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Which criminal lawyer should you choose?

  • Criminal law governs the relationship of individuals to society and classifies offences into contraventions, misdemeanours and felonies.
  • A criminal lawyer is used when you are faced with criminal prosecution or if you are the victim of a criminal offence.
  • To choose a criminal lawyer, it is recommended to find out about his or her previous results, to meet with several professionals to have different opinions, to take into account the human relationship as well as the lawyer’s ease as a speaker and to consider the fees. It is possible to change lawyers during the proceedings, but this must be done in accordance with the rules.

One may need to choose a criminal lawyer, finding oneself both a victim of a crime, and an accused of that crime. This lawyer is therefore quite versatile and intervenes in many situations. Let’s see what its field of action is and especially how to choose it well.

  • What is criminal law?
  • When is a criminal lawyer used?
  • How to choose this advice?
  • Changing Lawyers

What is criminal law?

Before choosing a criminal lawyer in Paris or elsewhere, it is good to know what criminal law covers. This right governs the relationship of individuals to society. It symbolises the Commission’s response to acts it considers reprehensible, classifying them as offences and reserving penalties for them. These penalties qualify 3 main types of acts and behaviors, classified according to their seriousness: fines, misdemeanors and felonies. Each category
has its own competent court: police court, criminal court and assize court.
All legal texts relating to criminal law are set out in the Criminal Code, to which the criminal lawyer refers, especially when criminal proceedings are initiated. By means of this action, the authorities of the State proceed to implicate the accused, by establishing the offence, denouncing or filing a complaint. The procedure only ends with the final decision of the court.

When is a criminal lawyer used?

Choosing a criminal lawyer is therefore useful when you or one of your loved ones is confronted with what can lead to criminal prosecution: summons to the gendarmerie, indictment, police custody, invitation to appear, etc. Victims of criminal offences also need to choose their criminal lawyer carefully in order to determine the best line of defence.
The lawyer is at the client’s side at all stages of the proceedings, from the police investigation to the appearance before the judge and the courts responsible for the execution of sentences. He knows the steps that can be taken at each stage to defend his client’s rights and influence the course of the proceedings. It is able, for example, to have police custody cancelled when the accused’s right to consult him has not been respected.

The criminal lawyer also intervenes before a trial, by gathering the evidence and documents necessary to build a file and to put together a pleading. Any offence punishable by law such as theft, fraud or breach of trust is part of its areas of competence. They are settled before a criminal court, a specialized criminal division of the court of first instance. However, the lawyer specialising in criminal law may also be called upon to intervene in cases such as crimes (in the Assize Court) or in white collar crime.
In this field, the lawyer’s skills are acquired through a long practice of business law and criminal law. We are led to choose this criminal lawyer when we are implicated in a complex case, the investigation of which may be carried out by high authorities such as the financial brigade. This type of investigation may concern cases where important officials in the private or public sector may be implicated for serious acts, such as embezzlement, misuse of company assets, serious accidents at work, etc.

How to choose this advice?

It is strongly advised to choose your criminal lawyer carefully, in view of the stakes of the cases, which often directly concern the freedom of movement of the persons involved.
First of all, we advise not to orient yourself randomly, but to find out about the cases already won by the specialist to whom you wish to entrust your case. The names of the best lawyers sometimes circulate by word of mouth, but are also relayed by professional rankings published by some independent institutes.

It is also advisable not to limit yourself to the opinion of a single lawyer, but to choose your criminal lawyer by meeting with different professionals. This is in order to collect several opinions on the same file. This allows you to choose your counsel as well, making sure that he or she has mastered the techniques of criminal law by talking to you about your rights at this stage. In fact, the rights of defendants and victims are often ignored by litigants during criminal proceedings. The lawyer often begins to defend them from the first meeting, because of the importance of the information he or she provides.

The second important criterion for choosing a criminal lawyer is the human relationship, i.e. the listening skills and the interest he or she will show in the case. This criterion is very important whether one is incriminated as a defendant or concerned as a victim. The challenges of his client’s life require a high level of availability on the part of his counsel. The confrontation with the “judicial machine” and the many uncertainties that beset it will create strong expectations that the lawyer must legitimately understand.
With an accused, it is not only an advisory role that he or she plays,
but also a moral support role. Because during certain procedural acts such as police custody or detention, the justice system keeps relatives at a distance. It is the lawyer who plays an important role during his visits, and often allows them psychologically to cope with the shock.
For victims, the lawyer plays an equally important role in support, especially during a confrontation with an aggressor. He is also the one who will help them to have their rights respected during the investigation and who can request requests for documents (hearings, expert opinions). Victims should also use a qualified criminal lawyer to quantify the amount of damages to which they are entitled, in light of the harm suffered. The methods of calculating and assessing this amount are complex and require the lawyer’s specific skills.

Another point to watch out for before choosing a criminal lawyer is his ease as a public speaker, as he defends his client from start to finish before the various courts, mainly orally.

Finally, the issue of lawyers’ fees is also an issue that should never be underestimated. Each firm is free to set its own fees. Depending on the nature of the dispute, they may be calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the time spent on the file.
Hourly rates can fluctuate a lot from one practice to another, with differences ranging from €100 to €1,500 per hour.
When you have a limited budget, it is advisable to choose a criminal lawyer who operates according to the fee agreement, who commits him and his client on the characteristics of the assignment entrusted to him, as well as on the terms of payment. It is advisable for the poorest people to choose a criminal lawyer who can take into account the legal aid granted by the State, depending on the level of resources of the litigant. This aid may cover all or part of the costs of a procedure.

Good to know: if you are the victim of a very serious crime, you can benefit from this 100% assistance to defend yourself criminally, even if you do not meet the means test.

Changing Lawyers

It is important to choose your criminal lawyer carefully from the start, so that you do not have to change them during the procedure. Such cases may, indeed, arise. They occur in particular when litigants feel that the lawyer is not handling their case diligently, that he has committed certain professional misconduct or that his fees are excessive.
They need to find a successor, but they don’t do so at certain times, or at least never before a hearing.

Any litigant has the right to dismiss his lawyer if he informs him in accordance with the rules of the art: in writing and by paying the fees for the work done. A lawyer also has the right to withdraw from a defence, but cannot do so at a crucial time for his client, and must imperatively hand over all the documents in the case.

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