Selecting the right criminal defence attorney on your side that can offer you comprehensive legal services and advice is a decision which could have dire implications on your life, depending on the situation you are in. There are many practices out there of varying quality, prices and service obligations, all of which will make a huge impact on the outcome of your case. So, to help you ensure that you are enlisting in legal assistance from the right person for the job, here are a few questions to ask your criminal defence attorney that will help you gauge their competence.
What are your areas of practice?
A law firm’s range of services is generally a good indication of how effectively they operate. They may pull expertise from a variety of legal fields, or they may specialise in criminal law. On one hand, firms that specialise are able to focus on developments in criminal law which keeps them firmly in the loop, while on the other, firms that offer a range of services are likely well established, have plenty of experience, and are well equipped to handle the particular needs of your case.
What is your experience?
While total experience isn’t necessarily a reflection of the quality of the firm or attorney’s services, it will tell you something about their track record, success rate and approach to criminal defence cases. As far as experience is concerned however, you will benefit from enlisting in the services of a defence attorney who has worked on cases that are similar to yours; while being well versed in South African criminal law.
Upfront information about fees
Attorneys generally charge by the hour or a flat fee, with criminal defence cases usually being charged for in terms of the latter. If a flat rate is charged, you should be given a breakdown of what exactly the cost covers. Your attorney should also communicate it with you if there is a likelihood of additional fees payable if the case goes to trial. You should communicate all costs and payment plans with your attorney or legal firm openly and clearly, to eliminate any unpleasant miscommunications at a later stage.
Who exactly will be handling my case?
With smaller firms, you will likely deal primarily with the attorney who is handling your case personally, however in much larger law firms this is not always the case. If you are unsure, ask who will be handling it and request to meet with them. Hiring one lawyer and being represented by another is not unheard of, and is not necessarily a bad thing, however it can sometimes be unsettling for clients when this happens, so to give yourself peace of mind, make contact with whoever will be representing you.
Contact Scheepers Pretorius Attorneys today
For more information and advice on our services relating to South African criminal law, feel free to contact a representative from Scheepers Pretorius Attorneys today, or visit our website for further details.