When you're faced with charges, the first thing you need to do is find a good criminal lawyer. Make no mistake, they are not all created equally. If you have to accept the public defender, you better hope you have a slam dunk defense, because otherwise you stand very little chance of avoiding conviction. The same goes for hiring an attorney who is too busy to give your case the attention it deserves. The charges brought against you could carry a great deal of consequence if you are convicted. You could stand to lose money, your freedom, and your future. You need to have someone on your side who will fight.
Remember that hiring a criminal lawyer doesn't have to happen in a single day. While it is usually best to get representation as soon as possible, don't let the time factor keep you from shopping around. If you have limited freedom, you can ask your friends and family members to do the shopping for you. Meet with a few different attorneys and get a feel for how they see your case and the possibilities they leave open. When you find the one you want, you'll know it.
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Hiring a criminal lawyer can be expensive, so you need to make sure all information regarding fees are out there on the table before you sign anything. In some instances, the price you have to pay to avoid conviction may be unlimited. For most people, however, price is always going to be a factor. Have any attorney you are thinking of hiring lay out their fee schedule in very plain terms that you can understand. Ask questions until there is no chance that you are being misled, either intentionally or unintentionally.