Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer
Voted One of the Best Defense Attorneys
In Pittsburgh and throughout Western Pennsylvania, you can find the experienced representation that will protect your freedom, finances, and future by calling the Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson. With more than 25 years of criminal defense experience, attorney Gary Gerson knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system—both at the state and federal level ̶ and he is deeply and passionately committed to ensuring that every one of his clients who has been accused of a crime receives the best and full protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution. He has a long record of having charges dropped or reduced and of obtaining acquittals at trial. In some cases, if you get him involved in the very earliest stages, he may even be able to prevent having charges filed at all.
Choosing a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer
Anyone charged with a crime needs reliable legal counsel, even if he or she is guilty. The justice system is not infallible, and sometimes people suffer unjust punishments, wrongful imprisonment, or unjustifiable penalties for their crimes. Defense lawyers exist to ensure accused individuals retain their legal rights under the Constitution and state laws. Finding the right criminal defense lawyer is crucial for anyone facing criminal charges. The right attorney can help lessen penalties, argue for lighter charges, or, in some cases, persuade judges to dismiss cases.
Pittsburgh is a booming metropolitan area that is subject to the same kinds of criminal activity as any other city. People who are facing criminal charges in Pittsburgh need legal representatives who have experience handling similar cases and who understand state laws surrounding criminal cases. It’s crucial that any person facing criminal charges carefully weigh his or her options when choosing the best defense attorney.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense
The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson is a full-service legal firm specializing in criminal defense throughout Pittsburgh. Our Pittsburgh criminal lawyers have more than 25 years of experience defending clients from all manner of criminal charges. Our firm has a reputation for personable, professional legal representation in all practice areas.
While we are confident in our abilities to handle any type of criminal defense case, we understand that Pittsburgh citizens want to be sure of their decision when they choose an attorney. Consider the following guide for tips and suggestions for finding the best defense lawyer. Hiring a reliable attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a criminal case. It can also be the difference between years in prison and more fitting, lighter punishments in some cases.
Finding the Right Attorney
Time is certainly a factor in any criminal defense case, but that doesn’t mean you need to accept your first offer for legal counsel. When an accused individual cannot secure legal representation, the court will appoint a public defender to represent the individual. Public defenders help ensure the protection of the accused individuals’ rights. They must provide the best legal representation possible. However, public defenders often juggle several cases at a time, so clients are sometimes lost in the shuffle and their legal representation may suffer.
Securing a private defense attorney is usually the safer option for anyone accused of a crime. While this is generally more expensive, a private criminal defense attorney will likely provide a better defense than the average public defender. If you decide to forego the public defender and seek your own legal counsel, there are a few things you should look for in potential candidates.
First, familiarize yourself with your options. Search for criminal defense lawyers in your area and start narrowing your options from there. The first thing you should look for is experience – both in time practicing and focus on the practice area that applies to your situation. For example, you may find a defense attorney with 30 years of experience specializing in DUI defense. If you are facing sexual assault charges, this attorney may have quite a bit of experience but specializes in another area of law. You will likely have greater success with an attorney who may not have been in practice as long but who specializes in sexual assault cases. Ideally, you should look for a criminal defense attorney with a robust history of success in multiple practice areas.
Finding an Attorney with the Right Experience
Once you have narrowed your choices down to a handful of criminal defense attorneys, talk to friends, relatives, and coworkers to see if they have had any experience dealing with those attorneys in the past. Word-of-mouth referrals are an excellent source of information. If someone you know has faced charges like your own in the past, ask about his or her experience working with the attorney. Have a list of questions ready when you meet with the attorneys on your list. This will help you can compare their answers and choose the lawyer who feels best to you. Consider asking the following questions of any potential lawyer:
- How long have you been practicing? It’s vital to ensure your attorney has the requisite experience for handling basic legal matters, such as filing documents with the court and meeting deadlines. A fledgling attorney is much more likely to make mistakes that could potentially botch a defense case.
- How long have you practiced this area of law? Again, it is crucial that your attorney is familiar with the type of charges in question. For example, if you are facing DUI charges, find a defense attorney with a strong track record of defending DUI cases. If you’re facing embezzlement or fraud charges, you will want a lawyer who specializes in white-collar crime.
- Who will be working on my case? Lawyers often work in teams and rely on extensive support staff. It’s crucial to know who will have a hand in your case’s outcome and that you feel comfortable with your attorneys and their staff members. Find out who will touch on any aspect of your case and what their responsibilities will be. You should feel confident in the abilities of everyone involved with your case.
- Can you offer references? Some attorneys will provide references in the form of past clients or other legal professionals who can attest to an attorney’s legal prowess. Investigate any referrals you receive to make an informed decision about your legal representation.
- How do you handle billing? Find out how your attorney bills and make sure you are comfortable with the fee structure. Carefully review any agreements the attorney asks you to sign before signing them to make sure you aren’t stuck with an attorney who is too expensive for your situation.
- Can I see your retainer agreement? Carefully read the retainer agreement so you understand the terms and conditions of your legal representation. Unfortunately, some lawyers will take advantage of unwary clients by tacking on excessive fees or overbilling for their time.
Use these questions as a template when interviewing potential defense attorneys. Ideally, you should narrow your choices down to two or three lawyers and then meet with each one to ask your questions. Compare their experience, billing structures, and history of past cases to make an informed decision about your legal counsel. Spend time reading reviews online to hear what past clients have to say about the attorneys.
Pay close attention to both the positive and negative reviews and draw your own conclusions. Remember, some attorneys may write glowing reviews for themselves to inflate their review scores, while some negative reviews may be exaggerations from difficult clients: clients who failed to recognize the futility of their situations or clients who had unreasonable expectations for their cases.
Internet reviews can be a valuable source of information, but it’s vital to take them with a grain of salt and look for common threads among the reviews. For example, if you notice many reviews for an attorney mention hidden fees, it could be the attorney isn’t trustworthy, but it might instead mean the firm has a complex billing structure.
Take advantage of free case evaluations. Many attorneys, including those at the Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson, offer potential new clients free consultations. If the attorneys on your list offer free case evaluations, call them to schedule meetings so you can get a better idea of how each attorney work. During your meetings with potential attorneys, note their responses to your questions and ask for copies of their retainer agreements to review on your own time. Compare your findings to choose the candidate for your situation.
Bar Association Status
Some lawyers who have engaged in unethical or illegal practices face serious repercussions, including disbarment or lawsuits for legal malpractice. Check with your state’s local bar association chapter to ensure your attorneys are ethical and trustworthy. Residents of the Pittsburgh area should confer with the Allegheny County Bar Association to vet potential lawyers. Check if the association has received complaints about a lawyer or if the lawyer’s license to practice has ever been compromised.
Choosing Your Attorney
If you’ve spent time researching the best criminal defense attorneys in the Pittsburgh area, then the Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson is likely to be on your list. Reach out to our team to schedule a consultation. We understand the delicate nature of most criminal defense cases, and we go to great lengths to protect every one of our clients’ constitutional rights during trial proceedings. We are confident in our ability to prove a wrongfully accused defendant’s innocence, argue for lesser charges when possible, and help reduce penalties to the extent allowable by law.
Our attorneys have more than 25 years of experience handling criminal defense cases in the Pittsburgh area. That experience covers a wide range of practice areas, including drug possession, sexual assault, fraud, white collar crime, internet crime, traffic violations, and more. We understand the many factors that come into play with a criminal case, such as circumstantial evidence, mental health issues, and the heat of passion. An inexperienced or unreliable defense attorney can often do more harm than good for an accused individual, so take the time to weigh your options.