When you’re seeking legal representation, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you choose a criminal defense attorney who can effectively protect your rights and interests. You should feel comfortable communicating with your attorney about everything in your case.
Here are 12 important questions you should ask a potential criminal defense lawyer and why each of these questions matter in your defense:
What is your experience in handling cases like mine?
Why: This question is important because it helps you gauge each attorney’s expertise and prior experience in handling cases similar to yours. Experience in your specific type of case can be invaluable, as roadblocks and common problems with the type of criminal case you are facing are more easily overcome when your attorney has been there before and defended clients facing similar criminal charges to you.
How will you communicate with me throughout the process?
Why: Clear communication is essential. You need to know how often and in what manner the attorney will update you on your case’s progress. At Cannon & Associates, we use a dedicated client portal, which allows every client immediate access to all the records in your file. Additionally, the criminal defense attorneys and paralegals serving you are here to answer your questions and help you throughout the process.
Can you provide references from past clients?
Why: Client references can give you insights into an attorney’s track record, client satisfaction, and ability to communicate and work effectively. We are proud to have successfully represented thousands of clients facing a wide variety of criminal charges across Oklahoma. Our client testimonials speak to the experiences you can expect when working with Cannon & Associates. You should only work with an attorney who has a history of successfully serving criminal defense clients and customers are willing to be a reference.
What are your fees and payment structures?
Why: Legal costs are a crucial consideration. Understanding fees and payment arrangements helps you budget and plan for the financial aspects of your case. Here at Cannon & Associates, we offer flat fees on every criminal defense case, which gives you certainty about the costs of your defense. We enter into contracts with each client that define what you can expect from us and what is expected of you.
What are the potential outcomes for my case?
Why: Understanding the potential outcomes, including the best and worst-case scenarios, helps you manage your expectations and plan accordingly. There are many potential outcomes in each criminal case, and the possibilities differ with every type of criminal case. The punishment, consequences, and secondary effects of criminal charges are complex, but with the right criminal defense team, you can find peace through understanding. At Cannon & Associates, we’re dedicated to ensuring every client and their family understand each step of the case and what to expect at every turn. You can make informed decisions when you know exactly what the potential outcomes are in your case.
Do you have experience with local courts and prosecutors?
Why: Familiarity with the local legal landscape, including judges, prosecutors, and courtroom procedures, can be advantageous. Your criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you of the nuances or impact of working with a specific prosecutor or before a specific judge when you work with a highly experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney. Each prosecutor has his or her own hot-button issue(s), which are important to know if they are prosecuting your case. Some prosecutors care more about your obtaining employment, and some prosecutors care more about the treatment that you receive while your case is pending. Unless your Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney knows the prosecutor on your case, they may be unaware of what the most important issues are to the prosecutor on your case.
Are you available for emergencies or after-hours contact?
Why: Knowing whether the attorney is accessible during non-business hours can be essential in case urgent issues arise. Our office has a 24-hour 7-day-a-week-a-hour answering service. Your message will be received by the necessary party in our office if an emergency occurs after hours. Additionally, we have digital case files, which allow you to access discovery, pleadings, and other resources for your specific case at any time.
What are your expectations from me as a client?
Why: Understanding your responsibilities and role in the legal process ensures a smoother attorney-client relationship. Our team is dedicated to you and our Core Values, which mandate teamwork with every client. We partner with our clients to ensure they feel involved in the process and in control of their future. Through years of testing, we have found a great balance between the clients served by our team and being involved and responsible throughout the process. During the first few days of our representation, you will meet with the paralegal on your team to learn about the process of working with our office, what is expected of you, and what you can expect from your criminal defense team.
Have you handled cases with similar evidence or legal complexities?
Why: If your case involves unique challenges, such as complex evidence or legal issues, it’s crucial to ensure the OKC criminal defense attorney is equipped to handle them effectively. It is very likely that an attorney and investigator on our criminal defense team have worked on a case with the same evidence or legal issues involved in your case. We use our decades of experience representing clients in similar circumstances to every client to provide the best defense possible to every client. We balance using the experiences gained from decades of fighting for clients with new techniques and tools to build the best defense possible for your Oklahoma criminal case. This is part of why we proudly claim the title Your Fierce Advocates®.
Can you explain the potential legal strategies and options for my case?
Why: A great Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer will be able to discuss various strategies and options available to you even before they know all the evidence or facts in your case. We have found every criminal defense comes down to three options at every phase of your defense: fight your case, seek resolution of your case, or alternative options through the court. The way we go about seeking one of these three options differs with each criminal charge and at every phase of your case; however, we have found this helps clients and families understand the available options and strategies in your criminal defense.
How long do you estimate my case will take to resolve?
Why: Having a general timeline can help you plan your life and obligations around the legal proceedings. As a general rule, the more complicated your case, the longer it will take to resolve it. Often, the more time that passes between the filing of your criminal charges and the resolution of your case, the better the outcome, unless we are able to obtain a dismissal early in your case. An old saying in the criminal justice system goes, “The prosecution’s case is never better than the day the charges were filed.” This is a generalization; however, we can give you an accurate estimate on the duration of your case during a free case strategy session. Many clients want a resolution as quickly as possible in their case; therefore, our approach changes when that is an important goal for the client.
Are there any foreseeable challenges or obstacles in my criminal case that I should know about?
Why: Identifying potential challenges upfront allows you to prepare for them and work with your criminal defense attorney to address them effectively. There are common challenges that differ based on the criminal charges you are facing, i.e., drug trafficking cases have sentencing requirements that prohibit a deferred sentence, which means if your case is resolved as a trafficking offense, you are required to receive a felony conviction. Alternatively, if you are facing a DUI case, the DUI statutes require certain difficult probation conditions our Oklahoma City DUI defense attorneys fight for our clients to avoid through alternate resolution, i.e., dismissal if possible. We will advise you of the likely challenges in your case as soon as we meet to ensure you are prepared for the road ahead.
These questions cover a range of important parts of evaluating an Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your legal needs and expectations.
It is important to remember that you are the client and you have the right to ask questions. Your criminal defense attorney should be willing to answer all of your questions clearly and concisely. If you do not feel comfortable with your defense attorney’s answers or if you do not feel like you are getting the attention you deserve, you should consider hiring a different defense attorney.
As Fierce Advocates®, the team at Cannon & Associates will answer all your questions and communicate with you efficiently. We have the experience you need to help you navigate complex legal challenges and ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support; call us today at 405-883-4427 or contact us here!