How do you choose a lawyer?


M. Todd Bayliss
Assuming you've never had need of a lawyer before, but have found yourself involved in a ccw incident. What would you do? Close your eyes and pick one at random from the yellow pages?

The first thing I would do is find out which lawyer the local policemen use. Call local range and Massod .
Does the NRA have a legal assistance department for its members caught in such a situation? Try some research before hand and keep the finalist(s)' card with you at all times. Maybe the local police officer union could help out as well.
Lawyers that are former prosecutors, judges, or even police officers are a good start to narrowing down your search. These folks usually know how to "play the game" and how to get charges against their clients reduced or even dropped altogether, either because they have the professional relationships, or they are simply able to persuade the prosecutor that you're not a criminal.

Another thing to look for in selecting an attorney is "affirmative defense cases." A lot of lawyers are not experienced or prepared to take on a case that involves an affirmative defense, such as self-defense. An affirmative defense is where you admit to your actions (i.e. shooting someone), but must prove to a jury that your actions were not criminal (i.e., because he was going to shoot you).

Stay away from high profile criminal lawyers--prosecutors may seize the opportunity to "take them on" in an effort to build a reputation of being a crime-fighter, possibly to show they're not afraid so they can run for other public offices. Also, using a high profile criminal lawyer may impact your reputation among your friends, family, colleagues, as well as the general public (i.e., only a guilty criminal would hire THAT lawyer).
It's good that this issue is considered now (early, before such ccw incident), and all the more reason to get referrals for a good attorney.
Ok, so I'm looking for referrals on a good attorney in Alabama. Should I just ask the chick who does our family wills? I don't think she does criminal cases, but I guess she might know somebody.

I would look up Criminal Law first and then get one that is closer to where you live. also that helps. and go with you're instinct i am never wrong.

Oh Yes something i forgot to added cover all you're bases. also make sure you have a copy of everthing. in writing also.
Maybe ask some other gunners you hang out with, for referral. Or a state-certified instructor, or NRA instructor perhaps. Ask your local NRA branch. Here in California, there's the CRPA and puts out a newsletter regularly and some firearms attorneys contribute articles; they'd be attorneys to check out.
Ask several different sources, such as NRA, local gun ranges and even other lawyers. Get a list of names, and then do some public records research on what cases they've handled and what the result was. Shorten your list down to the ones who can consistently deliver the same result. Get some free consultations, and then go from there. Being able to communicate effectively with your lawyer is important, but don't base everything on how much "plain English" they speak, or how gun-friendly they seem. A good lawyer is good at keeping you out of trouble, not necessarily at sharing your beliefs. Your attorney's sympathy doesn't count for a hill of beans if you're sitting in jail.

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