How to choose a criminal lawyer?

Criminal lawyer

When a person is charged with a criminal offense, a long and complex legal process is initiated that could have serious consequences on the life of the accused. In such a situation, it’s vital to enlist the help of a legal expert who specializes in criminal law, in order to receive legal advice and ensure that your rights are respected. In this article, we explain the roles and responsibilities of criminal lawyers, their importance in ensuring fair justice, and the most important criteria to consider when choosing a criminal lawyer.

What’s a criminal lawyer?

A criminal lawyer is a member of the Quebec Bar who specializes in representing individuals, organizations and entities accused of committing a criminal offense. A criminal lawyer or defense attorney has in-depth knowledge of criminal law, and is responsible for defending his or her client’s rights throughout the criminal process.

The criminal lawyer handles a wide range of crimes and misdemeanors such as: 

  • Sex crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Dangerous or intoxicated driving 
  • Theft 
  • manslaughter
  • Drug possession
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud charges
  • Etc.

What is the role of a criminal lawyer?

Beyond courtroom advocacy, the criminal lawyer plays many roles in advancing his client’s interests before the criminal justice system. A criminal lawyer is first and foremost an advisor. As soon as a charge is laid against you, the criminal lawyer explains in a clear and simple manner the nature and seriousness of the case, as well as the potential consequences in the event of a guilty verdict.

The criminal lawyer also plays the role of negotiator, trying to reach agreements with the prosecutor to avoid a trial. Some cases can be settled out of court through various agreements. If going to court is unavoidable, the criminal lawyer will plead your case before the judge.

Why hire a criminal lawyer?

When you’re facing criminal charges, enlisting the help of a criminal lawyer offers many advantages: 

  • Defend your fundamental and constitutional rights, thanks to the lawyer’s legal expertise, which will ensure a fair legal process and trial, as well as respect for the presumption of innocence and your right to a criminal defense.
  • Analyze the issues involved in the charges in an impartial manner, and examine the evidence and incriminating factors in order to accurately assess the complexity of the case as soon as an arrest warrant is issued for the client.
  • Benefit from legal expertise in criminal law, as well as in-depth knowledge of judicial procedures and rules of evidence. The criminal lawyer will clearly explain the technical and complicated aspects of your case, and help you develop defense strategies adapted to the type of charge.
  • Prepare the defense if the case goes to criminal trial by gathering all the necessary evidence, interviewing witnesses and preparing closing arguments to present the legal case for you in court.
  • Reduce the consequences of charges and obtain reduced sentences in the event of conviction. The criminal lawyer will guide you towards the best strategies, can appeal the decision if necessary and guide you through the legal process.

Calling on a criminal lawyer offers you a better chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.

How much does a Criminal Lawyer cost?

A criminal lawyer’s fees vary according to factors such as the lawyer’s experience and reputation, the complexity of the case, the stakes involved in the charges and the length of the legal process. Criminal lawyers offer a variety of billing options: 

  • Hourly rates depend on the number of hours spent on your case.
  • The fixed price offers a global amount for all legal services provided for a case.
  • The ceiling price offers a maximum amount beyond which the lawyer no longer receives fees for services rendered.

In all cases, we advise you to discuss the rates proposed by your lawyer in advance, and to ask for a detailed estimate containing the fees and payment terms. If you are facing financial difficulties, you may wish to check your eligibility for legal aid in order to obtain financial assistance.

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6 factors to consider when choosing a criminal lawyer

Choosing the right criminal lawyer is a crucial step in ensuring an adequate and solid defense in a criminal case. To choose a competent lawyer who meets your needs, here are a few criteria to consider: 

  • The lawyer’s experience 
  • The lawyer’s expertise
  • Location 
  • Fees
  • Availability 
  • Trustworthiness

The lawyer’s experience

The lawyer’s experience is an important factor to consider when making your choice. When a lawyer has handled many cases similar to yours, he or she will be able to accompany you more adequately through the legal process, especially if the charges may affect your life in many ways. However, some young lawyers are also talented and can offer you quality services.

Criminal law expertise

There are various branches of law, and it’s important to select a law firm specializing in criminal law to represent you before the Court of Quebec in the event of criminal charges. This guarantees that you will benefit from specific knowledge in this area of law, and that you will be represented by a legal expert who masters the legislation and has the skills to win your case.

Geographical location

When choosing the best criminal lawyer, consider opting for a firm that is in the same geographical area as you. This proximity facilitates communication with your lawyer and reduces travel costs. What’s more, a lawyer who is already working in the area will be used to courts and judges in the same sector, which can help you with your case.

Legal fees

Always take the time to openly discuss with your lawyer the fees charged for legal services, as well as any additional costs to be expected for the case. It’s important to understand the details and terms of payment before entering into any agreement. You can also compare different offers before making your choice, to ensure that you are able to shoulder your financial responsibilities.


When enlisting the help of a criminal lawyer, it’s vital to ensure that he or she is available to handle your case. We advise you to check that your lawyer is not already overloaded with other cases, to ensure that he or she can allocate the necessary time and energy to your case. A lawyer’s availability is essential for proper representation and optimum results.

Communication and trust

It is essential to develop a relationship of mutual trust with your lawyer. This trust is the key to success, and enables honest and transparent sharing of information in order to develop appropriate legal strategies throughout the legal process.

On the one hand, the lawyer must disclose to his client the prognosis of the charges, the risks and the appropriate measures to be taken to reduce the consequences. On the other hand, the client must feel comfortable enough to communicate all relevant information, while being certain that his lawyer will respect confidentiality.

Find a criminal lawyer

A criminal record can have serious consequences on various aspects of your life. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of a criminal lawyer if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense. You’ll need an experienced lawyer who can offer you legal advice.

You can contact our law firm, which specializes in criminal and family law. Our legal experts will provide you with personalized service. Once a lawyer is assigned to your case, he or she will help you understand the issues and possible consequences of the charges, and suggest defense strategies. 

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