Finding a good criminal defense attorney in Fort Collins can be stressful. A lot of thought needs to go into your choice, and you need to find a balance of experience versus affordability. Of course, you should never base your choice on cost alone. That’s a recipe for disaster in the courtroom.
To figure out if an attorney is the right choice for you, you need to ask questions. Often, the information you can find on their website isn’t enough. They’re only going to highlight their positive qualities. To make the process a little bit easier, here’s a list of questions you should be asking before you hire anyone.
What is your experience with this type of case? What percentage of your practice involves criminal defense? Do you focus on any particular area of criminal defense? Sometimes you get lucky and find a very specified attorney. However, they aren’t always a financially feasible option. When working with a general attorney, dig into their qualifications.
In addition to you, will anyone else in your office be working on my case? What is their level of experience? What percentage of the work will others be doing? Law firms often put an experienced face on the company website and marketing materials. The head attorney is immensely qualified, so people assume the whole firm is. But if they’re delegating work to their colleagues or subordinates, why are you paying for the first attorney’s experience? Make sure any other attorneys that could touch your case are also up to par.
Do you have any references? Internet reviews aren’t always enough. If they have clients that were happy with their work, you should be able to talk with them. Getting a first-person endorsement is a great way to go. Bonus points if the person had a similar case to yours.
How do you charge for your work? Can I review a copy of your fee agreement before hiring you? Of course, no amount of experience and qualifications will matter if you can’t afford the firm in the first place. Make sure your freedom won’t leave you bankrupt. That leads us to our next important topic.
Factors that may affect the cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney in Fort Collins. Lots of different issues can affect what a lawyer charges for their services. Take these all into account when you’re perusing local listings.
Complexity and Severity. Most attorneys charge more for felony cases than for misdemeanors. Felonies are often more complex and have more serious consequences. Obviously, this isn’t a factor you can control.
Experience. Less experienced attorneys tend to set lower fees. Be careful with this one. It’s tempting to go with the cheapest you can find, but an experienced attorney is a much stronger asset.
Geography. It is common to see attorney fees higher in major cities than in rural communities.
Billing Method. If an attorney charges by the hour instead of a flat fee, you might find yourself stuck with a higher bill. On the other hand, the attorney will likely spend more time on your case if they are compensated for every hour of work.
Finding the right criminal defense attorney in Fort Collins and elsewhere is all about balancing quality and price. Ask all of these questions before you sign anything, and consider every possible factor that might affect the arrangement.