When you’re facing a criminal charge, you certainly have the right to a competent and independent legal counsel to fight for you and your freedom. Since the criminal justice system can be confusing and complicated, you need the assistance of an attorney to beat the charges and get you out of legal trouble.
However, hiring a criminal defense lawyer is never an easy feat. With plenty of options to choose from, you can’t say who among them have it takes to keep you from a possible conviction. Besides, not all of them will take your case seriously and put your interests first over them. Due to these circumstances, it’s important that you know how to distinguish the good criminal defense attorneys from the bad ones.
To help you out, below are four tell-tale signs you hired a bad criminal defense attorney for your situation:
1. Incompetent And Unprofessional
Most criminal defense attorneys have the confidence and professionalism you need to win your case. Since their actions may have a significant impact on your criminal case, they should conduct themselves in a competent and professional manner. However, when they begin to show some not-so-good behaviors, then it’s time to run away and look for someone else more deserving.
Typically, incompetent and unprofessional behaviors can include:
- Lack of valuable experience in handling cases similar to yours;
- Lack of interest in helping you navigate your case;
- Making important decisions about your criminal case without consulting you first;
- Failure to file the necessary paperwork, missing deadlines, or filing the wrong paperwork;
- Always running late during meetings;
- Proceeding to handle your case despite knowing there’s a conflict of interest;
- Not compassionate or empathetic to your needs;
- Being unable to observe courtesy and respect to their clients, colleagues, and other professionals.
2. Poor Communication
Poor communication can be a tell-tale sign that you chose a bad criminal defense attorney. This means if the legal professional takes a longer time to respond to your text messages, calls, or emails, it can be an indication that they don’t take your case seriously and don’t consider it a priority. Remember, a good criminal defense attorney who agrees to handle your case should always have your back. This can be simply shown by being available at any time of the day.
Moreover, communicating with an attorney isn’t just about connecting with the clients. It’s also about communicating with the opposing counsels, judges, and juries. Thus, if the legal professional has a hard time explaining your case to you, it can also be a sign that you hired a bad criminal defense attorney for your situation. When this happens, it’ll make sense to reconsider your choice. Doing so ensures you’re well represented in your criminal case.
3. Making Big Guarantees Or Promises
Another sign that you picked a bad criminal defense attorney is that they always make big promises about the outcome of your case. While you want your legal counsel to give you a favorable outcome, they shouldn’t promise one if they know they can’t do it.
Generally, a good attorney understands the fact that there are things they can’t control about your case, and what’s expected from them is to do their best to protect your rights and interests as an accused. Also, legal professionals who tend to make promises constantly may be simply lying about what they can do to help you with your criminal case.
So, to avoid working with a bad lawyer, watch out for this sign and don’t hesitate to walk away if you notice one in your list of potential counsels.
4. Not Being Honest And Upfront About Billing
Just like other professions, attorneys also need to make money by billing their clients with the services they’ve rendered. While most clients are aware that hiring a legal professional can be expensive, they don’t really have a clear idea of the amount they’re paying to them. This can be one reason why many lawyers resort to unclear billing practices to take advantage of their clients’ money.
However, there’s no good excuse for attorneys who are doing it. So, if you come across someone who’s not being honest and upfront about their billing, don’t hesitate to leave and consider a professional who informs you upfront about the fees you need to pay and discuss any additional charges along the way.
Typically, some common examples of unclear billing practices observed by a bad criminal defense attorney can include adding surcharges to legal expenses, padding their time, and other billing tactics that make it unclear about the fees you’re paying.
Indeed, being charged with any of the criminal charges can be life-changing. This makes hiring a good criminal defense attorney one of the essential decisions you need to make in life. Fortunately, by keeping these tell-tale signs in mind, you’ll know which one is the right person to handle your case and advocate for your rights from beginning to end.