Individuals that find themselves in need of a criminal attorney are many times unprepared to make a decision that will have such life-altering implications. This is because, for most people, involvement with the criminal justice system is the result of an isolated mistake or temporary lack of judgment and not a pattern of ongoing trouble that would grant them the experience needed to understand what goes into selecting a criminal defense attorney. 

William Hanlon, St Petersburg Criminal Attorney understands that you or those close to you facing a criminal prosecution may be in need of guidance. To that end, the St. Petersburg lawyer has prepared a list of the seven most common mistakes he has observed in individuals that were seeking legal representation for criminal offenses. 

Using A Public Defender 

If you have the financial means to do otherwise it is a good idea not to even consider the services of a court-appointed attorney. This is not due to any lack of competence or ability on the part of the many hard-working and honorable men and women that work in this capacity. But the simple truth is, that public defenders are worked much too hard and paid much too little to give the proper attention to any single case that is part of their current workload. 

Hiring Attorneys That Are Not Criminal Defense Specialists 

When searching for a criminal defense attorney to represent the interests of you or a loved one, it is important to confine this search to attorney's that practice criminal defense only. A criminal defense lawyer that also 'specializes' in other areas of the legal profession like bankruptcy laws or personal injury claims may be found to not actually be a specialist at anything. 

Trusting In Years Of Experience Claims 

Do not be swayed by any credential boosting claims of the many years of experience that are often used by attorneys and law firms. These firms are keenly aware of your search for an experienced attorney and in some cases are not above distorting the details of their actual experience. 

Basing Perceived Quality On Cost Of Services 

The price paid for representation in a criminal defense matter, whether cheap or expensive, should not be a primary determinant for choosing a lawyer. While it is important to note, a lawyer must be paid a sufficient amount to assure that proper attention can be paid to your case, the issue of cost should be one of the lesser included factors in the decision-making process. 

The Bigger Is Better Myth 

You should not place undue emphasis on the largeness of a particular law firm that you are considering. In fact, you may find that patronizing a small or medium-sized firm may provide more benefits to you or your loved one because of the individual attention that can be given. 

Failure to Comparison Shop 

Lawyers are often excellent salesmen and it is important to not simply hire the first attorney with whom you speak. Attorneys that are worth your consideration will consult with you freely and you should use this opportunity to sit down with a few of them before choosing one that you are confident can satisfactorily complete the task at hand. 

Referrals From Others 

Many well-meaning people will provide you with what they will consider a valuable tip on a lawyer that can work wonders in your situation. Do not let the stress of your current predicament cause these words to have more influence over you than they should. Tips should be examined, but a personal endorsement from an acquaintance regarding a particular attorney should not disrupt the vetting process you already have in place. 

Final Thoughts 

When in need of a criminal defense attorney it is important to understand the gravity of the decision that is to be made. Your personal freedom, as well as many future prospects for a successful future, hang in the balance and mistakes like those mentioned above should be avoided at all costs.