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27 Nov 23

Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New Jersey

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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 10:58 pm

Red Flags When Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New Jersey

They Promise Specific Results

Any lawyer who guarantees they can get your charges dismissed or promises you won’t serve jail time should raise some eyebrows. Each case has unique details that make definitive predictions impossible. An ethical attorney may discuss likely outcomes but will never state absolutes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

They Push You to Plead Guilty

While sometimes pleading guilty makes strategic sense, that decision should always be yours. A lawyer may advise taking a plea deal but pushing clients to admit guilt without exploring options comes across salesy. Ensure your lawyer takes time to understand your side before making recommendations.

They Don’t Ask Many Questions

An effective defense requires understanding case specifics. An attorney who doesn’t inquire about events leading up to your arrest likely hasn’t done their homework. Look for someone interested in hearing your perspective vs. talking at you. It shows they care about building a customized defense.

They Badmouth Judges and Prosecutors

Venting about opponents is unprofessional and signals potential bias. Lawyers critiquing individuals over the legal system itself can indicate personal grudges versus factual issues. It’s fair to ask how a lawyer gets along with court players but derogatory remarks are red flags.

They Have Disciplinary History

Attorney discipline records are public through the New Jersey Courts website. Multiple sanctions or serious past issues like fraud should give pause on hiring someone. Isolated minor infractions happen but patterns raise competence questions. Do background checks if possible.

Their Fees Seem Too Low

If a fee seems significantly below market rates, it may indicate inexperience or financial motives for taking on more clients than they can properly serve. Get quotes from several lawyers to compare. Exceptionally low fees mean corners likely get cut.

They Fail to Explain Court Processes

Navigating the criminal justice system is confusing with unfamiliar terminology and procedures. Lawyers who leave clients completely in the dark on what to expect either don’t understand things themselves or don’t want to take the time. Seek someone who educates you on court processes.

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They’re Difficult to Get Ahold Of

Responsiveness issues early on tend to worsen over time. If a lawyer doesn’t promptly return calls or emails pre-retention, don’t expect that to improve later. Look for those focused on communication from the start. Your access to your attorney matters.

They Ask for Retainers Upfront

Reputable criminal lawyers often charge retainers but good ones explain fee breakdowns clearly and don’t expect 100% upfront. Blindly paying money without understanding billing processes means you lose leverage. Flat fees or payment plans better protect you.

Their Office Seems Disorganized

If a law office seems chaotic with missed appointments, lost documents or frequent excuses, it likely extends to their legal work. Many lawyers juggle heavy caseloads but controlled environments reflect better preparation. See if office staff seem competent as an indicator.

Finding the best criminal defense lawyer involves asking lots of questions and trusting your gut on red flags. Rushing the vetting process risks choosing someone ill-equipped to handle your case. Take time to research options thoroughly – the stakes are high so due diligence matters. With an attentive lawyer in your corner, you can better navigate the legal system.