Are you being charged or investigated for a criminal offense? You should hire a criminal defense attorney.  Here are the top five things you should look for.

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  1. Experience. Pay attention to the number of years the attorney has practiced criminal defense. It is important to ask about the attorney’s experience with similar charges as your own. Make sure to ask about their experience in the courtroom – you want someone who is prepared to try your case in front of a jury.
  2. Trust.  It is crucial that the relationship with your criminal defense attorney is rooted in trust. They will be your guide and advocate during a stressful time in your life. Trust your gut when you meet with a prospective criminal defense attorney for the first time.
  3. Locality.  An attorney that is familiar with the area will know the judges and prosecutors that will handle your case. Local attorneys are familiar with the procedure and will be prepared to handle your case in front of any judge.
  4. Referrals.  Ask members of your community. If a particular attorney name continues to come up when asking for referrals, that is a good sign.
  5. Reputation. You want a lawyer with a strong reputation. This person will work well with prosecutors. This often translates to positive outcomes in plea negotiations. Online reviews and awards from reputable sources are helpful such as Super Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and Avvo Ratings.
Minnesota State Bar Association Criminal Law Certified Specialist, Patrick Cotter
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