Are you in a difficult situation and need legal help in British Columbia, Canada? Finding a skilled criminal lawyer can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Many people in your position are new to this process, and without experience, it can be a daunting process.
In this article, we’ll discuss common problems people face when searching for a criminal lawyer in British Columbia and provide solutions to them. You will be left with an understanding of how to find a lawyer in BC.
Problem 1: Lack of Knowledge About Criminal Law
Criminal law is complex, and understanding it requires specialized training and expertise. Without a clear understanding of your legal rights, the criminal justice system, or the legal process, you cannot navigate the system on your own.
One of the most complex areas of criminal law is protecting your rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Some of these rights include your right not to be arbitrarily detained, your right to not be unlawfully searched, your right to speak to a lawyer upon arrest, and many others. The lawyers at Mickelson & Whysall are skilled in identifying Charter breaches.
A successful Charter application can result in winning your case. A good criminal lawyer will be able to identify potential Charter breaches at your consult, explain them to you in simple terms, and discuss the ramifications of the breach on your specific case with you.
Without knowledge of criminal law, you simply need to hire an experienced lawyer.
Solution: Hire an Experienced Criminal Lawyer
It is essential to hire a criminal lawyer who specializes in criminal law. During your free consultation with your lawyer in BC, ask them about their practice areas and experience. It is best to find a lawyer that practices only criminal law and does not have a generalized practice encompassing many areas of law such as family law, business law, or civil law.
It is also important to find a lawyer who has experience with the type of criminal charges you are facing. Hiring a lawyer who has done many cases like yours before will benefit you in many ways. The lawyer will be up to date on the ever-changing case law and familiar with the types of legal applications you may need to make.
Be sure to ask your lawyer questions during your consultation. Have you left the meeting with a better understanding of your situation? If so, the lawyer has done their job in distilling complex legal jargon to you in a way you can digest. This is the marker of someone who knows their field inside and out and can work well with clients.
Problem 2: Difficulty Finding the Right Criminal Lawyer for Your Specific Case
Another challenge people face when looking for a criminal lawyer is finding the right lawyer to represent them.
Searching for “Experienced lawyers close to me” or “Top-rated attorneys nearby” will bring a sleuth of Google results. Overwhelmed by choice, many people simply click the top link when searching “Best lawyers in my area.” But, not all lawyers are created equal, and some may not have the necessary experience or expertise to handle your case.
If your matter is likely to go to trial, you will want to ensure you are hiring a lawyer who has significant trial experience. Be aware some lawyers focus more on resolving cases and rarely go to trial. At your consultation, discuss with the lawyer what their trial experience is, and whether or not your case is likely resolvable before trial.
Cross-examination of witnesses is a skill lawyers hone over many years of practice, if you have a serious case that is likely to result in a trial, you will want to hire a senior lawyer with significant trial experience. If you are a first-time offender with a less serious charge that is likely to be resolved before trial, you may find yourself leaning toward a lawyer that is skilled in plea deal negotiations with the Crown.
Don’t fall into the trap of picking your first option.
Solution: Research and Ask for Referrals
To find the right criminal lawyer, you need to do your research.
Start by searching online for criminal lawyers in your area, then look for reviews, testimonials from past clients, or professional commendations. Lawyers cannot control Google reviews, so this is a good unbiased source to review when making your decision. You can also ask for referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have been through a similar situation.
Be sure to pay attention to what the law firm publishes on its site as well. Take a look at the content on their website. Do they have thoughtful, helpful content available, either in blogs or articles? This can be both a resource for you and a marker that the firm is a thought leader in the industry.
Do they have a team of professionals? A team means you’re benefiting from the collective knowledge of more than one professional. Plus, you can be assured that someone will be available to you when your own lawyer is indisposed.
Do they have case studies similar to your situation that you can understand? This shows you they have dealt with your situation before and is a helpful resource for seeing what might happen.
Once you have a list of potential defence lawyers in Vancouver or your locality, schedule a consultation to discuss your case and determine if they are the right fit for you.
Problem 3: Financial Constraints
Hiring a criminal lawyer can be expensive, and many people hesitate to seek legal help because of financial constraints.
While criminal litigation can be expensive, you must also remember that your liberty is at stake. Paying for a good criminal lawyer now may mean that you can keep working in your chosen career, continue to travel freely between countries, and avoid jail time or a stigmatizing criminal record.
Criminal cases can be complex and require significant time and resources to prepare and present effectively. A good criminal lawyer will explain their fee structure to you at your initial free consultation.
Solution: Ask About Payment Plans & Prioritize Winning Early On
When hiring a criminal lawyer, you will often have to put down a retainer deposit to get the case started. Many criminal lawyers will offer a payment plan after the initial deposit which can make hiring an excellent criminal lawyer more attainable.
Having proper legal advice at the outset of a file, including during the investigation stage, can change the course of your proceedings. A good criminal lawyer will protect you from the outset and often prevent unnecessary and costly legal applications from being required down the road.
Keep in mind that paying for an experienced criminal lawyer early on can save you money in the long run. Having a criminal lawyer with a strong reputation in the legal community can result in resolving your case more efficiently with Crown Counsel before trial. Mickelson & Whysall is respected by justice system participants as a reputable firm providing a high level of service.
Problem 4: Lack of Communication
One of the most common complaints people have about their lawyers is a lack of communication. When your lawyer isn’t keeping you informed or answering your emails and calls. Your potential freedom, reputation, and finances may be on the line. You want to feel as though you are a priority to them.
Solution: Find a Lawyer with Good Communication Skills
When looking for a criminal lawyer, it is essential to find someone who has good communication skills. Be sure to clarify your expectations during your consultation.
A law firm with a team, vs a sole lawyer, has many advantages when it comes to communication. Ask them how long it typically takes for them to respond to clients. Read reviews, looking for communication skills specifically.
Problem 5: Lack of Trust
Some people may have a general lack of trust in the legal system or lawyers, which can make it challenging to seek legal help. Often, this is due to unfair treatment, misunderstanding, or discrimination they have experienced in the past.
Solution: Research and Ask for Referrals
Do your research and find a criminal lawyer that you can trust. Look for lawyers who have a proven track record of success and who others in your situation have vouched for.
Meet with your lawyer prior to hiring them and explain your distrust. Your lawyer may be able to assuage your fears with proof of success in situations like yours.
Make sure you get a good gut feeling from your lawyer. It is often best to do an in-person consult so you can get a feeling for the lawyer’s personality and make sure that you are comfortable with them.
Problems 6: Availability
Finding a criminal lawyer who is available to take on your case can be a challenge, especially if you are facing urgent charges.
The demand for skilled criminal attorneys is consistently high, leading to limited availability and an overwhelming number of individuals seeking their services. Consequently, individuals confronted with pressing criminal charges may find themselves grappling with the scarcity of accessible legal professionals.
Solution: Ask the Lawyer if They Have The Capacity
When searching for a criminal lawyer, ask about their availability and whether they have the capability to give your case the time and attention it needs. You may want to ask what the lawyer’s caseload currently looks like. You may also want to ask if they run a high-volume legal aid practice or a lower-volume private practice.
If the lawyer you choose does not have the ability to take you on, they may have other associates within their own firm that they trust and can refer you to.
We understand that urgency is a critical factor in criminal cases. Our firm prioritizes the expeditious handling of cases, ensuring that we promptly assign one of our criminal lawyers to address your legal needs. By employing a team of criminal lawyers, our law firm can reassure clients that someone will be available, accessible, and responsive when the need arises.
Problem 6: Local Difficulty in Finding a Lawyer Who Can Speak a Language Other Than English
In a diverse community like British Columbia, finding a criminal lawyer who can speak a second language can be difficult. For those whose first language is not English, this can present a challenge to understanding the legal ramifications of the case.
Solution: Find a Lawyer with Translators
If you require legal services in another language a good lawyer will have a list of translators at their disposal. Advise the law firm that you wish to speak with a lawyer and that you would like them to hire a translator for your meeting.
Problem 7: Difficulty in Finding a Lawyer Who Is Located in Your City
British Columbia is vast; it has a multitude of rural and remote areas. Finding a skilled criminal lawyer in a smaller jurisdiction may be difficult.
Solution: Expand Your Search & Utilize Technology
Many people from communities outside of Vancouver opt to hire a Vancouver lawyer for their case. It is common for Vancouver lawyers to travel all over British Columbia to represent their clients.
At Mickelson & Whysall, our lawyers represent clients all over British Columbia and the Yukon territory. We also on occasion will agree to represent clients in other provinces.
If you are from a city or town outside of Vancouver BC and are considering hiring a Vancouver-based lawyer, discuss the lawyer’s ability to travel to your jurisdiction at your initial consult.
With modern communication technology, lawyers can represent clients from anywhere in the province. Many law firms now offer virtual consultations and remote legal services, allowing individuals to connect with skilled criminal lawyers regardless of their physical location.
For example, we have Vancouver criminal lawyers who work with clients from every region in BC. Through video conferencing, email, and phone communications, individuals in rural and remote areas can access legal expertise without the need for physical proximity.
If You Need a Criminal Defence Lawyer in BC, We Can Help
Finding a well-qualified criminal lawyer in British Columbia can be an overwhelming task. If you or someone you know is looking for legal help, it’s important to do your research and take the time to ensure that you hire a skilled defence lawyer.
If your matter goes to trial, you may be working with your lawyer for over a year. It is important to make sure that you find the right fit. Read reviews online, properly vet potential lawyers, and don’t forget to ask important questions before signing any contracts.
Read more articles on How to Find a Right Lawyer:
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- What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need to Defend a Fraud Case?
- Why Do You Need a DUI Lawyer and Is the Cost Worth It?
If you have any further questions or want more personalized advice tailored specifically to your circumstances, reach out to us today. Our qualified team of criminal defence lawyers is knowledgeable in Canadian law, ensuring that we are able to provide our clients with reliable advice and trustworthy representation – no matter where their case may be.