Defense Law Firms

Defense Law Firms

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Defense Law Firms


A Short Guide to Defense Law Firms

What is a defense law firm?

Defense law firms specialize in the defense of private citizens with charges against them, usually in criminal cases. Some defense law firms also defend clients in civil actions, though that is usually a task taken by the legal teams of insurance companies. Few defense law firms specialize in defending companies, as those cases are usually taken by firms with an extensive relationship with the company, regardless of the “defense” position in this particular action.

When should you hire a defense law firm?

The general rule of thumb is that you should hire a defense law firm as soon as you believe that an investigation into your activities is ongoing. That may not be until an official petition or charge is filed with a court. At this point, you need as much time as is available to formulate a criminal defense with your legal team that will help you avoid a guilty verdict.

You may even need a defense law firm before charges are filed. If, for instance, police officers request to speak or interview you, you should immediately contact a defense law firm and have a lawyer attend the interview with you. Cooperate as much as possible, but take every practical precautions against incriminating yourself.

What can a defense law firm do?

There are many reasons to hire a defense law firm, but first and foremost is always the desire to defend you name in court. Here are a few ways that defense law firms are trained to help you do so:

• Defense law firms can have attorneys advise you during a police interrogation and see to it that your Fifth Amendment rights are respected.

• Defense law firms can discuss with you your defense strategy at their office, at your home, or at a prison.

• Defense law firms can represent your interests in writing via legal motions and petitions that they can then organize and file appropriately.

• Defense law firms can present your views during a courtroom trial, following the legal strategy agreed ahead of time by both the firm and yourself.

• Defense law firms can negotiate a settlement with prosecutors and judges in order to reduce an eventual sentence in exchange for an admissions of guilt in criminal matters or money in tort law.

Just as important as what defense law firms can do is what they can’t do: they cannot make any legal agreements on your behalf, especially any agreements concerning a plea-bargain or settlement. If a defense law firm accepts a plea-bargain on your behalf, it is invalid pending your approval.

How will I know which defense law firm is right for me?

There are many excellent ways to find defense law firms, from asking friends to using a legal referral service such as the one offered by your state or county bar association, or just using the Yellow Pages. The important thing is more just that you suitably research the defense law firm in question to make sure that it is capable of doing the job that you expect of it. Here are a few researching ideas:

Read online reviews: Often times, former clients of defense law firms will post reviews of their experiences with the firm online in blogs or on legal message boards. As with any review, keep in mind that your experience with the firm may differ greatly, especially if the source of the review is unfamiliar or suspicious. However, new perspectives can only make you a more informed consumer.

Look for news items: If you run the name of the defense law firm and the lawyer that you are considering dealing with through the webpage of a news site, the information you find will be invaluable. Did the defense law firm give a rousing closing argument before a come-from-behind victory in a case similar to your own? Or have they been ridiculed for their part in some legal debacle?

Investigate disciplinary records: All disciplinary action taken against lawyers are kept either with the state bar association or your state supreme court. Visit both to find a complaint database, and run the names of all the partners of defense law firm through it, as well as any lawyer that you think you’ll be working with. One record isn’t necessarily cause to give up on a particular defense law firm, but you should definitely discuss the record with the lawyer involved. Of course, disciplinary action taken against all the members of a firm is a much greater cause for concern.

How will I pay my defense law firm?

There is no question that, if you don’t have insurance, you need to hire a defense law firm to protect your interests when a civil action has been taken against you. However, since the 1960s many individuals in criminal charges haven’t sought legal help for defense law firms. That is because defense lawyers called public defenders have been appointed by the state to defend citizens in these matters for no cost at all. Public defenders are sometimes considered less able than for-pay lawyers, but you should only hire a defense law firm if you confident enough in your finances to disregard a free alternative.

If you do hire a defense law firm, realize that you will probably have to pay them at an hourly rate. Fees are never conditional on whether a non-guilty verdict is achieved, and flat fees are rare in procedures as complex as criminal or civil defense.

Auxiliary fees or “hidden fees” may also be charged by your defense law firm. Those fees could be for paying a paralegal or legal researcher, they could be for drafting specific documents for the court, or they could be for appearing during a trial. Make sure to ask about auxiliary fees before making any contracts with a defense law firm. A trustworthy defense law firm will be entirely forthcoming on all these financial issues.

 

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