If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, whether it is a drug offense, an act of domestic violence, or a federal crime, do not make the mistake of trying to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. You need to hire a good criminal defense attorney who can defend you against the allegations. 

Here are a few ways to recognize if you have in fact hired a good attorney.

Professionalism and Experience

Good attorneys do not shy away from questions their clients may have as their case proceeds. They are confident in the decisions they recommend to you and are always open to discussing any concerns that arise for you. 

Be on the lookout for red flags such as:

  • Errors they make during discussions with the prosecution
  • Lack of understanding regarding the applicable laws in your case
  • Unfamiliarity with the workings of the local court system
  • Suggesting you skirt the rules
  • Being under the influence during your interactions

If they are professional and have a strong background and experience, it shows. Always trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, address it immediately so you can make a change if necessary.

Honesty & Integrity 

Do not hesitate to contact the Kentucky Bar Association if you have concerns about the criminal defense attorney you have hired. They can tell you if your attorney has been previously disciplined for violating rules of professional conduct. 

The practice of law is grounded in ethical behavior. Any question of impropriety is a cause for concern. This is especially true because an attorney’s violations in the course of handling your case could potentially have a negative effect on the outcome or force a mistrial.

Attorneys who respect their clients are honest and upfront about expectations. They reassure you that they will work hard on your case, but they do not make any promises that they can get you specific outcomes. Attorneys cannot control outcomes.

Inadequate or Ineffective Communication

You are facing a criminal charge that could potentially mean the loss of your freedom. You are scared and stressed, and have no idea what might eventually happen. This is not the kind of situation in which you should have to run around chasing down your attorney for updates or to ask questions. 

Good attorneys  make themselves available to you and welcome your communication. They do not try to avoid you or fail to return your calls and email. Ideally, they should be reaching out to you and affirmatively providing you with information on the progress of your case. 

The best attorneys communicate regularly. And when they do, they do so with compassion, patience, and an understanding that you may need simplified explanations and not a bunch of legal jargon that does not inform or reassure you.

Financial Transparency 

When you are working with an attorney, there should be no financial surprises that catch you off guard. Everything related to fee structures, court costs, and any other potential charges should be discussed ahead of time. Be sure all the details have been captured in a written agreement. 

If you are unsure of the reason for certain charges, always ask for an explanation. Do not accept vague responses if you do not understand. Because law practice is a complex field, some attorneys may take advantage of your unfamiliarity with pricing and charge excessive fees or pad hours. Do not fall into that trap. 

If you have any doubts, do some research and learn more about reasonable fees and what typical attorneys charge when defending cases similar to yours.