Someone charged in federal court for possession of drugs, or drug trafficking, or conspiracy is subject to considerable time in federal prison upon conviction. Federal mandatory minimum sentences are five or ten years, based on the type and quantity of drug possessed.
There are numerous attorneys who claim to handle federal drug cases. So how do you determine which attorneys are truly qualified to do the best job? Even though there is no single foolproof finding the perfect attorney for you, here are a few tried and true suggestions:
Look for a Certified Criminal Law Specialist.
Most states designate certain attorneys as specialists in a number of fields, including criminal law. Look for an attorney who has obtained the distinction of obtaining as a criminal law specialist is his state. For instance, to become a Certified Criminal Law Specialist in California, an attorney must possess extensive legal experience, including jury trial experience, must have received positive reviews by attorneys and judges in his locale, and must pass a full-day exam restricted to criminal law. Fewer than 400 attorneys out of the more than 150,000 attorneys in California hold this distinction. To find a certified criminal law specialist in your state, perform an internet search with the search keywords including: the name of the state and “state bar,” then look for legal specialists. While you’re on the bar website, look to see if the attorney has ever been disciplined by the state bar.
Find an attorney who is “AV rated” by martindale.com.
The Martindale-Hubbell website rates attorneys in the U.S. based upon their skill level as well as their ethical standards. Their ratings are based upon the opinions of judges and attorneys, who answer periodic surveys regarding the attorneys. Their highest rating is “AV,” which reflects the top 5% of attorneys nationwide. A “BV” rating is the next tier, and is considered in the legal community to be a very good rating. “CV” is the next tier, and is usually the highest rating an attorney with fewer than five years experience can receive. In excess of one-half of attorneys receive no rating from this website, and the absence of a rating can occur for many reasons.
Find an attorney who has a 10.0 rating on avvo.com.
Use of this website is growing rapidly. Attorneys are rated with a numerical rating of up to 10.0, their highest rating, and some attorneys are listed as “no concern.” Attorneys who’ve been disciplined by their state bar are highlighted with a warning. This site also allows the attorney’s clients to post reviews about the attorney, both favorable and unfavorable. Attorneys can post their resumes on this website. Read more about how Avvo.com rates attorneys.
Interview a number of attorneys and follow your instincts.
Ask questions about how he/she intends to manage your case. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Ask specifically how many drug cases he’s handled in federal court. Inquire about his background. Although not all of the best criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors, most are. A former prosecutor that previously prosecuted drug crimes definitely has an advantage.
The internet has made it a lot easier to narrow your search for a qualified federal drug defense attorney. Research your options because the attorney you decide on could have a huge affect on the result of your case. If you are able to locate an attorney who’s a criminal law specialist, AV rated by martindale.com, has a 10.0 rating by avvo.com, and who you’ve interviewed thoroughly with satisfaction, you’ve likely found the very best criminal defense attorney to defend your federal drug case.