What Questions Should You Ask A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Being the subject of a criminal investigation or being accused of a crime are experiences that can cause even the most level-headed person to panic. One unfortunate byproduct of this is that many people are unable to really think about what they should be looking for in a criminal defense lawyer.
After 20-plus years of serving clients in Greenville and around North Carolina, I believe there are some important questions you should ask your potential attorney. I have created a short list of these questions.
When is the last time you won a jury trial? Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in a later case, but it is good to know that your lawyer’s experience includes winning in front of a jury. Mine does. The two best words in the English language are ‘not guilty.’
When is the last time you took a case to trial, regardless of outcome? Lawyers gain credibility with judges and prosecutors by trying cases. There is no substitute. I am not saying every case should go to trial. But I am saying you should look for a lawyer who is a credible threat of taking a case to trial.
How long have you been practicing? The more experience, the better. I have been licensed to practice since 1992. I was a federal law clerk from 1992 to 1994, a state criminal prosecutor from 1994 to 1996, and have been in private practice in Greenville, handling criminal defense from 1996 to the present. I opened my solo practice in 1998. I have been board-certified as a specialist in state and federal criminal law since 1999.
What is your plan for my case? The best defense is a good offense, and your lawyer should be able to give you a clear and concise game plan. I cannot guarantee or promise a specific outcome, but I will do everything possible to give you confidence and to communicate in a way you can understand. If your lawyer cannot communicate with you, how will he or she be able to communicate with the judge and jury.
Will you return my phone calls or respond to my emails within 24 hours? One of the chief complaints about lawyers is failing to return phone calls. Unless I am in trial, I have a policy of responding to all calls and emails within 24 hours (one business day). You should hear from me or from someone on my staff whom I have asked to call you with specific information. Your email will come directly to my desk if you send it here.
What is the legal fee? As I once heard a wise old judge say, “the bitterness of poor quality
remains long after the sweetness of cheap price is gone.” I will charge you a fee low enough to
be reasonable but high enough to give me the time I need to spend on your case. I will work
with you on a payment plan when possible, but you need to look at the legal fee as an investment in your future. If we resolve your case favorably, it could easily pay dividends in the form of higher earnings down the road that will more than earn back the money you spent on the fee.
Get Legal Help Today
If you are under investigation or have been charged with a state or federal offense in North Carolina, call the Law Offices of Keith A. Williams, P.A., today. You can reach my Greenville office at 252-565-4661 or via email.