Many times, clients seeking to choose a criminal defense attorney fail to ask questions, whether tough or routine. Questioning your potential attorney on certain tactics or strategy should not offend the attorney. Think about it, the criminal defense lawyer does not face the possible maximum sentence and fines that you face, so it's totally reasonable, if not prudent to ask questions and make sure that you are understanding exactly what will happen during the criminal process you or your family member are facing.
Here are some examples of decisions or advice that you should question and make sure you have a clear reason and explanation for the decision.
- If the potential attorney is recommending that you waive your preliminary hearing without receiving anything in return, ask why!
- If the criminal defense lawyer is pushing you to plead guilty, make sure you know all the elements of every single crime you are pleading guilty to. In addition, make sure you know the possible penalties, defenses, fines, suspensions and possible repercussions of your guilty plea.
- If your attorney is advising you to waive your absolute right to a jury trial, make sure you understand why and make sure you know the pro's and con's of jury trial versus non-jury or bench trial.
Asking questions BEFORE you decide on a criminal defense lawyer will help you fully understand your rights throughout the criminal justice process and assist you in making the best decision on how to proceed in your case.
Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker