffic infractions and breaches of town or city ordinances. You may have unwittingly committed a crime and got yourself apprehended by the authorities.
The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution is a provision for your right to a lawyer as well as to a speedy and public trial. Whether you’re in Sioux Falls or Pierre, if you’re arrested for a crime, you should wait until you get legal counsel before talking to the police.
A Sioux Falls criminal lawyer can help you prepare the documents that you have to file. They’ll also explain exactly what you did wrong and what processes you can expect to go through.
Here are the ways to find the best criminal lawyer to help your case:
Get References from Trusted Sources
Having a lawyer is one of the essential things you should do as an adult. Some people have this misconception that hiring an attorney implies that you’re planning to commit a crime. However, seeking legal counsel is practical in all aspects of life, from changing your marital status to operating a business.
To start your search, you can ask your relatives and friends about the criminal lawyers they know who are based in Sioux Falls. This can go both ways. They can give you the contact information of legal professionals who did an exemplary job in defending their case, and they can also provide you with the names of those whom you should avoid.
Check Expertise and Experience
After you’ve collected the information of potential lawyers, you should contact them and confirm if they’re proficient with criminal law.
Law is a broad field. If you’re charged with felony or violation, you should enlist the help of someone who specializes in that area to defend you. Thinking that you can just hire any attorney for hire is like asking a dentist to check your kidney. They’re both doctors, but they are experts on very different parts of the body.
Aside from verifying their area of expertise, you must also inquire about their experience. These are a few questions you should ask them:
- What areas of criminal law do you have the most experience with?
- Have you handled similar cases before?
- How many have you won?
- What is your stance and strategies regarding plea bargains?
Evaluate Their Law Firm
Lawyers rely on a team of other legal professionals to manage the documents and other files related to your case. Attorneys are only as good as the people who support them behind the scenes. That’s why it’s better that you visit their office for your initial consultation and ask if you can speak to other people who will be working on your case.
Research and Read Reviews
It’s always wise to do your research and look into the background of potential lawyers. If you’re from Sioux Falls, search for their names in the city’s bar association as well as with the American Bar Association’s official website.
Read up on online reviews as well. Look at the experiences of other clients to evaluate the lawyer’s strengths and weaknesses. You may also stumble upon their working style as you sift through the testimonials, so assess if their methods work for you or not.
Know the Fine Line between Confidence and Arrogance
Meeting with potential lawyers in person can also give you a first-hand view of their personality. You will be disclosing sensitive information to them, so you should be comfortable with them.
While their personal preferences and ideologies don’t typically affect their skills in the courtroom, you must at least feel at ease when speaking to them. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance.
Some lawyers have mastered being congenial and can easily earn your trust. Others, though, may seem lofty, but try to give them a chance as you talk during your first meeting. Listen to your gut and go with someone whom you feel that you can trust.
Finding a criminal lawyer, whether you’re in Sioux Falls or Pierre, is crucial in defending your rights as a citizen of the United States. Gather references from people you trust, look into potential lawyers’ background and experiences, and see if you are amenable to their working style.
You also have to evaluate the people in their teams because they are also involved in working on your case. Lastly, look for someone with whom you can easily disclose sensitive information regarding your criminal offense.