5 Good Questions to Ask a Criminal Defence Lawyer

Asking the right questions can help you determine if a lawyer is the right fit for you.
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The role of criminal defence lawyers involves asking many questions — indeed, the criminal justice system demands it. Be they directed to their clients, subject matter experts during cross-examination or to the police who filed the original criminal charge, such questions help build the foundation for the defences of their clients. It's all in the name of ensuring better representation and offering sound legal advice no matter what the criminal charges may be.

But it's important for clients seeking a criminal defence lawyer, or the services of a law office, to be every bit as inquisitive as their would-be solicitor(s).

Are you in need of a criminal defence lawyer that can handle your criminal case? To ensure that you're given the best legal advice possible, here are a few important questions that are wise for you to ask of them. How they respond can help you better determine if a particular law office has the qualifications, temperament, experience and resources to be worth your time and investment. More than anything else, a criminal lawyer should have your best interest at heart. These questions — related to experience, track record and client satisfaction — should help you gauge if they're right for you. 

Question No. 1: In what areas of law are you most experienced?
Quite simply, experience matters. This is especially true in criminal law. Few areas of law in Australia are more replete with complex statutes than the criminal code, the origins of which trace all the way back to the nation's founding. As Australia has evolved, the code has become all the more dense and nuanced.

Thus, it's important for your lawyer to not just be any lawyer — but a criminal defence lawyer with considerable trial experience. When asking this question, your potential lawyer should be able to demonstrate why they're uniquely experienced in criminal law. This may be evidenced through how many criminal cases they've handled, their familiarity with the criminal code or other work they've completed that speaks to their knowledge, such as articles they've contributed to a legal journal.

Question No. 2: Do you have experience handling my type of criminal charge?
The legal field is an industry of specialisation; in fact, there are specialties within specialties. For example, at Russo Lawyers, while we do practise criminal law, we also work in traffic violation law, administrative law and town agency matters. But as it relates to criminal law, our law office offers legal advice in nearly a dozen areas of criminal law, including the following:

  • Drug offences
  • Sexual offences
  • Tax offences
  • Weapons Act offences
  • Murder and Manslaughter offences
  • Commonwealth offences
  • Fraud offences
  • Bail applications
  • Property offences

The point of asking your prospective lawyers about areas of expertise is to ensure that their history is relevant to whatever crimes you are being accused of.

Question No. 3: How often have you won or lost?
How often a law office has won or lost its cases is telling in a few ways. First, it speaks to how often they've gone to trial. The win-loss record of a criminal defence lawyer is not always an ironclad measurement of their abilities, given how complex the law can be and how many factors come into play at every trial. But it still gives a strong indication as to a lawyer's level of success.

In over 25 years of practising criminal law in Australia, our team at Russo Lawyers has represented over 5,300 clients and won more cases than we've lost. We've also successfully settled hundreds of cases, thereby avoiding the expenses associated with a lengthy trial.

Question No. 4:  Why should I retain you instead of another criminal defence lawyer or law office?
If you only ask one question to your lawyer, this may be the best one to choose. There are many criminal defence lawyer possibilities in Australia. Putting this question out there allows them to explain not only their objective experience, but also what characteristics make them uniquely qualified to handle your case.

Question No. 5: How often will we communicate as my criminal defence lawyer?
Your criminal defence lawyer won't promise a specific number of meetings or calls, of course, but they should be highly attuned to you and pass all decisions your way before taking any steps regarding your case. It's a solemn duty of an lawyer to give their best legal advice, but ultimately, all decisions about how a case is to proceed must go through you first and foremost, whether you're being charged with a sexual offence, white collar crime, domestic violence or any other offence.

If you're looking for the best legal advice and representation in Brisbane, turn to Russo Lawyers. Our team has the experience and capabilities you can trust to defend you at trial, in your personal time of trial or if you're accused of an offence. Contact us today.

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