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Questions about Criminal Attorney at Law

Criminal attorneys are needed to defend people accused of a criminal offense or felony. They need to be skilled, qualified and experienced to handle such cases as it involves a good grasp of the law and an ability to handle delicate situations. Criminal proceedings usually involve jury indictment and the important job of convincing a jury is the responsibility of the criminal attorney at law. You may have questions about how your criminal attorney is handling your case, how to hire a good lawyer or may just want to know if your attorney is doing his/her job right. To help you clarify similar doubts, listed below are a few common questions answered by the Experts on criminal attorneys at law.

My criminal defense attorney is pressurizing me to follow his advice and also charging exorbitant fees. I have even filed a protection from abuse on my husband due to the influence of this attorney. What can I do?

Generally, all attorneys across the country have an obligation to charge reasonable fees for the services they render or perform and are required to work on a client’s case with diligence, enthusiasm and earnestness. However, there may be circumstances where the client and lawyer could disagree on the approach required to achieve the client’s objective. This would broadly be due to two reasons:

1. The client is unaware or ignorant of the extent of knowledge and skill required from a lawyer to achieve the desired goals within a technical and legal framework.

2. The lawyer will assume the route he/she thinks is the best but this may be very expensive for the client or adversely affect the third party involved in the case.

In such scenarios, the lawyer should consult with the client and arrive at a mutually agreeable course of action. If fundamental disagreements linger between the client and lawyer, the lawyer can withdraw from the representation or the client can file a complaint with the disciplinary board if the lawyer continues to be overbearing.

When a criminal attorney is knowingly representing a client who is not a citizen, whose responsibility is it to ensure the court proceedings are carried on properly?

A criminal attorney can represent any person— whether they are a citizen or a non-citizen. Although the area of expertise of the attorney is in criminal proceedings, if he is aware of the client’s immigrant status he should research the legal implications of this and convey the same to the client so that they are fully prepared for the consequences. This does not imply that the attorney would need to be an expert on immigration. However, he should be aware of the influence the client’s legal status may have on the possible outcomes of the case at hand. Hence, it is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure the client’s interests are not compromised due to this.

Can a criminal attorney handle a civil lawsuit derived from a criminal case?

Yes, this can be done or is allowed. But the decision to do so is up to the criminal attorney themselves. If they have the expertise and interest to take up the case and no applicable license is required (example: Patent prosecution or Admiralty law) to do so, they are free to pursue it. Similarly, if the criminal attorney is not interested or comfortable in pursuing a civil lawsuit though it has been derived from a criminal case, he/she is free to step away from the case and allow a more suitable attorney to handle the case. This is up to the attorney to decide.

I am from Washington and looking to hire a criminal attorney for a reasonable fee. Where can I find one?

Washington provides the services of lawyers through the Bar Referral Program. This program is free and the attorneys are qualified, affordable and have been selected by the bar. You may be entitled to a free or a reasonable consultation after an attorney is assigned to you based on your situation (in your case, a criminal attorney). The link to the bar referral service is as follows: http://www.wsba.org/ATJ/contact/lawref.html

If a person wishes to have a preliminary discussion with a criminal attorney, does the attorney client privilege come into force?

The client attorney privilege is in force right from this discussion onwards. Hence the attorney is obligated to honor this agreement. He cannot use or repeat any of the information shared by you as this is considered confidential. This privilege is breached only if you look like you are going to cause or engage in an action which would cause imminent harm. Example: If you state “I am going to go now and kill XYZ.”

Dealing with the legal system and its intricacies can be daunting. In most cases, the criminal attorney is the person you put your faith in to decide your fate. They are bound by the law and professional ethics. Hence it is imperative to understand their responsibilities, limitations, charges, scope of work, and so on. Consulting an Expert can not only help you gain useful insights and have a better understanding of criminal law proceedings but they can also guide you with important information on your own case.
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