In 2020 (our last available data), police made over 420,000 juvenile arrests. While adults don’t like to think about it, minors are capable of committing and being charged with crimes, and they need legal representation when that happens.
If you’ve never had to find a defense attorney before, you’re lucky, but that also means that you may not know where to turn now. We’re here to help.
Read on to learn how to find the right juvenile defense attorney in Virginia.
Use Your Network
This doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s a great place to start if you’ve never had to use a Virginia criminal defense attorney before, especially one for a child or teenager. This is a unique situation!
While we’re sure that you’ll try to be discrete, now is a great time to quietly ask around. Talk to people you trust who you know have had to hire an attorney before (or who likely know someone who has).
People will likely be happy to share their experiences with you, especially if you’re in a precarious situation.
Not everyone’s advice is going to be helpful. Juvenile crimes are different from adult crimes, so adults who have used defense attorneys for themselves won’t have the perfect answers, but this is a great place to start.
Remember to not give too much information to anyone and only talk to people you trust. This is a sensitive topic, and before you speak with an attorney, you want to keep things quiet.
Do Your Homework
If your current network doesn’t have the resources you’re looking for, or if you’re interested in putting in your own research, it’s time to take your search for a Virginia criminal defense attorney to the web.
There are likely dozens of reliable attornies in your area, but not all of them will be the right fit for your situation. Right now, you’re not making any commitments. You’re just trying to narrow down your options.
Look for attorneys that are accessible to you. While it’s not unreasonable to go far out of your way for your meetings, it’s best if you’re able to stay somewhat nearby, especially if you (or the juvenile you’re responsible for) no longer have access to your car.
Make sure that you’re only looking into attorneys who offer the specific services you’re looking for. For example, a Virginia traffic attorney won’t be helpful for you if they don’t also have plenty of experience dealing with juvenile crimes.
Narrow down your options to a few local attorneys who look reliable.
Read Online Reviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can start looking through reviews and testimonials. In the internet age, you can find reviews for anything, and attorneys are not exempt from this rule.
Remember that reviews aren’t always authentic. This is especially true in the case of lawyers. If someone doesn’t have a successful case, it isn’t necessarily the fault of the attorney, but they may leave a negative review anyway.
You can also reach out to the attorney and ask for references. All reliable attorneys should be happy to provide those references. They want you to know that you can trust them.
Have a Consultation
You can set up several consultations. Sometimes, but not always, consultations are free. This will depend on each individual attorney, so make sure to discuss this before the fact so you’re not left with any surprise fees.
The consultation is somewhat of an interview for both you and the attorney.
The attorney will use this time to make sure you’re a good fit and make sure that you have a viable case. Most attorneys will not waste their time on cases that they don’t think are worthwhile.
You’ll be able to explain the station, bring as much information as you can, and ask whatever questions you think are important.
Speaking of questions, what should you ask when you’re having a consultation with your juvenile offense defense attorney?
First, ask about their experience with cases like yours. Do they routinely deal with juvenile crimes? Even if they’ve only had a handful of similar cases, how can they apply that experience to your own situation?
Ask about fees. Affordable traffic lawyers in Virginia (and all other lawyers) are few and far between, but you need to make sure that you’re able to afford their representation.
Ask what they’d need from you during the case. Some attorneys prefer clients to be completely “hands-off” while others prefer to have more input.
You can also ask about the projected outcome of the case, though remember that your attorney is only able to give you an educated guess. An attorney should never give you a guarantee.
Consider Communication Styles
While you’re talking, decide if your communication styles mesh. You’re going to be working together for a while, and you have to trust and tolerate each other.
Communication styles also extend to phone calls and emails.
Do you feel as though the attorney is responding politely and in a timely manner? Do you seem to understand each other well enough without having to stop and over-explain things?
A good attorney-client relationship is crucial. Don’t underestimate it.
Finding the Right Juvenile Defense Attorney Matters
Don’t take this decision too lightly. Finding the right juvenile defense attorney can be tricky, and it can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking for an attorney. Pay close attention during the consultation. With enough diligence (and luck), you’ll find the right lawyer for you.
Nicewicz, attorney at law, is here to help you. Contact us for a free consultation today.