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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What To Look For In A Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Here is some helpful advice to what for look for when you are seeking a criminal defense lawyer. Read on to learn more.

The Difference Between Civil And Criminal Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys usually work in small partnerships or may be solo practitioners covering a set geographical region. Conversely, those attorneys who handle civil matters tend to be part of larger law firms – often with multiple branches in varying locations.

It is important to understand they different kinds of work they do:

  • A civil attorney usually represents organizations and businesses who trade nationwide or internationally. On the other hand, criminal defense lawyers represent individual people whose problem usually have a local geographical base.
  • Civil lawyers are often at the beckon call of large organizations as they have an ongoing and regular need for legal advice to operate their businesses. Comparably, those who are accused of a crime normally only require legal counsel that is sporadic or non-frequent.

It is common to find a private defense attorney possessing many years, (sometimes even decades) of career experience in governmental fields before commencing their private practice career. Their experience often includes being a prosecutor (in a role such as city or district attorney) or that of a public defender, appointed by the courts for those who cannot afford legal representation.

It Helps To Make A Local Choice

When your case as a defendant is pending in the local courthouse, it can really help to have an attorney on you side who has a working knowledge and in-depth experience of working in that courthouse as procedures can be different in different courthouses. It may be the case the District Attorney in one location has a policy of no-plea-bargaining in certain circumstances, but a District Attorney is a neighboring jurisdiction has no such policy in place. It is also likely if your attorney is local, they may also have knowledge of how prosecuting attorneys work as well as relationships with local law enforcement and how they usually deal with juries in cases that go to trial. You can see from this it is paramount defendants choose an attorney who has experience in dealing with the workings of the local judicial system.

Asking The Attorney About Their Experience

Criminal law is extraordinarily complex so you should definitely ask an attorney before retaining them what kind of experience they have dealing with your kind of case. The attorney should be able to give you concise answers to your questions. For example, if a person has been charged with a DUI, here are some questions the person should ask of their prospective attorney:

  • What is your experience of dealing with clients who have been charged with a DUI?
  • How much of your practices business involves the representation of those facing DUI charges?
  • Do you have any certification as a specialist in DUI cases? (Some, but not all, states allow a certification)
  • As a percentage how often do people from your practice appear in the court where my case is going to be handled?

Clearly, a defendant should not be put in a position where they have to compromise obtaining the services of a competent attorney in return for one with local experience.

The Confidence Factor

The defendant must have every confidence in their lawyer as it is the lawyer who speaks on their behalf. The best experiences are where both take part in the decisions that need to be made and the lawyer sees them as individual partners as opposed to just another load of paperwork in a file. With that in mind, ask yourself the following when considering retaining a lawyer:

  • Is the attorney someone I feel at ease approaching, can speak with openly and feel comfortable working with?
  • Does the attorney explain issues to me in a manner I can comprehend?
  • Does the attorney express personal concern as well as a genuine desire to address my situation in a manner which is helpful?
  • Does the lawyer consider my personal circumstances as opposed to just the charges I am facing?
  • Does the attorney strike me as credible an can build trust with the judges, the prosecution as well as members of a jury?

Source: Bergman, Paul, and Ucla. “What to Look for in a Private Criminal Defense Attorney.” Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 9 May 2013, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-look-a-private-defense-attorney.html.

 

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Possession Of A Controlled Substance

Possession Of A Controlled Substance

When the federal government decides to apply regulations to particular drugs and associated materials they are known under the term “controlled substance.” Some of these substances are perfectly legal to have in your possession if certain criteria are met – for example if they are for medicinal or scientific purposes. It becomes illegal when there is no applicable legal justification, or its use can not be legitimized.

Defining Controlled Substances

The federal government has divided drugs into what it refers to as “schedules” There are five of them – from the most harmful and lethal drugs in Schedule I to the least harmful in Schedule V in that is known as the Controlled Substances Act. The majority of states have chosen to follow this scheme. See: 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 and following for further details.

Defining Illegal Possession Of A Controlled Substance

When an individual has possession of controlled substance or a drug without the authorization or justifiably legal reason for doing so they can be said to be in illegal possession of a substance that is controlled. Frequently this often applies to people who are found to be in possession of drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, or other various narcotics. For someone to be convicted of this, the prosecutor has to prove the defendant knowingly had possession of the controlled substance.

The Knowing Difference

A person must intentionally or knowingly retain control or possession of a drug for the possessing of a controlled substance to be considered a crime. It may be on their body, in a pocket or they may have control as to the whereabouts of the drug, for example, in a bag, a hiding place or one of the compartments of a car. The defendant may face a conviction for possession when the prosecutor establishes proof the defendant had at least some control over the drug. Just because two people who live together in the same residence, does not equal both as being in possession – the person responsible for control has to be established if the other person did not have control over the drug or substance.

Distribution and Sales

It is possible a person who is facing possession charges may also face up with and a charge of “intent to distribute.” This is far more serious situation. The charge is usually based on the quantity of drugs that have been discovered – usually when it exceeds what may be considered reasonable for personal use. Other evidence may be obtained as well to back up this accusation such as materials used for packaging, lists of clients and a large amount of cash.

Drugs And Vehicles

Many cases of possession come from police pulling over people for traffic stops. It is not uncommon for police to suspect and indeed, locate drugs in a car and the driver is then facing a charge of possession. This is especially the case when the driver or passengers are discovered to have drugs on their person. However, the emphasis is on the prosecutor to establish the driver and/or passengers had knowledge of the drugs in the vehicle. It is also frequently the case more than one individual had possession of the drugs and/or controlled substances.

Penalties

The penalties for possession of drugs and/or controlled substances can vary enormously from state to state or if the charges are federal charges or not. Many factors go into consideration but let’s look in general terms at some of the possible consequences:

  • Fines are very often levied with drug or controlled substance convictions and can vary from less than $100 to more than $100,000 depending on the severity of the situation.
  • Time in jail and prison sentences may also result following a conviction. Again, this can range from just a few days to sentences of greater than ten years.
  • Probational sentences are often consequences in accompaniment to the above and may include rehabilitation treatment as a condition. More than likely the convicted individual will have regular meetings with a probation officer and will have to agree to certain codes and conducts of behavior. It is within the power of a court to revoke an order of probation should the convicted person not meet the terms of their probationary agreement. In such cases, the convicted individual us usually returned to jail or prison for the outstanding duration of their sentence.
  • Diversion programs share some commonality with probation programs but are utilized normally for those who are offenders for the first time. In these programs, the prosecutor permits the offender to take part in a program of behavior modification as well as counseling, often over an extended period of time. Once this has been successfully completed, the prosecutor will consent to drop the charges. Should the offending not complete the terms of the diversion agreement, the prosecutor will then pursue the case against the offender.
  • A drug offender in many states may be offered the opportunity to partake in a rehabilitation course or a program of drug treatment as opposed to a custodial sentence. This may also be a condition when the person is on probation.

Speak With An Attorney

When you face a possession charge of a drug or controlled substance, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be of great benefit. They can examine your situation, ensure the proper protocols and procedures were followed by police and can advise you on how best to exercise your rights as well as explaining the possible outcomes of your charges. It many have a great impact on your life and impact your ability to obtain a job, housing or licensing required for your profession.

Source: Theoharis, Mark. “Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession Laws.” Www.criminaldefenselawyer.com, Nolo, 28 Jan. 2020, www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Possession-Controlled-Substance.htm.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Much Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

Criminal Lawyer Cost

The average cost of a criminal defense lawyer is $8,000 with average prices ranging from $1,000 – $15,000 in the US for 2020 according to LegalMatch [1]. *Disclaimer – This is not an actual quote. If you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer contact Canterbury Law Group to start your initial consultation.

In criminal prosecution actions, the Constitution guarantees you a right to counsel. If you are unable to afford the services of a private attorney, the court will appoint an attorney on your behalf. Based on your assets and income, the court may decide you can afford an attorney, in that situation you can either represent yourself or hire a private attorney.

What Factors Cause Criminal Defense Costs to Vary?

There are many factors to consider when assessing the overall costs of a criminal case:

Investigators and Expert Witnesses – Very often criminal cases have multiple and complex issues that require expert witnesses and/or investigators. To demonstrate, a defense attorney may hire the services of someone who specializes in chemical testing to explain the results of a Blood Alcohol Content analysis in a DUI trial. Or the services of a psychologist may be required if the defendant is wishing to raise a defense of legal insanity. Expert witnesses and investigators require an average retainer fee of $2,500 and they may charge in excess of $300 per hour.

Attorney’s Fees – Attorney’s fees vary depending on several different factors. Here are some of the more important factors that will have an impact on the rate attorney’s charge:

  • Whether the case goes to trial.
  • Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or by the hour.
  • The skill of the attorney.
  • The number of years the attorney has practiced criminal defense.
  • The seriousness of the charged offense.
  • The complexity of the legal issues in the case.
  • The number of years the lawyer has appeared in criminal court in that particular jurisdiction.

How Much Will It Cost if the Lawyer Charges a Flat Fee?

If you face a misdemeanor charge and the lawyer charges a flat fee, expect to pay somewhere between $1,500-$3,500. If going to trial is a possibility, you can expect the fee to be between $3,000-$5,000. When the severity of the charge rises to a felony and when the lawyer thinks that he may be able to obtain a settlement that is favorable, the flat fee may range from $3,000-$6,000. But if it seems inevitable there will be a felony trial, flat fee costs ranging from $10,000-$20,000 are not uncommon. When you are facing serious charges where life in prison is a possibility, such as murder, for a lawyer working on a flat fee you can expect to pay upwards of $40,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney Fees Per Hour

Criminal Defense Attorney Fees Per Hour

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour to hire a criminal defense lawyer according to CostHelper. For example, Thumbtack says, “if an attorney has a $200 hourly fee, he or she may require a 10-hour retainer fee of $2,000

Some attorneys and those who are already well known in their practice area will often charge by the hour to their clients  as opposed to using a flat rate fee. Additionally, if an appropriate flat fee cannot be determined because or the complexity of a case, the attorney may decide to charge an hourly rate instead. The relative ability of the lawyer will cause the hourly rates they charge to greatly differ. For a highly experienced criminal defense lawyers time you can expect to pay $250-$750 per hour. It is worth noting that it is not uncommon for legal bills to quickly mount up into the $10,000-$15,000 range per month when an hourly fee structure is being utilized.

Attorneys.com says “Criminal lawyers who charge by the hour may break up the hour into 15-minute or 6-minute incrementsThe lawyer who charges $200 an hour in 15-minute increments would charge you $50 for that time, while a lawyer who charges the same but in 6-minute increments would only charge you $20.”

In addition, the payment of an up front retainer may be required by a lawyer who is charging you by the hour. This retainer will cover an agreed amount of the lawyer’s initial time. Once the retainer is exhausted, the client will be expected to replenish with new funds.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Lawyer Cost for a Felony

A lawyer costs about $2,000 to $3,000 for a misdemeanor. According to Nolo, “a defendant charged with a misdemeanor that goes to trial should not be surprised by a legal fee in the neighborhood of $2,000–$3,000; an attorney may want an advance of around $2,500, and $1,000 per day of trial in a felony case.”

A lawyer can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 for a felony. TheLawMan says, “most will agree that the cost for a first-degree felony is at least $10,000, often more. For the most experienced lawyers, you should expect to pay between $35,000 and $100,000 or even more.”

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Drug Possession?

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Drug Possession?

If you are charged with misdemeanor drug possession you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. If you are charged with felony drug possession you can expect to pay a retainer of $2,500 and pay a cost of $1,000 per day of trial according to WeSource.

According to CostHelper, You can expect to pay about $3500 for a misdemeanor drug possession charge. You can expect to pay about $10,000 for a felony drug possession charge. You can expect to pay about $25,000 for a serious felony drug possession charge.

Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me?

It is vitally important to consult an experienced attorney before you respond to any criminal prosecution in writing or by direct contact with the prosecutor, even if think you have committed a particular crime and want to enter a guilty plea. At the very least, a skilled attorney can make sure the charges you face are appropriate for the facts of the case and they are capable of advocating on your behalf so you have the best chance of obtaining the lowest penalty possible. For example, say an individual is caught leaving a jewelry store with a necklace worth $100. The shop owner who is angry over the incident tells law enforcement the value of the necklace is $1,000. The difference in values means a charge of petty theft (misdemeanor) would become grand theft (felony). Even the most experienced criminal lawyers agree they would not want to defend themselves if charged so it is well worth speaking to a criminal defense lawyer even though you have the right to proceed alone in your own defense.

Is One Fee Structure Better than Another?

Obviously, the best billing structure is the one that works most effectively for the situation the client faces. Criminal defense lawyers certainly understand how stressful these events are and they try to make the financial aspects of your case as pain free as they can. Regardless, it is always best to know what it is you are paying for.

Learning how billing works is an ideal first step to initiating a discussion with your lawyer regarding their billing structure. Never feel afraid to ask why they are charging the way they do and how they are utilizing their time and planning to ensure your freedom. When you need protection from criminal prosecution you can look and contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer today.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique legal needs.

Sources

Kirby, John. “How Much Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?” Attempted Murder Lawyers | LegalMatch Law Library, 20 Feb. 2018, www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/how-much-will-a-criminal-defense-lawyer-cost.html.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Types Of Criminal Lawyers

Types Of Criminal Lawyers

Criminal lawyers as you can ascertain from their title specialize in criminal law. Following a charge of a crime remember you are not guilty until it has been proven. Criminal lawyers will review your situation and work alongside you to get all of the pertinent information and then work with other legal professionals to obtain the most expeditious solution possible. Read on to learn more.

Driving Under The Influence

A DUI can lead to the loss of drivers’ privileges, large fines and even prison time. A lawyer will attempt to obtain the most favorable results possible by the means of an agreement that will benefit you down the road. They will assemble evidence assisting them and you to make the best determination regarding your appeal.

Domestic Violence

In cases of domestic violence, it is wisest to have a lawyer who can assist in getting the best possible terms and results for your situation. They can work with the evidence that is available as well as presenting any related documentation and attend any conferences prior to the trial on your behalf. Ideally, you want to avoid going to trial as it will be very expensive and time consuming. If a solution can be worked out in advance, it will enable you to progress with your life.

Theft

When you are accused of theft your defense lawyer will read the police report and additional documentation as well as evidence that supports your case. They may review video footage if it is available. If you are guilty, they will advise you of the best possible outcomes. If this is your first ever charge, community service may be an option as opposed to incarceration.

Criminal lawyers will go to expert witnesses and will make sure they can present the case in the best possible light to the court, on your behalf, as well as writing compelling arguments, appealing to the jury and helping you obtain the best final result for your case.

Let’s look at different kinds of criminal lawyers.

Panel Lawyers

Governments have committees made up from private defense attorneys. Usually used as a compliment to a public defender, hey are paid hourly for their time and services.

District Lawyers

The Government hires a local prosecutor who carries out the government’s responsibility to prosecute those accused of a crime. Local district attorneys usually have on hand some other district attorneys who can be utilized when needed.

Private Lawyers

Hired by defendants who are capable of affording their services that are often out of reach financially to the poor and middle classes.

Legal Aid Societies

Defendants who cannot afford their own private lawyer can sometimes be assisted by non-profit organizations such as legal aid societies. Every state in the nation has such an organization that hires lawyers for those unable to afford their own private lawyer.

Public Defender

This is a lawyer whose primary responsibility is to provide representation and legal advice as well as to assist people who cannot pay for legal assistance. Public defenders are appointed and assigned by individual states.

Source: Howell, Toni. “All 4 One Alliance Legal.” All 4 One Alliance Legal, 26 May 2019, www.all4onealliance.org/types-of-cases-criminal-lawyer-deal-with-and-types-of-criminal-lawyers/

Speak With One Of Our Criminal Defense Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer

How To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your liberty is threatened when you have been either arrested or charged with a crime. It is crucially important to obtain an aggressive private criminal defense lawyer. Public Defenders likely don’t have the time necessary to devote to your case to play-to-win. A Private criminal defense attorney will help you navigate through all stages of the criminal court process you are encountering and can be key in reducing your sentence or negotiating a potential dismissal of your case. Read on to learn more.

A Private Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Vital To Your Future

Let’s briefly look at the ways your life can be impacted should you ever be charged with a crime:

  • Potential loss of relationships
  • Jail or prison time
  • A criminal record
  • Reduced career prospects
  • Expense of court fines

You need a private criminal defense attorney who can assist in getting the best possible outcome for your case – they can help you with:

  • Understanding the legal ramifications of the charges that have been filed
  • Explain strategies for your defense
  • Explore and explain what (if any) plea bargains are likely to be on the table
  • Discuss the post-trial and conviction process

Private criminal defense attorneys handle a wide range of cases and can help you by:

  • Reducing your criminal charge (an example would be from a felony to a misdemeanor)
  • Lessening the penalty for the crime
  • Reducing or eliminating potential jail time, for example, through probation
  • Developing a sound defense strategy with your best interests in mind

Your criminal defense lawyer should also have experience in the following areas:

  • Familiarity with crime scene investigations
  • Great knowledge of photographs, sketches, video and polygraphs
  • The interviewing techniques for police, victims and witnesses
  • The ability to effectively cross-examine your accuser

Finding A Criminal Defense Lawyer

While you can ask family and friends for a recommendation, it is understandable you may not want many (if any) people to know of your current circumstances and you may not have time to do a great deal of in-depth online research, so here are some questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer you are considering retaining:

  • What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
  • Will you be handling my case personally, or will an attorney I have not met be the point person?
  • Are you experienced in litigating trials involving a jury?
  • Are you knowledgeable regarding requesting a lesser charge or working on a plea agreement?
  • What is the fee and are payment plans available?

Fees

Many factors go into the determination of the fees a criminal defense lawyer will charge. Usually fees are either on a flat rate or billed hourly. Some attorneys will offer payment plans while others will want a retainer fee paid upfront before commencing the case. It is a good idea to shop around and seek out the best options for your circumstances. In situations where you cannot afford an attorney – it is possible you may be granted a government paid attorney who will represent you.

Source: “Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer.” Findlaw, 6 Feb. 2019, criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/hire-a-criminal-defense-lawyer.html.

Speak With One Of Our Criminal Defense Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.