It may seem surprising at first- but there are a fair number of defendants in criminal cases who don't actually hire the lawyers that represent them- rather their family members do. It makes sense if you think through the logistics. An individual who has just been taken into custody in Maryland is unlikely to have any type of phone privileges, and most individuals use the proverbial “one phone call” to contact a friend or a family member to arrange bail.
In some instances those incarcerated start the process of vicariously hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney by asking a trusted friend or relative.
It's a big ask of someone, and an individual requested to locate an experienced, seasoned, worthy and able lawyer for an incarcerated loved one is perfectly justified in taking that responsibility seriously. The incarcerated individual has chosen the person given the responsibility of seeking out dedicated, experienced lawyer to defend that individual’s freedom for a reason.
Without question, that incarcerated person clearly trusts the judgment of person asked to locate and hire a criminal defense attorney.
A very common method that I see used by someone facing charges, who is incarcerated, and unable to interview lawyers on their own is to ask a trusted friend or family member to call around to get “quotes” from various Maryland criminal defense attorneys. I think this is an absolutely worthwhile endeavor. I have standard advice that I offer to anyone trying to help out a loved one facing criminal charges and facing compromised freedom.
Some documents associated with the initiation of a criminal case are vital in allowing attorney to understand the nature of the charges being brought, and perhaps more importantly, the evidence that the state is likely to possess. The most common of these documents are application for statement of charges, or a statement of probable cause. I would suggest that during your initial phone call with potential criminal defense counsel, you have that document ready, or indeed share it with the potential lawyer ahead of time, so that that individual you are interviewing can give you the best and most informed opinion about the case.
It also certainly helps to have:
- the specifics of the case and individual about whom you inquire
- if they are facing other charges
- are on probation, or
- have a lengthy criminal background
All are important considerations. Other factors often can assist a potential attorney in getting legal service to the individual requiring those services in the quickest method possible. Knowing:
- the jurisdiction where charges are pending
- the precise number of charges, and
- any potential court dates
The are likewise key pieces of information that any reviewing attorney would need.