Do I Get a Free Rochester Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Even though the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney, one way or another, defendants usually pay for these legal services. But are you owed a Rochester criminal defense lawyer?
In some venues, such as small claims court, self-representation is usually a good idea. But in criminal court, self-representation is typically unfavorable. Even though there is no instruction manual or warning label, defendants must know all the procedural rules and all the consequences of a conviction. That handicap is impossible to overcome, especially in cases like DWIs, which have so many procedural rules and so many direct and indirect consequences.
Your Criminal Defense Representation Options in Monroe County
With this in mind, an effective Rochester criminal defense lawyer is a must-have when you go to court. What kind of lawyer is available in these situations?
Public assistance may be an option. Monroe County has a very good public defender’s office. Additionally, many criminal judges appoint attorneys in certain cases.
Generally, these lawyers are always available if the defendant is in jail. People who are behind bars usually have no way to hire a lawyer. So, the county fulfills the Sixth Amendment’s requirement.
If the defendant is out on bond, public assistance may not be available. Many judges assume, rightly or wrongly, that if a defendant can afford bail, the defendant can also afford a lawyer. If a judge does assign a court-appointed lawyer or public defender and the court finds the defendant guilty, the judge assesses legal fees as court costs.
In other words, if you are not in jail, you have a choice. As mentioned, the public assistance attorneys in Monroe County are often just as experienced as private Rochester criminal defense lawyers. However, the myth of the overworked public defender is partially true. For example, the American Bar Association recommends that public assistance lawyers handle a maximum of one hundred and fifty felonies a year. The average public defender handles almost twice that number.
What to Look for in a Rochester Criminal Defense Lawyer
So, in most cases, a private lawyer is a better option. Some important things to look for while searching for a reputable Rochester criminal defense lawyer are:
There really is no substitute for experience. But years of practice only tells part of the story. Your attorney should also have substantial criminal trial experience. Even though most criminal cases settle out of court, the threat of a trial must be a credible one to get a good pretrial deal.
Criminal defense requires a unique touch and a special commitment. Divorce lawyers, corporate lawyers, and others do not always have what it takes. That being said, diversity is often a good thing. So, your Rochester criminal defense lawyer should probably devote at least 50 percent of his or her practice to criminal defense.
Driving across town to meet with your lawyer will get really old, really fast. So, your attorney should have an office near your home or work. Alternatively, your lawyer should be willing to meet you someplace convenient.
In this area, choosing a lawyer is a little like choosing a restaurant. If there are no cars in the parking lot, that’s a bad sign. If the hostess says you must wait an hour for a table, that’s a bad sign too. Likewise, your lawyer should be busy, but not to the point where they cannot assist you.
Note that the cost did not make the list. Most lawyers charge about the same amount for roughly the same services, depending on the lawyer’s experience. Furthermore, choosing a lawyer is a very important decision. Since your freedom and your future are at stake, you should be prepared to spend some money.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
If you face any criminal charges, you need a good lawyer. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal defense lawyer, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. After-hours visits are available.