You’re out on a night with friends on a Friday night. All of you are lounging around in an empty parking lot drinking beer.
Then, one of your friends suggests creating a parking lot donut in the empty lot. You’re hesitant at first, but you go along with it.
You watch your friends spin the car around erratically until you give it a try. However, a cop shows up and arrests all of you. You’re charged with reckless driving.
What should you do?
The first step is to contact a defense attorney immediately and avoid talking to the police. To find an attorney who will champion your rights, however, you should find someone you can trust.
Your attorney should also be experienced, professional, and reputable. This article will show you how to pick the best criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax County. Let’s explore.
Research Professional Background
To conduct a background check on prospective lawyers, you can check an attorney disciplinary agency in Virginia. You can see if they’re still licensed to practice law, or if they have ethical issues on their record. Additionally, you can ask for references that highlight the lawyer’s reputation.
Also, you can read reviews from previous clients who worked with the attorney. Look for reviews that match your situation and see how well the lawyer handled the cases.
You can also check peer review ratings, which are reviews by other fellow attorneys and bar association members.
And, you can contact attorney referral services and get a list of counselors that are appropriate for your case. Attorney referral services screen the best attorneys.
If you choose attorney referral services, however, take note of the following drawbacks:
- The screening methods may be subpar
- You may only get a general list of attorneys in good standing
- You won’t get insight into the lawyer’s work ethic or dedication to the job
The best way to know if you’re choosing a good attorney is to visit the office and meet him or her in person.
Once you narrow down your list of attorneys, conduct an in-person interview with each of them. An attorney will usually offer a free consultation, but free meetings depend on the attorney.
Inquire about the cost of their services overall. If you’re short on funds, ask about a payment plan option.
Tell them about your reckless driving case. Inquire about their background and if they have handled reckless driving cases. More importantly, determine if the attorney is open and honest about your case.
The best attorneys will not sugarcoat your circumstance and will inform you about the best pathway forward. When assessing honesty, use your gut instinct.
Also, study how friendly they are and if they seem open. You want an attorney who is accessible to you. If you build a good rapport with the attorney, then he or she could be someone you can trust.
Overall, ensure that your personality meshes with the attorney’s personality. Avoid counselors that you don’t feel comfortable around.
Choose an Expert Attorney
During the interview process, focus your questions on the attorney’s experience. Avoid general-practicing attorneys who may not be familiar with reckless driving cases. General practitioners can handle reckless driving cases. But they will undergo a learning curve that reckless driving attorneys don’t have to go through.
An attorney who has never handled a reckless driving case is not the right choice. Instead, you want a court officer who has a solid track record of handling reckless driving cases. More importantly, that attorney must have a record of winning the cases. Or, they must have a history of working out favorable deals for their clients.
The right attorney should also be familiar with the county in which you’re facing charges.
- Example: If a cop arrests you for reckless driving in Fairfax County, choose an attorney who has a record of practicing law in that county.
An attorney with the right background can increase your chances of winning the case exponentially.
Talk to People in Your Community
If possible, you can talk to people in your community who have undergone the same reckless driving cases. You can talk to people from support groups or driver’s education classes to find people who are in a similar situation.
Asking around is a good idea if you haven’t chosen a good attorney yet. Further, someone may recommend an attorney that you hadn’t considered previously.
With that, you should avoid taking recommendations at face value. The opinions of others are subjective, and a recommended attorney may not be the best match for your case. Therefore, conduct the appropriate level of research to see if any of the recommended attorneys would be a good fit for you.
Assess the Size of the Firm
Before the meeting, determine if the firm is small or large. Take note of the following pros and cons of small and large firms.
- Small Firms: Small-firm attorneys will have more time to devote to your case, but their resources may be limited. However, you’re more likely to get faster responses. And, attorneys from small firms are generally more accessible.
- Large Firms: Larger firms have more resources and manpower to handle your case. Prosecutors and judges tend to respect larger firms than smaller ones. They’re more likely to get you cleared of the charges or achieve a favorable plea deal.
You should also analyze the work atmosphere of the office. Study the employees to see if they look happy.
Scope the overall layout of the place and its organization. A disorganized space indicates that the attorney is handling too many cases or isn’t passionate about the job.
What are Other Ways to Find the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Some other ways to find the best criminal defense lawyer include contacting a law librarian, contacting a nonprofit group, or contacting your local chamber of commerce. One of the best tips for hiring a criminal defense lawyer is to find one who has a record of handling reckless driving cases.
Also, seek an attorney that is likable and approachable. A good attorney should be welcoming and sensitive to your plight.
Are you facing a reckless driving charge? Click here to know where to find a good criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax County.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Law
- Traffic Violations
- Reckless Driving
- Felonies and Misdemeanors
- Virginia, 1985
- District of Columbia, 1987
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1985
- U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1987
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1985
- U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia
- J.D. - 1985
- Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- B.A. magna cum laude - 1982
- Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
- Major: Economics & Philosophy