what questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer

If you find yourself charged with a crime, you will likely be sitting in a lawyer’s office at some point trying to determine whether he or she will be a good fit to represent you.  Being charged with a criminal offense is overwhelming, but there are certain things you should ask a prospective Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer at this early stage.  

Primarily, you want to make sure that the lawyer advises you of the possible penalties of the charges you are facing early on so you can weigh your options down the line.  As an example, Assault in the Second Degree carries a possible penalty of either 2-8 years, or 5-16 years in the Department of Corrections, depending upon how it is charged.  You should fully advise your attorney regarding any criminal history that you have, as this information is crucial to a determination of whether you are eligible to be sentenced to probation or not.  

Secondarily, it is important that your lawyer knows what your expectation is regarding an outcome of your case.  Obviously a dismissal of charges is the most desirable outcome, but oftentimes this is not a realistic expectation.  If you have a professional license, security clearance, or are not a United States Citizen however, you would want to explain this fact to your lawyer early on in the process, as many charges carry collateral consequences that will effect your livelihood beyond the sentence that you could receive for the crime.  For example, a child abuse conviction, though a misdemeanor, will result in deportation proceedings for a person residing in the United States on a Green Card. If you are a security guard or in law enforcement, certain convictions will have the impact of forever barring you from legally possessing firearms. Many crimes will result in loss of professional licensure in the event of a conviction.  If your attorney is aware of your individual concerns, he or she may be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution that will lessen the impact of any collateral consequences.

Finally, you want to be sure that your lawyer is experienced defending against the type of crime with which you are charged.  There are many different types of criminal lawyers, from DUI specialist to securities fraud attorneys. You want to make sure you hire a lawyer with the skill set and experience to help you with your specific case, as no two cases are alike.