Best Paterson Criminal Lawyers
Best Paterson Criminal Lawyers
Finding the right criminal defense attorney in Paterson, New Jersey can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. With so many options to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. This article will highlight some of the most experienced and reputable criminal lawyers in the Paterson area who have a proven track record of success.
Conduct Thorough Research
The first step is to do your research. Look at lawyer directories, bar associations, client reviews, and other resources to get a sense of the legal landscape in Paterson. Focus on criminal defense attorneys who specialize in the type of crime you’ve been charged with. Pay attention to their experience, track record with similar cases, overall reputation, and client testimonials.
Look For Experience and Specialization
It’s important to find a lawyer who focuses specifically on criminal defense in Paterson and has extensive experience handling cases like yours. Avoid dabblers. You want someone who lives and breathes criminal law day in and day out. They should be well-versed in the local courts and legal processes. Specialized experience counts more than a fancy law degree.
Brian Neary is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Paterson with over 25 years of experience. He’s handled thousands of criminal cases and has a proven trial record, having taken over 150 cases to verdict. Neary has experience with all types of crimes, including drug offenses, theft, juvenile crimes, domestic violence, and homicide. He’s known for his aggressive defense strategies and meticulous trial preparation.
Peter Aziz is a highly respected criminal defense lawyer in Paterson who has been practicing for 30+ years. His firm specializes in federal crimes like fraud and money laundering. Aziz has an impressive track record with white collar cases and comes highly recommended by former clients. He’s praised for his sharp legal mind, attention to detail, and tireless work ethic.
Vet Their Background and Credentials
A law degree and bar admission are just the starting point when vetting a criminal lawyer. Look for attorneys who have graduated from top law schools and hold advanced certifications in criminal law. Ask about their win/loss rate, settlement record, and experience handling your type of criminal charge. It’s perfectly reasonable to thoroughly research a lawyer’s background before entrusting them with your freedom.
Schedule Free Consultations
Many criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations. This is your chance to meet them, explain your case, and get a feel for their legal style. Pay attention to how they communicate and if they seem genuinely invested in your situation. Make sure you feel comfortable putting your trust in them. Ask plenty of questions and don’t commit until you’ve met with multiple lawyers.
Questions to Ask During a Consultation:
- How much experience do you have with my specific criminal charge?
- What will your legal strategy be for defending my case?
- What are the possible outcomes if I go to trial versus take a plea deal?
- What are your views on settling cases versus taking them to trial?
- How quickly do you return calls and emails from clients?
- What are your fees and how do you structure payment plans?
Choose Someone You Trust
At the end of the day, you want a criminal lawyer you have total confidence in and who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. This could be the difference between a dismissed case or reduced charges versus serious jail time. While credentials are important, go with your gut feeling here. The lawyer’s personality and your rapport with them matters.
Trust Your Instincts
Don’t be afraid to keep looking if a lawyer seems disinterested, overburdened, unrealistic about outcomes, or makes you feel rushed. A good attorney will listen closely, address all your concerns, and lay out your legal options in a straight-forward manner. Never settle out of desperation. Your future is on the line.
Negotiate Fees Upfront
Criminal defense lawyers have various fee structures. Some charge flat rates while others bill by the hour. Costs increase the closer you get to trial. Understand all the charges and negotiate payment plans, discounts, or case caps if possible. Get fee details in writing before hiring them.
Common Fee Structures:
- Flat rate: Some lawyers charge a fixed overall fee. This provides cost certainty but may not cover all contingencies.
- Hourly rate: You pay an agreed upon hourly rate for the lawyer’s time. Rates range from $200-$500+ per hour.
- Retainer fee: This is an upfront deposit to the lawyer from which they withdraw their hourly fees. You replenish the retainer as needed.
- Payment plans: Most lawyers allow you to pay in installments if you cannot afford the full fee upfront. Get all payment details in writing.
Check Their Disciplinary History
Before committing to a lawyer, do an online search for their name plus “disciplinary action” to uncover any reprimands or ethical violations. The NJ Bar Association makes it easy to look up a lawyer’s discipline record. One or two minor infractions over decades of practice is probably not a big deal. But serious or repeat violations are a red flag.
Finding the right criminal defense lawyer in Paterson requires research, consultations, and trusting your gut instinct. Look for attorneys who specialize in your type of criminal charge, have a proven track record, and make you feel comfortable. Vet their background, credentials, fees, and disciplinary history before hiring them. Your freedom depends on making the smartest choice.
More Tips for Hiring a Paterson Criminal Lawyer
Ask About Their Success Rate
Any experienced criminal lawyer should be able to provide statistics on their success rate defending cases similar to yours. An 80-90% acquittal rate is ideal. Anything under 50% could be cause for concern.
Beware of Bold Guarantees
Avoid lawyers who make absolutist promises like “I guarantee I can get your charges dropped”. Ethical attorneys won’t make such bold assurances without knowing all case specifics.
Meet Them In Person
It’s important to meet your lawyer face-to-face and get a read on their personality and work style before officially hiring them. If possible, visit their office to get a feel for their operations.
Confirm Who Will Actually Handle Your Case
Some law firms hand off much casework to less experienced junior associates. Make sure you know exactly who will be working on your defense team.
Ask About Their Trial History
While most cases settle out of court, you want a lawyer with extensive trial experience as back-up. Ask how many cases they’ve taken to trial over their career.
Request Regular Case Updates
Your lawyer should provide frequent case status updates without you having to ask. Make sure they have systems in place to keep clients informed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
If a lawyer’s fees are out of your budget, politely ask if they can reduce rates or offer flexible payment options. Most aim to be accommodating.
Review Their Online Presence
Google the lawyer’s name and check their website testimonials, Avvo rating, Yelp reviews, and other online profiles to get a feel for their reputation.
Trust Your Gut
You’ll likely consult with a few lawyers before deciding. Go with the one you felt most comfortable with rather than the pushiest salesman.
Ask Associates For Referrals
Friends, family members, or colleagues who’ve hired criminal lawyers can offer first-hand referrals. But still vet recommendations thoroughly yourself.
Avoid Lawyers Who Badmouth Judges
Any lawyer who disparages judges or prosecutors is unprofessional. Focus on attorneys who emphasize their own strong case preparation.
Don’t Be Fooled By Advertising
Flashy TV ads or billboards don’t necessarily signal legal skill. Do your own research to find quality criminal defense lawyers.
Seek Out Client Testimonials
The best indicator of an attorney’s ability is positive feedback from former clients. Look for this on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and the lawyer’s website.
Understand All Fee Details
Require your lawyer to explain their rates, payment schedule, and fee structure multiple times if needed until you fully grasp the financial terms.
Ask About Accessibility
You need a lawyer who’s responsive and accessible, not too overbooked. Make sure they personally handle calls and emails promptly.
Don’t Be Intimidated
This is your constitutional right to the strongest defense possible. Don’t let lawyers rush or pressure you. Interview multiple attorneys before deciding.
Trust Your Instincts
You’ll likely consult numerous lawyers before finding one you click with. When you do, you’ll feel it in your gut. Go with that natural human connection.