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Questions to ask your criminal lawyer

When you find yourself in need of a criminal lawyer, there are some vital questions to ask upon the occasion of your first appointment. When making your first appointment, you should enquire as to whether or not there will be any costs involved. Some lawyers will not charge a fee for the initial appointment, but it is best not to assume that this will be the case. The first appointment is your opportunity to present your case to the lawyer so that they may determine whether they will be able to best meet your particular requirements. Attending an initial appointment is in no way a commitment by either party to move forward together with the case – if you do not wish to proceed with hiring the lawyer at this stage you are not under any obligation to do so.

When you attend your first appointment with prospective legal counsel, make sure that you are adequately prepared. It is wise to prepare a list of questions to take with you alongside a brief written summary of your legal issue. This will enable you to clearly and efficiently explain your problem to the lawyer, as well as making sure that you receive all of the information you require. Once you have outlined your legal issue to the lawyer, you should ask several vital questions to ensure that you are properly informed as to your options and any obligations.

What options are available to me?

Once you have outlined your problem to the lawyer, you should ask them to explain all of the legal options to you. They should present you will all of the available options and explain how they can help you solve your problem or resolve your legal issue. You need to understand what is being presented to you so that you are fully equipped to make the right decisions in your case, so if there is anything you don’t understand make sure to ask for them to elaborate upon their explanation for you. Enquire as to whether it would be possible to solve your legal issue without the need to go to court, as it may be preferable to avoid a potentially lengthy and expensive court case. Depending on the trouble that you have found yourself in, it may also be worth asking if it is an issue you could handle yourself or whether it would be best for a lawyer to handle on your behalf.

Do you specialize in this area of law?

Because most lawyers specialize in specific areas of law, it is important to know whether the lawyer you are meeting with is the best person to handle your case. Make sure to ask the lawyer whether they have experience in the relevant area of the law, as it is vital in terms of their being able to provide you, as the client, with the most up to date legal advice and best representation possible. If they are not suited to your case they will tell you, but make sure to ask for them to recommend or refer you on to another appropriate lawyer, either from the same firm or from elsewhere.

What will it cost?

While cost is by no means the only factor in finding the right legal representation, for many people it can constitute a large part of their decision. Ask the lawyer to outline their fee structure for you. Some lawyers may accept a case on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so it is worth asking whether this is an option. There may be additional costs involved in your case, so do find out if there is a chance that you may, for example, have to cover the plaintiff’s legal bill if the final ruling is not in your favour.
Once you are armed with all of this information you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether you would like to move forward with this lawyer. Remember that you are under no obligation to come to any agreement if you are not satisfied with the options and fees that have been presented to you. There are many criminal law firms in Sydney and you may wish to keep shopping around.

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