Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer These 7 Questions Before Hiring Him or Her

Questions 1. Are you Board Certified in Criminal Law?

Why hire a Board Certified attorney? Because an attorney who is Board Certified in Criminal Law knows criminal cases. He’s experienced. He’s tried a lot of cases.

2. How many jury trials have you tried?

Even if you don’t want your case to go to trial, you will want a lawyer who has tried lots of jury trials. Why? Simple. Prosecutors make plea bargains offers based on what result the prosecutor thinks he can get if he tries the case to a jury. If the prosecutor knows that the defense lawyer has little or no trial experience, or fears going to trial, then the prosecutor might be less likely to reduce the charge or make the plea bargain easier on the defendant. Even if you don’t want your case to go to trial, you will want a lawyer who has trial experience.

3. How many jury trials have you tried in the past three years?

This question separates the lawyers who tried a lot of jury trials a long time ago from the lawyers who have tried jury trials recently. There’s a difference. To keep your trial skills sharp, you have to keep trying cases. It’s that simple. Look at it this way: when hiring a bodyguard, would you hire the guard who won 1st place in a shooting contest 10 years ago, but hasn’t fired a shot since then, or would you hire the guard who won 1st place in a shooting contest last month? You hire the sharpshooter who is still sharp.

4. Have you ever worked as a prosecutor?

Why hire a criminal defense lawyer who used to work as a prosecutor? Several reasons. First, it’s better to have someone defending you who knows what attack to expect. Second, former prosecutors generally have more trial experience. Third, former prosecutors will often have more credibility with current prosecutors.

5. Will you come to court to handle my case or will you send someone else?

Why hire a criminal defense lawyer who isn’t going to work on your case?

6. Ask this question if you have a DWI case and you blew into the Intoxilyzer: Have you ever tried a breath test case before, and if so, did you win?

Breath test cases are highly technical. The State may produce an expert witness to testify that the Intoxilyzer was reliable and accurate on the day that you blew into the machine. But there are many technicalities that a good criminal defense lawyer who has extensive experience with DWI cases will know. Wouldn’t you rather go to court with a lawyer who has tried a breath test case and won it?

7. Ask this question if you have a DWI case and your blood was drawn: Have you ever tried a blood test case before, and if so, did you win?

Blood test cases are even more highly technical than breath test cases. The State will produce an expert witness to testify that the results from the blood test were accurate and reliable. There is a great deal that a good criminal defense lawyer will know about the weaknesses in how blood is analyzed and how the results can be inaccurate. Wouldn’t you rather go to court with a lawyer who has tried a blood test case and won it?


Even if you don’t want your case to go to trial, you need a criminal defense lawyer who has jury trial experience.

Compare answers to the Six Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring Any Criminal Defense Lawyer:

QuestionsWilliam B. Mange’s Answer_______’s Answer
1. Are you Board Certified* in Criminal Law?Yes
2. How many jury trials have you tried?85
3. How many jury trials have you tried in the past 36 months?6
4. Have you ever worked as a prosecutor?Yes
5. Will you come to court to handle my case or will you send someone else?I will come to court to handle your case.
6. (If you have a DWI case and you blew into the Intoxilyzer) Have you tried a breath test case before, and if so, have you won?I have tried a breath test case before, and I have won.
7. If your blood was drawn: Have you ever tried a blood test case before, and if so, did you win?I have tried a blood test case before, and I have won.

* If you want more information on what “Board Certified” means, and you have internet access, visit www.tbls.org.