I often receive phone calls from people AFTER their case has been resolved. They question the result or want to do something now the case is over. It is often too late. They either didn’t have an attorney or hired an attorney who didn’t have the experience to handle the matter they were charged. What is sometimes worse, the attorney talked the person into taking a plea agreement they knew they didn’t want.
When I was a younger attorney, I often sought the advice and counsel of other attorneys when I had questions. Some attorneys know when they don’t have the experience to handle a matter and refer the matter to somebody more experienced. So how do you get experience? Co-Counsel a case with an experienced attorney who handles the matters, shadow an attorney handling similar cases, attending Continuing Legal Education on the topic, meeting with experts and talking with other lawyers. There are many ways to gain experience. Oftentimes it is a matter of being in the courtroom day after day, year after year.
Does experience means more money? Sometimes it does and sometimes the wisdom gained after years of practice can give you practical advice instead of excessive spending. The price of experience is often worth it. You want an attorney willing to do what is best for the client. An attorney who can articulate the risks and rewards of a path including plea agreements and trial. It is important to have an attorney who has been successful in trial on cases similar to your and an attorney who has suffered the agony of defeat and battle wounds to learn from the experience. Nothing worse then being encouraged to take a plea on a winnable case or told to take a case to trial with little chance of success. Only experience can tell the difference.
The client has several decisions it must make on its own with the advice of counsel. Whether to have a jury trial, whether to testify, whether to waive a preliminary hearing if eligible, whether to waive speedy trial and whether to plead guilty. Those decisions are the defendant’s decisions. When making those decisions you must trust the advice you are given from your attorney.
Some attorneys focus on certain types of cases because they enjoy them, they are good at them and they are not afraid of the fight. For me, I have extensive experience in Defending DUIs and DUIDs, extra training in defending sex assault, internet luring and domestic violence cases and vast experience in working on drug cases, juvenile cases and all types of assaults, including menacing. The burglary domestic violence case with kidnapping is a favorite of mine. I enjoy street crimes. I don’t take white collar cases of corporate fraud and insider trading. I know what I am experienced at and know when to co-counsel or refer a case out of the office.
So before you decide who to represent you, seek experience. Nothing worse then making that phone call wishing you had an experienced criminal defense attorney.