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What Are The Qualities Of A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer In New Jersey?

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When your freedom is at stake, you need a skilled attorney you can trust to protect your rights. A criminal conviction can affect your job, where you live, your family and your future relationships. You can’t afford to hire an attorney who doesn’t understand the gravity of your situation or how to build a strong defense.

Ultimately, a good criminal defense lawyer should be someone you trust who has experience defending against criminal charges in your district. You will need to be honest with your lawyer, even if you may have broken the law. It’s your attorney’s job to listen to your story and help you navigate the consequences based on what happened, what evidence is present and the legal ramifications. If you don’t have confidence in your legal advocate, it will be hard for them to build a strong case for you. 

5 TRAITS TO LOOK FOR

It can be difficult to narrow down the list of candidates when you search for “New Jersey criminal defense lawyer” on the internet. You can read reviews online from former clients and get an idea of their personalities by looking through a few of their websites. While every attorney is different, a few key traits to look for include:

  1. They should specialize in criminal law. A lot is at stake when you’re charged with a crime, so work with an attorney who has represented clients in your specific situation before. They’ll understand the regional and state laws, know how to build a defense and how to evaluate the evidence for validity.  
  2. They should have at least 15 years of experience practicing criminal law, although the more experience they have, the better. Laws and regulations are constantly changing, and an experienced attorney will be able to understand the nuances of the law in your jurisdiction. Lawyers with decades of experience are also likely to have defended a client in your situation before and it’s unlikely that anything you’ve done or said will surprise them. Even if you feel that you may have a difficult case, they have the experience to know how to defend you anyway.
  3. If you can, find a criminal defense attorney who was formerly a prosecutor. Prosecutors essentially represent the state in criminal cases, so attorneys who spend time as a prosecutor often become familiar with the judges in their jurisdiction. They also have the ability to view the case from the prosecutor’s standpoint, so they will have insight into any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
  4. While a strong online presence isn’t the most important quality to look for, reading online reviews can give you a sense of how they work with clients. Positive reviews indicate that an attorney has a good reputation with their current & former clients.
  5. Similarly, look for an attorney with a positive reputation in the legal community. Working well with clients is one thing, but if they have a reputation for handling cases well among other lawyers, you can feel confident about their ability to handle your legal matter. Look for an attorney who is involved in their legal community, has published articles and who has worked in their jurisdiction for a long time. They’re likely to be well-known by prosecutors and judges, which will give you presumptive validity. 

After you’ve found a few attorneys you’re interested in hiring, try to speak with them either in-person or over the phone. It’s important that you find an attorney who you makes you feel comfortable, confident and validated. Regardless of your charges, you deserve skilled representation and a fair trial, so don’t hesitate to find a legal advocate you trust to protect your freedom.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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