Tips for Choosing a New York Criminal AttorneyRead about the prospective New York criminal attorney. If you cannot find websites, publications, and other informational sources authored by the criminal attorney—beware.
Read the criminal attorney’s writing. A website or blog is a good representation of writing ability. In cases dealing with the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) or an appeal, where the success of the entire case rests on a written motion or brief, ask the attorney for an example of a motion or brief relating to a similar matter. This will tell you whether the attorney has ever handled this type of matter and whether he is any good.
Speak with the criminal attorney. Call his office or cell phone (many active criminal attorneys spend little time inside an office). If it is difficult to get in touch with the attorney or to receive answers to phone calls or emails—beware.
A good criminal attorney will provide an initial consultation. In an initial consultation, the criminal attorney will listen to the basic facts of a person’s case and provide a general assessment of how the case might proceed. Of course, a good criminal attorney in New York will be busy with a number of other cases each day and can spend only a limited amount of time with a prospective client. Therefore, most reputable attorneys will charge a few hundred dollars for any time-consuming, detailed, or follow up consultations (which may go toward the retainer fee). A private attorney simply does not have enough time to spend on long consultations for non-paying clients. As an older attorney once told me, if a prospective client cannot pay a small part of the retainer fee, he is not serious and not worth the trouble.
Ask specific questions about the criminal attorney’s experience with your type of case.
If a criminal attorney fails to discuss legal fees in a clear and direct manner—beware. Conversely, if a New York criminal attorney only wants to discuss money and wants to know “how much you’ve got”—beware.
If a New York criminal attorney is ridiculously cheap—beware. Most class A misdemeanors and all felonies require a certain amount of time and money to defend properly. Extreme cheapness should be viewed skeptically.
If a New York criminal attorney quotes a high price, particularly in a routine criminal case, check with other attorneys to see if the price is reasonable. Just as the cheapest attorney is usually not the best, neither is the most expensive.
Unless a case involves unusual circumstances, beware of any criminal attorney who does not know New York law during the initial consultation.
Likewise, avoid any attorney who does not primarily practice New York criminal law. Yes, the attorney who helped with your taxes or your car accident may be smart and nice, but he does not deal with criminal law from dawn to dusk every day. New York has many of the best criminal attorneys—why pay a lot of money to a non-criminal attorney?
Be careful of the many criminal attorneys advertising themselves as “ex-prosecutors.” Working for the government does not give a criminal attorney any better “connections” or knowledge of the law. In fact, it means that he spent many years developing irrelevant skills. It is similar to a brain surgeon advertising that he spent a decade working as a heart specialist.
Attorney Advertising: All content sponsored by The Law Office of Adam Bevelacqua, LLC. Although informational, this website may be considered attorney advertising. Every case has unique circumstances, and a person should consult a criminal attorney before taking any legal action.