The best way to find a good lawyer is by reputation. The best approach is often to ask other lawyers in the region: Who is the best in the area? Other lawyers usually have a good answer to that question and may even be able to provide you with several names. Police officers, judges, other defense lawyers and court staff are also familiar, usually from first-hand observation, with who the best lawyers are. Ask them who would THEY want to retain if arrested or charged with a crime.
Above all else you should attempt to retain an attorney who devotes the vast majority of his or her practice to the defense of criminal cases. No attorney can give you a guarantee on the outcome of your case, however, retaining a firm that specializes in criminal defense can maximize the chances of a successful conclusion. If you do not have a sense of comfort and confidence after meeting with an attorney about your case you should look further.
Attorney's fees vary, of course, usually depending on the reputation and experience of the lawyer or the law firm and the geographic location in which the lawyer practices. As with most professions, the more well known and skilled the attorney, the higher the fee. Lawyers or law firms who limit their practice to defending criminal cases will normally charge higher fees than lawyers with a more general practice. Each lawyer has something to offer. For some it's a low fee or an easy payment plan. For others it's an exceptional reputation and skills to match. It is rare that you will find both in the same lawyer.
Experienced criminal defense lawyers typically charge an up-front flat fee retainer that will cover all fees up to a certain point, at which time additional fees may be required. Some lawyers require additional fees to litigate pretrial motions. Others require additional fees only in the event of a trial. Beware lawyers who charge a comparatively low flat fee. A guilty plea is often the result.
What Fees Will They Charge?
Costs for such things as an investigator, service of subpoenas, expert witness fees, preparation of photographs, transcripts, and other exhibits, etc., are usually extra.
In any event, you should be clear about what the attorney is going to charge and what work he is going to perform for your particular case, and the attorney should have his agreement with you put in writing.