what questions should a defense attorney ask

by Isaias Schaefer 5 min read

Some relevant questions to ask include:

  • Do you have time to represent me?
  • Are there other criminal defense attorneys in your office who will work on my case? May I meet them?
  • When I have questions, whom should I call? How do you prefer to be contacted? How quickly should I expect a reply?

10 Questions to Ask Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • How Long Have You Been Practicing Law? ...
  • How Much Experience Have You had With My Type of Criminal Charge? ...
  • How Many Jury Trials Have You Conducted? ...
  • Is the Lawyer Certified in Criminal Law by the State Bar or the Supreme Court in Your State?

Full Answer

What questions does the defense attorney ask?

Criminal Defense Strategies

  • Criminal Defense: The "Truth"
  • Denials and Admissions of Guilt
  • Creating a Criminal Defense Strategy
  • Coaching
  • The Truth Could Set You Free . . . In a shorter amount of time
  • Learn More About Legal Defenses from an Attorney

How to be a good defense attorney?

  • Maintain contact– Your client needs information and your assurances.
  • Answer and immediately issue discovery
  • Engage in aggressive motion practice, as needed – Your client needs to know she is a priority and you need the proper responses to best represent her.

More items...

What are good questions to ask an attorney?

Ask the lawyer A number of questions arise: Can you show the tenant’s demand ... Do you know the expression “no good deed goes unpunished”? Bottom line: Consultation with counsel here also is advisable. Is the tenant’s conduct a breach of the ...

What are the responsibilities of a defense attorney?

Defense Attorney Job Description. Whether dealing with criminal or civil cases, a Defense Attorney is an advocate for the accused, responsible for protecting their client's interests. When individuals or corporations are brought before a court as the defendant, they are at risk of having a judgment made against them.


What questions do lawyers ask?

What Questions do Lawyers Ask Their Clients?What is your case about? A lawyer will want to know every single detail of your case. ... What do you hope to accomplish? ... How do you want us to communicate? ... Why did you choose me? ... Are you comfortable with my rates?

What is the most important task of a defense attorney?

First and foremost, the most important job of your criminal defense attorney is to fight for you and defend you in the court of law. According to the American Bar Association, the primary responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to advocate for their clients and defend their rights.

What are three problems defense attorneys face?

The Challenges of Defense Attorney CareersNegative Public Perception. Media coverage of crimes and suspects poses challenges for defense attorneys. ... Difficult Clients. Challenging clients and their families are often more taxing than public misconceptions, though. ... Limited Time and Resources. ... Job Pressure and Stress.

What are the 4 duties of a defense counsel?

The primary duties that defense counsel owe to their clients, to the administration of justice, and as officers of the court, are to serve as their clients' counselor and advocate with courage and devotion; to ensure that constitutional and other legal rights of their clients are protected; and to render effective, ...

How can a defense attorney defend a guilty client?

A criminal lawyer can still defend the client by arguing that the evidence does not prove the elements of the offence beyond reasonable doubt. If the client gives evidence denying guilt or makes a statement claiming their innocence, the solicitor must stop acting for them.

What are the four types of evidence?

There are four types evidence by which facts can be proven or disproven at trial which include:Real evidence;Demonstrative evidence;Documentary evidence; and.Testimonial evidence.

What ethical issues do defense attorneys face?

0:464:44Ethical Issues for Defense Attorneys - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipAttorneys are supposed to avoid any conflicts of interest when defending clients. The attorney mustMoreAttorneys are supposed to avoid any conflicts of interest when defending clients. The attorney must not represent two clients who are of opposing interests for instance co-defendants. In a criminal.

What is a zealous defense?

Zealous defense, also known as zealous advocacy, is an ethical principle for practitioners of law. The essential idea is that once a client contracts the services of an attorney, the attorney must then do everything necessary to win the case, so long as it does not violate other ethical principles for the profession.

What is a disadvantage of being a defense lawyer?

Defense attorney's often get a harsh reputation due to media scrutiny: defending the accused is not always an easy job and having a client's freedom or future resting on your abilities can be quite stressful.

What is exculpatory evidence?

Evidence, such as a statement, tending to excuse, justify, or absolve the alleged fault or guilt of a defendant.

What are defence lawyers duties?

A criminal defence attorney is responsible for putting together an effective defence and developing a winning strategy for their clients. As the accused's advocate and drafter, he must prepare, file, and argue on their behalf. Negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution is part of a lawyer's job description.

What is the purpose of a defense lawyer?

Within the complex criminal justice system, a defense attorney serves as the defendant's guide, protector, and confidant. (At least that's how it's supposed to be.) Defense attorneys are usually grouped in two camps: court-appointed attorneys paid by the government and private attorneys paid by the defendant.

1. What information do you need from me?

When seeking to move forward with a criminal defense attorney, you want to know what types of information and documentation they might need from you.

2. What do you need in order to properly evaluate my case?

During any initial consultation with an attorney, it is wise to make sure they have all the information and documentation they may need to accurately assess your case. The attorney should be able to evaluate the merits of the charges brought against you by reviewing the information and/or complaint filed by the People.

3. How long will the case take?

Even though every case can vary on its slated trajectory through the California criminal court system, there is indeed a general timetable by which particular cases flow.

4. What steps can I take to secure the lowest sentencing possible?

Although this may be a tough question to answer depending on your specific circumstances, you want to get a sense of the attorney’s ability to advise on future activity and his/her level of concern about the consequences of client’s behavior.

5. How can I make sure to stay in contact with you?

Attorneys are busy by the nature of their jobs. So, it’s hard to expect an attorney to be perpetually available. However, finding yourself facing criminal charges is a daunting experience and you want an attorney who will not only zealously represent you, but who will also keep you informed on the progression of every step concerning your case.

6. How long have you practiced law?

It is important to know the professional background of the attorney you may hire. What overall experience does the attorney possess? When stepping into a courtroom, every defendant should feel that they have a knowledgeable, seasoned and aggressive attorney by their side.

7. What kind of cases have you handled before?

When looking for the right attorney to represent you in your criminal matter, you want to make sure you hire someone with the appropriate expertise relating to your particular charge.

What to expect from an experienced attorney?

An experienced attorney can properly advise you on what to expect throughout all stages of the legal process. He or she will also have the ability to anticipate the strategies or actions of the prosecution and can use that to help build you a strong defense strategy.

What is the best way to defend a client in a criminal case?

When it comes to defending a client in a criminal case, experience is key. There are numerous benefits to having an attorney who has practiced for many years and successfully represented a large number of clients. An experienced attorney can properly advise you on what to expect throughout all stages of the legal process. He or she will also have the ability to anticipate the strategies or actions of the prosecution and can use that to help build you a strong defense strategy.

Why is it important to find an attorney?

It is not only important to find an attorney who has handled a good number of cases, but one who is knowledgeable about the charges you face as well. A lawyer who has had experience handling clients facing similar charges can save you a lot of time and money and most likely find you a better outcome overall.

How to settle a case out of court?

In many ways, the best outcome you can have for your case is one that comes quickly. By negotiating to settle out of court through a plea bargain, your attorney may be able to help you avoid having to appear in court and appear before a judge and jury.

Do attorneys delegate their work to other attorneys?

Oftentimes attorneys will delegate certain tasks involved in your case to other members of the legal team. This can be of benefit to you, as a junior associate’s hourly rate may be lower, which will save you having to pay a higher rate for your attorney to do the same task.

Can an attorney control the outcome of a case?

Just as with the outcome of a case, no attorney can control every aspect of the legal process or guarantee exactly how the case will play out. However, your attorney should be able to devise a clear defensive strategy and a plan for how to proceed with your case.

Can a lawyer guarantee a specific outcome?

No lawyer should guarantee a specific result for your case and you should be wary of any attorney who makes promises about what the exact outcome will be. However, an experienced and knowledgeable attorney should be able to evaluate the preliminary information they are given about your case and make an assessment as to how it may likely play out. It is also important to find what your attorney thinks are the strengths and weaknesses of your case which will shape the defense strategy that he or she will devise.


If you have to file a criminal appeal, you already know that you need to hire a criminal appeals lawyer. But how do you find the right one? With so many lawyers making many promises to you, it’s important to know which questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer.

Questions to Ask Criminal Defense Appeal Attorney: The Financial Aspects

Many lawyers offer a free consultation, during which you will have the opportunity to present the details of your case. After speaking with you and reviewing the details, they should be able to give you an idea of how they would handle the case and their fees.

Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Appellate Lawyer: How Your Case Will Be Handled

When compiling your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer, you should be aware that the lawyer you hire won’t be the only one working on your case, and you want to know who else it might be. Will it be you or will it be turned over to a case manager, junior lawyer, or another assistant?

Questions to Ask Yourself

A criminal appeal is stressful enough by itself; you don’t need to feel insecure about the decision to hire your lawyer and wonder all along if you made a good or bad choice. Do some serious soul-searching before signing anything binding.

Hire the Best by Asking Good Criminal Defense Appeal Attorney Questions

By starting with the above questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer, you can be sure that you hire the best lawyer to handle your case.

What to say when you're going through a divorce?

I don’t need them to have tons of empathy and sympathy, but you want them to care. You want them to be passionate . As a criminal defendant , I was freaked out. I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to do. If you’re going through a divorce or a civil issue, you’re suing or being sued, it’s a very big deal.

Do civil lawyers do the same thing?

A number of civil lawyers will do absolutely the same thing. It’s nice to fix and lock the fee. It’s nice to know what it’s going to cost. The downside at times to an inclusive fee is you may not feel as if they’re doing all of the work, because they’ve already been paid.

Do you have to scratch a bankruptcy check?

If you hire bankruptcy, civil, criminal, whatever type of lawyer it may be, and they say it’s 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, you don’t need to scratch them a check at once. They haven’t done any of the work.

How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?

Experience and exposure are two important things to look for when choosing a criminal defense lawyer to handle your legal needs. The more years the attorney has practiced, the more you will expect them to be familiar with the court processes and how to manage your criminal case.

What Are Your Educational And Professional Credentials?

When hiring just about anyone for a job, you are bound to ask where they trained from and what qualifications they have in relation to the position required. The same is applicable when choosing a lawyer. Your choice of criminal defense lawyer should have graduated from a reputable institution.

Have You Handled Cases Like Mine In The Past?

No two cases are the same. However, criminal defense lawyers who have handled cases similar to yours in the past are better equipped to anticipate what is to come and set expectations accordingly. Criminal lawyers who have never dealt with a case like yours are more likely to find themselves out of their depth which can jeopardize your future.

What Is Your Success Rate?

Choosing an attorney that has been practicing for years isn’t the only criteria to watch out for; ask what the criminal defense lawyer’s success rate is. Lawyers who have a high success rate offer an implicit guarantee that they will do everything in their legal power to get you a positive outcome.

Are There Testimonials From Past Clients I Can Read?

Customer reviews have become a big part of consumer decisions. When selecting a criminal defense lawyer, you need to take a peek into the world of their past clients. Defense lawyers with bad reviews from past clients offer you a chance to move in another direction.

How Often Do You Take Cases To Trial?

The criminal justice system can be tiring. The stages involved in a criminal proceeding can become overwhelming and financially draining. In most instances, settling cases out of court is a way to cut back on the cost of the legal process while also reducing the time taken to complete the case.

Will You Be The One Working On My Case?

Some law firms offer you a chance to meet with a top attorney but may not guarantee that the top attorney will handle your case. To increase the chance of success, you want as many experienced attorneys on your case versus junior legal staff. Ask if the attorney will be handling your case specifically.

When interviewing a criminal defense attorney, is it time to select one to hire?

When you are done interviewing the criminal defense attorneys, it is time to select one to hire. Your decision is easy if one clearly met all your criteria. But if youre torn between two or more, ask for the contact information for some former clients. Call them and ask about their experiences working with their lawyer.

What documents do criminal lawyers need?

Some documents that will help the criminal law lawyers understand your situation are: Your bail papers. Any documents from the court showing your charges and next court appearance date. A copy of the police report, if possible. Any paperwork you may have received if your property was searched.

How do lawyers charge for their time?

Most lawyers charge for their time using one of two billing methods: Either with an hourly fee or a flat fee. It may be worth it to shop around, comparing hourly rates and flat fees.

What to do if you have been charged with a crime?

If youve been charged with a crime, you need the services of a lawyer. To find the right one, consider interviewing a couple of criminal defense lawyers. If you do not know which questions to ask, this article can help.

Why do lawyers use case management?

Lawyers use the term case management to describe how a case is handled behind the scenes. Its important for you to know the logistics, so that there will be no misunderstandings. Some relevant questions to ask include:

What to do if your property is searched?

Any paperwork you may have received if your property was searched. Bring these with you to your first meeting with a criminal defense lawyer. Also, compile a list of any witnesses, victims, or other defendants connected to your accused crime.

Can a criminal defense lawyer meet you personally?

Some criminal defense lawyers are so busy, they may not have time to meet you personally. They may have their staff meet with you. You shouldnt eliminate them as possible candidates just because they are unable to meet you personally. Come to the meeting prepared.

Will you personally be handling the case?

Large law firms typically have multiple attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, and others working on a single case. However, when too many people are handling the case, this can leave the defendant wondering who is actually in charge. Make sure that the attorney that you speak to will be the one handling your case and representing you in court.

How often do you make court appearances?

Feel free to ask how often a prospective attorney takes cases to court. Many criminal defense attorneys regularly settle cases through plea deals and have very little courtroom experience. You want to make sure that you have someone who can take your case all the way to court if necessary.

Do you have experience handling cases like this one?

Ask if the attorney has experience handling cases like yours. Criminal defense law is vast, and if you have a relatively complicated or unique case, you need to make sure you have an attorney who has handled a situation like yours.

How long have you been handling criminal defense law?

Feel free to ask an attorney how long they have been handling criminal defense cases. There is nothing wrong with hiring a brand new attorney, but your situation may require nuance developed over years of practicing law.

What are your legal fees?

You need to know how much your attorney is going to charge for their services. Your attorney will not begin working on your case until after they have received some type of payment and a fee arrangement has been arranged. Some attorneys work on a flat fee basis, while others work on an hourly basis.

Are there any other fees you are responsible for?

You need to ask an attorney if there are any other fees that you may be responsible for if your case goes to trial. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire experts to testify, and these experts are not cheap. Additionally, costs money to file complaints, briefs, and motions.

What will you do to help with the case?

You can ask an attorney specifically what they are going to do that you are not able to do. Please understand that it is incredibly difficult to represent yourself in a criminal case, but you need to hear from your attorney how they will proceed forward, mainly so you can understand the complexity of what is going to happen.