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Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with the 19th-century English fable Goldilocks and the Three Bears. How could this story possibly relate to choosing a St. Paul criminal defense attorney, you ask? We’re getting to that.
Apropos of nothing, if this story took place in 21st-century Ramsey County, the entire family might need legal representation. Although she may have a defense (she did not have the intent to commit a felony), Goldilocks arguably committed burglary. And, what kind of parents allow a child to wander the woods unsupervised and cavort with anthropomorphic bears?
Back to the blog. Inside the cottage, Goldilocks determined that one bowl of porridge was too hot, one was too cold, and one was just right. That’s the same quality you need in a St. Paul criminal defense attorney in the following three key areas.
There is no substitute for experience. However, there may be too much of a good thing.
Many people are familiar with Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968. Palestinian native Sirhan Sirhan was charged with the crime, and veteran attorney Grant Cooper defended him. Cooper, who died in 1990, was basically a celebrity attorney. For example, he represented Shirley Temple during her divorce from John Wayne sidekick and B-movie stalwart John Agar.
The state’s case against Sirhan had some holes which, for whatever reason, Cooper did not fully exploit. More aggressive representation may have changed the outcome. Currently, Sirhan is in a California prison awaiting his sixteenth parole hearing, which is scheduled for 2021.
At the same time, your case is too important to entrust to a St. Paul criminal defense attorney with little experience. Such a person may not know the best possible defenses in a given case. Furthermore, inexperienced lawyers usually do not know all the procedural and evidentiary rules, especially the unwritten ones.
During your initial research, look for an attorney who has twenty or thirty years of experience. During your initial consultation, ask the attorney how many criminal cases s/he has tried.
Your St. Paul criminal defense attorney should also be in the “just right” category in terms of accessibility. A waiting room assessment reveals a great deal in this area.
If you booked your appointment weeks in advance and/or the waiting room is full of people, that could be a bad sign. Extremely busy attorneys often have little time for individual cases. Many times, a nonlawyer assistant may do most of the work. Additionally, if you have a question or need advice, your attorney may not be there at the moment you need a lawyer the most.
On the flip side, if you got a last-minute appointment and the waiting room is empty, that may be a bad sign as well. If attorneys have few clients, it’s usually because they are either inexperienced or not very good.
During your initial consultation, ask the attorney how much of his or her practice is devoted to criminal law. That should give you an indication of accessibility.
Cost is obviously important. We did not list this consideration higher because a lawyer is not a washing machine. Price is not the only factor, and it probably should not be the leading consideration either.
Furthermore, attorney fees are subjective. They depend on many different things, such as the attorney’s experience, the amount of time the case would take, the case’s opportunity cost (the amount of work the St. Paul criminal defense attorney must decline to effectively represent you), and the attorney’s overhead.
If the attorney’s fee is substantially lower than similar quotes you’ve received, remember that you get what you pay for. If the fee is a lot higher, you may be paying too much.
Choosing the right advocate is the first step towards a successful resolution in a criminal case. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul criminal defense attorney, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.