There are obvious signs you shouldn’t hire a criminal defense attorney like a revoked or suspended law license. However, it is harder for most people to understand when they need to switch lawyers. Yet the difference between a good attorney and a bad one may be the difference between jail, probation, and being set free. Know that your decision isn’t set in stone and you can always find someone new to represent you. Here are three signs you should switch criminal defense attorneys.
He Says He Can Win and Now Asks You to Plead Guilty
A common mistake is choosing someone who says they are a seasoned trial lawyer based on the claim they’ve won thousands of cases. The sign that you should switch an attorney is when you want to fight to defend your claim of innocence and they want you to settle for a lesser charge of guilt.
There are times when you should plead guilty and try to get the least possible punishment, but if you’re innocent or think there’s a chance you could avoid being found guilty, you need to switch to a new criminal defense attorney. Be careful, too, of attorneys who push you to plead guilty early, without even exploring all the options that could result in winning your case. Note that if the attorney guarantees they can win, they’re lying, and you shouldn’t hire them in the first place.
She Says “Call Me Anytime” but Never Answer the Phone
If an attorney says “call me anytime” but never answers the phone, you need to change attorneys. Leaving a voice mail or sending an email is not the same thing as being in touch with your attorney. Voicemails may sit unheard or emails may go to spam. An answering service is little better if your attorney takes a long time to follow-up to those messages. The only way to get timely advice from your attorney is by talking to them. That immediate advice may be what saves you from a serious mistake that hurts your case. If you’re not getting answers, start researching new defense attorneys.
They Lack the Right Expertise
You shouldn’t hire a real estate attorney for criminal defense cases. That person lacks the necessary expertise. Another factor to consider is that criminal defense is a broad category in and of itself. Hire a defense attorney who has experience defending people accused of the crime you’re charged with. Someone who routinely defends traffic tickets may not be able to properly handle white collar crimes like fraud. An attorney who is nice but refuses to explain terms or answer questions may be patronizing, or they may not be able to answer your questions. Regardless of the reason, you should still find another criminal defense attorney.
You can’t afford to rely on a bad or unqualified attorney. An attorney who treats you as just another case or can’t handle your case correctly will cost you money, and may also cost your freedom. If you see any of these red flags, switch attorneys right away.