Have you ever been lost in a maze? Being accused of a white collar crime can feel very much the same. Being confused and in a state of panic, are often normal reactions to the initial shock of learning you are being investigated or charged.
Even if you've never been charged with a crime before, you might guess that one of the first things you should do is find an attorney. But how do you choose one among the hundreds of lawyers that surface in a Google search? Here are some key points to keep in mind when selecting a criminal defense attorney for your fraud case:
1. Experience is key: First and foremost, the lawyer or law firm you choose should focus on white collar crimes. These offenses are extremely complex, and you need someone with many years of experience in handling these types of criminal defense cases. This is one situation where your friend's neighbor's attorney who dabbles in white collar crime won't suffice. Some criminal defense lawyers have prior experience as prosecutors. While this experience is not required, you may want to at least consult with someone who has been on both sides.
2. You need to stay informed. When faced with the reality of being charged with a crime, you may have resorted to Web searches to learn more about cases like yours. But as we all know, internet content is not always reliable, nor can it be easily condensed. These searches can help you ask questions. Make sure the attorney you choose is willing to adequately explain the possible charges against you, your legal options, and any and all implications for proceeding one way or another.
3. Know what to do. One of the most common pitfalls for criminal defendants is the tendency to "cooperate" with investigators, before having the benefit of legal advice. Most of us have a natural instinct to respond to law enforcement authorities when they ask questions. Committing an offense can also trigger a need to talk about it openly and extensively. But these authorities are gathering evidence to use against you, so how should you respond? While cooperation may ultimately be advisable or not, you would usually lose the ability to benefir from cooperation by providing it before your attorney has negotiated what you may receive in return. Investigating agents are generally not authorized to promise benefits, prosecutors have that authority. you want an attorney who will tell you what actions to take - and not to take - throughout the process.
4. You should come first. Your lawyer should be committed to reaching the best outcome for your situation and communicating that with you at every stage of the process. If you get the sense that you are not comfortable or confident in the person advising you, it may be time to look elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with talking to more than one attorney before deciding on the lawyer you hire.
5. Keep your mental health in mind. This is one of the most stressful life events imaginable. Your attorney may recommend that you seek some form of therapeutic counseling, which is a wise idea. While not always necessary, make sure feel your attorney is sensitive to your fears and concerns, rather than dismissive. Lawyers are ethically prohibited from promising guaranteed results. don't expect that and be wary if you hear such promises.