Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney was last modified: March 24th, 2016 by Howard Iken
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Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

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Ayo and Iken Florida Attorneys and Lawyers

Facing criminal charges is difficult enough, yet finding the right attorney can present an even greater challenge.  If you have been arrested, chances are you are desperately trying to figure out what to do next.  When this happens, sometimes people hire the first lawyer that comes around.  However, just because an attorney promises to get you results does not always mean that they are competent to take your case.  Since criminal cases in Florida are often complex, it takes an attorney who has the skills and experience necessary to effectively fight for your rights.  With this in mind, consider asking the following questions when looking to hire an attorney:

Legal Experience


During your initial consultation, consider asking:

  • florida-criminal-defenseHow many experienced attorneys do you have?
  • How long have you been practicing criminal law?
  • Have you handled cases like mine before?
  • How often do you appear at the courthouse where my case will be heard?
  • What is your relationship like with the prosecutor’s office?
  • Have you been in front of the judge before who will be hearing my case?
  • Do you often negotiate plea bargains with the prosecutor?
  • How familiar, given your experience, are you with the charges I am facing?


Case Assessment


Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, you need an attorney who will help you explore all of your legal options.  Make sure to ask:

  • What are the scope of my legal options?
  • What potential issues do you see in my case?
  • What will happen if I plead guilty?
  • Should I plead guilty?
  • Do you think my case should go to trial?
  • What facts hurt and help my case?
  • What defense strategies do you recommend?

Case Management


When hiring an attorney, you want one that isn’t spread so thin that they are incapable of giving your case the time and attention it deserves.  Some relevant questions to pose in this regard are:

  • Do you have enough time to represent me?
  • How many attorneys will be working on my case?
  • Who else will be working on my case?  Can I meet them?
  • When I contact you, how quickly should I expect a reply?
  • With whom will I deal with the most at your office?
  • Who will likely be representing me in court?  Will that responsibility be yours or someone else’s?
  • How do you prefer to be contacted?
  • If I have questions, can I contact you directly?
  • What are your typical working hours?

Legal Fees


While it is never recommended to choose an attorney based solely on fees, it is important to find out what the attorney charges and the type of billing method that they use.  Consider asking:

  • Do you charge a flat fee or do you work by the hour?
  • If you charge a flat fee, how much is it and what does it include?
  • If you charge an hourly rate, how much is it?
  • Do you charge a retainer fee and if so, how much?
  • What other expenses should I expect to have to pay?

When it Comes Time to Choose a Lawyer


After you have taken the time to interview several lawyers, it is time to ultimately choose one to represent you.  Here are some key questions to consider before finalizing your decision:

  • Which attorney has the experience I require to effectively address the charges that I am currently facing?
  • Which attorney made me feel the most comfortable?
  • Which attorney offered the best advice?
  • Whose legal fees seemed the most reasonable and fair priced?
  • In which attorney am I the most confident?


Now is the time to sit down with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss “reality.” Your attorney should not be afraid of discussing money, potential for jail time, realistic chances of getting the case dismissed, and reasonable altermatives.  For additional information on our comprehensive criminal defense services, call the Tampa law firm of Ayo and Iken now to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation at 1-800-469-3486 or feel free to email us.  We will do what it takes to fight for your rights and protect your interests, no matter what.  We look forward to providing you with top-tier legal representation.

Best attorney I ever met

My business and personal life suffered during the down economy. I was forced to consider business and personal bankruptcy, the loss of my business and the loss of my home. I met with Mr. Ellzey and was surprised he was not mostly interested in taking money. He took the time to listen to my problems and asked a lot of questions about my and my business and my family. After he got the big picture of not only the facts but also of my values and priorities, he suggested to take some action on some things, to wait on other things, and to make good choices as we worked a plan. I worked with Mr. Ellzey over a few years to get out from under a lot of business debt, to keep our kids in school, and to save our home after we thought we were going to lose it. I do not believe sometimes how well things turned out when it all seemed so hopeless before Mr. Ellzey helped us. Above all, he was fair with me, never promised what he could not do, and delivered more than he ever led me to believe he could do.


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An Excellent Attorney – I highly recommend Ms. Phillips and her firm, Ayo and Iken as she and they provided me excellent legal services. Their combined expertise and experience laid the foundation for sound footing in the courtroom resulting in an exceptionally good outcome. I have found Ms. Phillips and her firm to be exceptionally ethical and accountable as they treated me with respect, kindness and compassion throughout the course of our case. I add that my questions and concerns were addressed and resolved in a timely manner (which I greatly appreciated) and that everyone I encountered within the Group was proficient in their respective role.

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