Access to Justice

Finding the Right Criminal Defence Lawyer

Written on behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP
Lawyer Tiles representing Hiring a Lawyer

The criminal justice system can be a cumbersome and complicated process to navigate. It is therefore critical to hire legal representation as soon as possible when you are facing criminal charges. However, finding the right criminal lawyer to help you can be a daunting process.

It is important that your lawyer has all the skills, knowledge and understanding of the criminal court system to ensure you get comprehensive guidance and reliable representation.

You will need to do some homework before making a decision on which criminal defence lawyer to hire. In an effort to make the process of hiring a lawyer easier, Affleck & Barrison LLP would like to provide you with the following tips for selecting a criminal defence lawyer.

LOOK FOR A LAW FIRM FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON CRIMINAL LAW

When your future, reputation and freedom are at stake, you want a lawyer who is primarily focused on the practice of criminal law.   With many years of practicing in the criminal courts on a daily basis, a lawyer focused on criminal law will have the experience to help you when you need it most. Also, having handled dozens if not hundreds of criminal cases similar to yours, an experienced criminal lawyer will know the approach to take with your particular case.

The lawyers at the law office of Affleck & Barrison LLP, founded in 1992, have a practice focused on the area of criminal defence and have been representing clients in Durham Region and the Central East Region of Ontario.

LOOK FOR A LAW FIRM WITH EXPERIENCE IN THE LOCAL COURTS

When hiring a criminal defence law firm, look for a firm with experience. Not only should the firm have the required experience practicing criminal defence law, it should also be experienced in practicing law in the court where your case is pending.

In Ontario, each court has unique procedures and staff. It is important that your lawyer is familiar with the local court and court procedures, as well as the judges and Crown prosecutors.

LOOK FOR A LAW FIRM WITH A SOLID REPUTATION AND NOTABLE CREDENTIALS

It is recommended that you hire a lawyer with a solid reputation based upon advice from former clients, other lawyers and judges as well. It is recommended that you ask for referrals from past clients in order to learn more about the particular lawyer and his/her reputation in the community.

In the process of researching a prospective criminal lawyer, it is important to learn about the lawyer’s experience, awards, certification, results and other credentials. Consider the following when choosing a lawyer:

  • whether the lawyer has additional post-secondary education beyond their undergraduate degree;
  • whether the lawyer has been reported in the news for a noteworthy success in a case;
  • whether the lawyer has been referred to as an “expert” and asked to comment upon matters in the media; and
  • whether the lawyer has won any notable awards by respected lawyer societies or organizations.

 MEET WITH YOUR PROSPECTIVE LAWYER & TRUST YOUR GUT

It is recommended that you have an initial meeting with your lawyer as most individuals are very good judge’s of character. An initial meeting will allow for you to judge the lawyer’s honesty, sincerity and capability. During this initial meeting, you can decide whether or not to hire the lawyer. Remember that you are the one doing the hiring so there is no reason to feel nervous or intimidated during your initial meeting. You must trust your gut and be satisfied and comfortable with your legal representative. You must look for a lawyer that can act as your advisor and explain your options, but allow you to choose how to proceed.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS DURING YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION

It is important to have a few questions ready to ask during your initial consultation with a criminal defence lawyer in order to be sure that he/she is the right lawyer for your case.

Here are a few questions to consider asking during your initial consultation:

  • Have you handled cases similar to mine?
  • What is your success rate?
  • Do you have experience working in the local court where my trial will be held?
  • What possible defences are available to help my situation?
  • What is your policy on making yourself available to answer my questions throughout the criminal process?
  • Do you believe you can win my case?
  • How long do you anticipate it will be before my matter is resolved?
  • What is the best and worst case scenario of my criminal charges?

At Affleck & Barrison LLP, we endeavour to provide our clients with exceptional legal services and offer a free initial consultation. We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding hiring a criminal defence lawyer. Our skilled team has extensive experience defending a wide range of criminal charges. Please contact our office online or at 905-404-1947 to schedule a free consultation. We have a 24-hour phone service for your convenience. Our experienced lawyers are available to handle your defence with diligence and expertise.