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Choosing a criminal defense attorney involves much more than simply selecting a name from a phone book. After all, your defense lawyer will play a significant role in determining whether or not you’ll spend time behind bars and face other legal consequences. Compile a short list of attorneys near you and then spend some time investigating their prior experience. Then, schedule initial consultations at a criminal law firm to meet a few attorneys and ask them questions about your case.

Practice Areas
The first step in choosing a criminal defense attorney in the Maryland and D.C. areas is to find lawyers who specialize in handling your particular type of case. For example, if you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you’ll need the expertise of a DUI lawyer. If you’ve been charged with embezzlement or identity theft, you’ll need the help of an attorney who has experience handling white collar crimes. Attorneys’ websites often list their particular practice areas; check to see that your offense or category of offense is listed.

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Experience
When you meet with a criminal defense attorney for an initial consultation, you can ask about his or her background. Many people prefer to hire a lawyer who has long since graduated law school and has plenty of experience in the courtroom . Additionally, you may wish to ask the lawyer about any professional recognitions he or she may have received, such as being recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine or receiving a Superb Avvo Rating.

Values
Although considering a lawyer’s expertise and professional accolades is a sound method of finding an exceptional attorney, it’s equally as important to consider how well you can work with a particular lawyer. Take a few minutes to browse the lawyer’s website to learn more about the law firm’s mission and values, or ask the attorney during your initial consultation. It’s important to choose a lawyer who provides personalized attention to each client, treats each client’s concerns with respect, and is dedicated to clear communication with clients.