When charged with a criminal offense, no matter whether it is a drunk-driving charge or something more serious, you need to focus on protecting your rights. Working on your defense without an attorney is never the most advisable thing to do. A conviction can change your life forever, regardless of whether you have actually committed the crime. If you have doubts about hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Rochester, here’s what you need to know.
Meeting an attorney
Many criminal law firms in the city offer free initial consultations, which is a great way to get some perspective on your case. Free consultations are usually for a limited time, often for 45 minutes, which allows the client and the attorney to decide if they would want to work together and what should be the next steps.
The need for a criminal lawyer
There are numerous instances when hiring an attorney is necessary for people facing criminal charges. After a misdemeanor or felony arrest, you should definitely meet a lawyer because you could be facing jail time. Even when you are unlikely to be in jail, you may have to deal with permanent consequences, and your best bet is to avoid the conviction if possible. If you have an appearance ticket, you just need to see the judge on the given date, but even in those circumstances, you need to find an attorney.
If you know that there is a criminal investigation against you, it is best to talk to a lawyer rather than trying to find details from the police. They will use anything incriminating against you, and in most cases, things go out of hand in no time. If you assume that you could be a suspect in a case in the future, talk to a lawyer anyway because they now have the time and scope to stay ahead of the investigation.
Finding the right criminal lawyer
Not all criminal lawyers are the same. You need someone who has defended clients in similar situations and wouldn’t mind taking an aggressive step when the situation demands. At times, your attorney will be blunt about the outcome, which may not be entirely positive, but you still need someone who is transparent and honest. Also, ask the lawyer about their fee. Most criminal lawyers charge a retainer fee or an hourly rate, and you should be able to afford an attorney at the end of everything.