What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Smith AR

If you are being charged with a crime or believe that you are under investigation, it is vital that you quickly seek competent legal representation in order to protect your legal rights.  If you browse the yellow pages, you will likely find many individuals who are listed as a criminal defense attorney in Fort Smith AR.  However, not all attorneys are equal.  When looking for a criminal defense attorney in Fort Smith AR, look for the following qualities:


Before hiring a lawyer, interview potential lawyers.  Ask about their experience in criminal law in Arkansas.  Also, ask about their experience with your particular charge.  There are many criminal laws.  Different lawyers may focus on capital charges, drug charges, white collar crimes, sex-related charges or juvenile charges.  Ensure that your prospective lawyer has experience with your particular charge.  Joseph Self has been a prosecuting attorney for 6 years of his 33-year career.  He understands how a prosecutor looks at a criminal file.

Strong Research Skills

A lot of legal work consists of conducting research into various legal issues.  If your lawyer can successfully convince the judge that law enforcement committed a procedural error, he or she may be able to get your case dismissed or incriminating evidence thrown out.  If you do go to trial, it is also important that your criminal defense lawyer be familiar with this process and how to present a strong defense.  In some cases, experts may be retained in order to establish a defense or to act as a counter-argument for information provided by the prosecutor.  Joseph Self has written many briefs before the Arkanasas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Relationship with Prosecutors

Many cases end with a plea agreement in which the defendant admits guilt in exchange for a lighter charge or sentence.  In order to bring about the best possible plea agreement, it is important that a criminal defense lawyer be familiar with the relevant criminal procedure laws and recent decisions to help support a particular plea agreement.  This information may help convince a prosecutor of making a particular agreement that is more favorable to you.  It is also important that your attorney has the respect of the prosecutor assigned to the case.  After 33 years of practice in Fort Smith and surrounding areas, Joseph Self has the reputation you want in your criminal defense attorney.