Questions to Ask A Criminal Lawyer Before Hiring Them

Facing criminal charges can be tough and can change your life. When you’re in this difficult situation, one of the most important things you’ll do is pick the right Brisbane criminal defence lawyer. A good lawyer can make a big difference in what happens to you. To make sure you make a smart choice, it’s important to ask the right questions before you hire a criminal lawyer. You do not want to hire a Brisbane criminal lawyer and then need to change lawyers because you made a poor decision. This can be very costly and can be harmful to your case. You want to make the right decision from the start. Remember, you only get one shot! In this article, we’ll talk about the important questions you should ask when you’re looking for a Brisbane criminal lawyer.

Client meeting

What Kind of Cases Do You Handle?

There are many types of criminal offences. You need a lawyer who specialises in the type of criminal offence you are charged with. They can help you better because they understand what you’re going through and can defend you well. You need to ask the lawyer you are looking at engaging about the criminal offences they have experience in and represent clients in.


Have You Worked on Cases Like Mine Before?

Experience matters a lot in the legal world. Ask the lawyer if they’ve dealt with cases similar to yours before and if they’ve been successful. Find out if they know the local court system and the judges because this can help them create a better defense strategy for you.


What’s Your Plan for My Case?

Ask the lawyer what they’re thinking about doing for your case. A good criminal defense lawyer should be able to explain their plan, taking into account your situation and what they think the challenges will be. This will help you understand how they plan to handle your case.


How Do You Charge And How Do I Pay?  Much Will This Cost?

It’s important to know how the lawyer will charge you and how you’ll have to pay. Some lawyers charge by the hour, while others have a fixed fee. Make sure you ask if there will be any extra costs, like barrister fees or fees for expert witnesses, which might come up during your case.


How Will You Keep Me Updated?

Good communication between you and your lawyer is important during your legal case. Ask the lawyer how they prefer to communicate and how often they’ll give you updates about your case. Knowing this will help you stay informed and be part of the decision-making process.


What Could Happen in My Case?

A criminal lawyer can never guarantee you an outcome. If they do, you should run, because they are lying to you. A good criminal lawyer can give you an idea of the potential outcomes for your case. Ask the lawyer about potential outcomes and the different legal options for your case. This will help you decide about your defence.


Will You Personally Be Handling My Case?

You may think this is a silly question, but it is possible the lawyer you first speak to at the firm may not be the lawyer representing you. Some law firms have a “front-man” or woman who gets clients in the door and you never see them again. You don’t want to be speaking to the salesperson who impresses you to learn they will not be doing anything on your case. You need to make sure the person you are speaking to is going to be the person representing you.


How Long Have You Been Working As A Criminal Lawyer?

Experience counts in criminal law, and it is only something which can be obtained over time. Experience enables criminal lawyers to give you advice about all stages of your case. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to advise you about all stages of the legal process. A lawyer with experience will anticipate the moves and strategies of the prosecution. This can build a strong defence strategy for your case.


You want to find out for how long the lawyer has been working as a criminal lawyer. You may also want to enquire in what capacities and what they have specialised in. For example, some lawyers have only worked in private practice, while others may have worked for government agencies, in particular the prosecution. Such lawyers may have an added edge over others who do not have this extra experience. Many lawyers l perform legal work other than criminal law. You want to enquire with the lawyer what they specialise in and what work they do.


How Will I Be Able To Contact You?

You are likely to have many questions for your lawyer during your case. If you have questions, you should be able to get a hold of your lawyer so they can answer them for you. You’ll want updates from your lawyer during your case about the progress of it and where things are at. You want to ask the potential lawyer how they will communicate with you (e.g. via telephone, email, SMS, video conferences etc.) and how you will communicate with them. Will you have their personal mobile number to call or text them? Or, will you have to phone their office during standard business hours in order to speak to them?


How much is this going to cost me?

Lawyers don’t like talking about money, it’s probably why many became lawyers and not accountants. You want to know how you will be charged, and how much your defence is likely to cost you.

First, let’s discuss how criminal lawyers will charge you. Criminal lawyers charge either by the hour (time costed), or a fixed fee to perform tasks. If the lawyer charges by the hour, they will have an hourly rate they charge at to perform work. One hour is broken up into 6 minute units, so there are 10 units in every hour to make up 60 minutes. 1 unit of 6 minutes is the minimum charged for work performed. As an example, if a lawyer has an hourly rate of $550.00, then 1 unit of 6 minutes will cost you $55.00. If the lawyer spends 2 minutes on a task they will charge you 1 unit (i.e. for 6 minutes), and if the time charged is between 7 and 12 minutes they will charge you 2 units (i.e. for 12 minutes).  If the lawyer charges you an hourly rate, then you need to find out if they require you to pay them a retainer before they will start working on your case.

If the lawyer does not charge you on a time costed basis, then they will charge you a fixed fee to perform tasks. If this is the method used by the lawyer, you need to know what the fee includes and does not include. You want to make sure there are no hidden costs. One of the main benefits of fixed fees is you know what things are going to cost you, and you can budget for them. If the lawyer you choose uses the fixed fee method of charging for their services you want to know if you need to pay up-front, or can it be paid in instalments.


Let’s now discuss what your defence is likely going to cost you. Having discussed the methods in which criminal lawyers charge clients, you will want to know how much your defence is likely to cost you. Answering this question is not always straightforward, as it can depend on:

  1. The offence you are charged with.
  2. The complexity of your case.
  3. If you go to trial or plead guilty.
  4. If you engage a barrister.
  5. If you need to engage any expert witnesses.
  6. If you need to pay for any witness expenses for any witnesses who will give evidence for you at your trial.


Despite the above complexities in determining exact fees, a seasoned criminal lawyer through their experience should be able to provide you ballpark estimates. If the lawyer is not open with you about what the total cost may be, then they may be trying to hide something from you. The last thing you want to do is pay a fortune to a lawyer to discover you can no longer engage them because you can’t afford their hidden costs.



Picking the right criminal defence lawyer is very important, because it can affect what happens to you. By asking these important questions, you can make a smart choice and be sure the lawyer you pick is the right fit for your needs. Remember, clear communication, relevant experience, and a solid legal plan are key things to look for when you’re choosing a criminal lawyer to protect your rights and help you out.


The Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group- We Are Your Best Defence

Being convicted of a criminal offence can destroy your life. If police charge you with a criminal offence, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with a criminal defence lawyer.  But, not any criminal lawyer. At the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group, we focus on crimes involving sex, drugs and, no, not rock and roll, but fraud.


Being upfront and open with clients is one of our strengths. Our lawyers are always here to answer your questions. There is never a silly question, and no matter how basic it is, our criminal lawyers are here to answer it. It is our job to ensure our clients know what is happening and ensure they understand everything. After all, it’s their life and the decisions made impact it.


You need the best Brisbane criminal lawyers if you want the best result. Contact the Criminal Lawyers Brisbane Group today for confidential expert advice. We represent clients throughout South-East Queensland. No matter where your criminal charge is, our crime lawyers can help you.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact us TODAY or fill out the form for a FREE chat

(07) 3153 6215