When it comes to criminal defense attorneys in Minneapolis, there are thousands to choose from. While many lawyers hold themselves out to be the best in advertisements or mail solicitations, the ideal attorney for you can take some effort to find. You deserve legal counsel that has the skill, experience, and mindset to aggressively pursue your defense.
The lawyers at Gerald Miller are proud advocates of the accused. We are proud of our long track record of success and confident that we are the best criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis for you. When making the ultimate decision on hiring legal counsel, consider the important factors below.
Experience Is Key for a Top Criminal Defense Attorney in MN
Relevant experience is one of the most important factors in selecting a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis. A lawyer could have 30 years of experience practicing law, but they are of little use to you if that experience was exclusively in tax law.
General practitioners can also be problematic. These attorneys take on any type of case that might walk through the doors instead of focusing on a specific area of law. While they might have a broad range of experience, they likely lack the depth of criminal defense experience you require.
Instead, look for an attorney that focuses their practice on criminal defense. This focus will ensure your criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis is familiar with the process and is up to speed on the most recent changes in the law.
When possible, it is in your best interest to find an attorney with experience handling the type of offense you have been charged with. Some attorneys focus much of their practice on certain types of cases, DWI offenses.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are focused on fighting for the accused in Minnesota. Our firm focuses their efforts entirely on criminal law, which means we can use all of our collective experience to help you build the strongest defense possible.
Seek Responsiveness in Your Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
The outcome of your criminal case will be one of the most important factors in your life. You need an attorney that understands and respects that. Nothing is more frustrating than having questions go unanswered. It is crucial that you seek out legal counsel that will respond to your questions or anticipate your needs before you even have to ask in the first place.
During your initial consultation with a prospective attorney, you have the opportunity to learn about how that attorney connects with their clients. Some attorneys provide their personal cellphone number while others require all communication to funnel through an assistant. You could benefit from learning how your attorney communicates with a client before you hire them.
Look Locally for a Top Criminal Defense Attorney in MN
There are major differences between how courts in different cities or states handle criminal cases. Prosecutorial discretion can vary, as can court procedures. Given these major differences, it is in your best interest to look for an attorney with experience practicing in the jurisdiction where you were charged.
A local attorney could provide helpful insight into what to expect from court appearances and plea offers. What’s more, they could have relationships with prosecutors, judges, or court clerks that could be beneficial in your case. These benefits can add up quickly in some situations.
Remember, a common outcome in one county could be very different than another. While one judge might frequently sign off on plea bargains that do not include jail time, other judges might require incarceration for certain types of offenses.
This type of knowledge cannot be learned from a book. Only years of practicing in a specific jurisdiction can provide you with the deep insight you need to understand the stakes of a criminal prosecution.
Don’t Forget Personal Relationships When Choosing a Lawyer in MN
An attorney is more than a walking resume of degrees and accomplishments. When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you are hiring a person. That person will have a personality, and it is important that you are comfortable with them.
Your Minneapolis Criminal Defense attorney is not your friend. However, you will spend large amounts of time with your lawyer and will rely on their advice and counsel. If you are uncomfortable with your legal representation, you are less likely to trust their guidance or heed their advice. In some cases, a bad relationship with your lawyer could hurt your case more than help it.
Seek a Clear Fee Structure for Your Case
It can be uncomfortable talking about money, but you should never have any ambiguity when it comes to potential legal fees. Your Minneapolis Criminal Defense lawyer should make it clear what you can expect to pay and when you are expected to pay it.
Many criminal defense attorneys require their entire fee up front. Others charge by the hour, and require that you routinely pay into a retainer account. While both of these options are not unusual, it is important to know exactly what you are signing up for when you hire your attorney. The lack of a clear fee agreement could also be a sign that the attorney does not have the organizational skills that could aid in your defense.
Find a Confident Litigator in Minneapolis
Experience with criminal law is one thing. Experience handling courtroom appears—specifically, trials—is another. Not only is experience in the courtroom important, but so is the willingness to take a case to trial.
There are generally two types of criminal defense attorneys. The first will make every effort to resolve a case with a plea bargain and avoid the hassle of going to trial. The second will aggressively pursue a trial strategy as long as it is in the client’s best interest.
The first type of attorney usually relies on a large volume of cases and seeks to resolve those with plea agreements as fast as possible. This approach might be the best option for an attorney, but it is rarely the best option for the client.
You are better served by finding an attorney that is ready to fight for you at trial. Aggressively pushing a case toward trial not only puts you in the best position to obtain an acquittal at trial, but it also increases the chances of receiving a fair settlement offer from the state. Prosecutors understand that attorneys that relentlessly prepare for trial are unlikely to accept unreasonable plea bargains. An aggressive approach to litigation could improve your chances of getting the plea offer that you want.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller will never recommend an unreasonable plea bargain or avoid taking your case to trial. We prepare every case with trial in mind and can prepare you for what to expect when you arrive in court. Our approach to litigation is responsible for our track record of success in fighting for the accused.
Find a Top Criminal Defense Attorney in MN That Listens
When you hire an attorney, they work for you. Their job is to advise you on your legal options and serve as your advocate, but some attorneys will want to make these decisions for you.
While you should always listen to the guidance of your attorney and rely on their experience, you need an attorney that will take direction from you. While your attorney can handle simple matters on their own, you deserve an attorney that will follow the defense strategy you have selected and advocate for you in the way you prefer.
This is especially important when it comes to accepting or rejecting a plea bargain. You are the one facing the prospect of criminal jeopardy, and you are the only one that can ultimately determine if a plea bargain is right for you or not. It is your attorney’s job to put a plea offer into context and advise you if it is in your best interest to accept or reject it. Having an attorney that will take your direction is important when making these critical decisions.
Gauge an Attorney’s Interest in Your Case
Some attorneys are more interested than others in taking on types of cases. In fact, many attorneys will pass of certain cases to subordinate attorneys to handle. You could benefit from finding an attorney that is genuinely interested in representing you. What’s more, you could benefit from knowing whether the attorney you have hired will handle your case personally or not.
Discuss Your Case with a Top Criminal Defense Attorney in MN
There are many factors that go into finding the best criminal defense attorney for you. The good news is that most defense lawyers offer free consultations. At your consultation, you can ask these questions of an attorney and gauge their response.
If you are facing criminal charges in Minneapolis, the attorneys at Gerald Miller are prepared to assist you. Call on (612) 440-4610 immediately to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Originally published October 5, 2020 and updated September 14, 2021.