Just how would I find the best criminal defense lawyer to help me with a misdemeanor or felony case in Boise Idaho?

This weekend I tried an experiment. I "googled" the words "best Idaho criminal defense lawyer"to see what would happen. The result was not what I expected. Google relies on algorithms and formulas to decide which lawyers they will promote first in their Google listing. Relying on their method is like letting the BCS decide which is the best college football team in the nation. It may look good on paper, but it isn’t paper that has to stand up and make a noise like a lawyer if you get charged with a crime in Idaho.

The first page of the "google listing" was made up of paid advertisers ("Pick me, I’m really a great lawyer…"), directories ("Your Best Criminal Lawyer – just call our 800 number…") and "one file wonders." You know the type, he or she shows up to court fully prepared to plead you out at the first opportunity.

OK – maybe these lawyers were competent, and maybe they had some experience, but really? The best criminal defense lawyers in Idaho as chosen by a computer program or chosen for this first page spot because they paid for it? Is that any way to choose the person who will argue to keep you free?

Here are three tips to help you make the right decision when it comes to picking your best Idaho criminal defense lawyer.

First, I’ve said it before, experience trumps everything else. Experience trumps "ad words." Experience trumps "search engine optimization" and marketing geniuses with sharp pencils and witty slogans. Start your search by asking others – family, friends and lawyers – who they would call if they needed legal help.

Ask them this question: if you were going to hire a lawyer to "save your bacon," who would you choose?

Experienced trial lawyers are a specialized group. Your search is for reputation, experience, and proven skills. Without proven skills over time, a lawyer will not have much of a reputation.

Robert Frost said "A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the best lawyer." He was likely not entirely serious, and perhaps it is cynical to suggest that is the case. Still, if your case is headed for trial, you need the skills of an experienced criminal trial lawyer. You need an attorney who will fight at every step to preserve your innocence and freedom.

Second, choose an attorney who will dig through the evidence for that one single fact that will turn your case around and give you leverage – leverage to win or at least attain the best possible plea agreement. Leverage to argue for dismissal or to cause a jury to vote "not guilty!" Digging through discovery takes time and applying what you find to the law requires training and creativity. So choose a lawyer you can believe in and let that lawyer work your case. Let him or her investigate and interview witnesses, and give them the time to learn all about you and your case.

Third, pick your trial defense lawyer in person, not over the phone or based on a Google search. Meet your prospective lawyer, shake hands and tell your story. Every lawyer looks great on the Internet. I know; we are on the Internet. Blogs didn’t exist until Al Gore invented the Internet – well – you get my point! But the "web" is not real! That nice preacher from Nigeria is not really going to send you half his $1 million inheritance if you can just open the American bank account for him!

Your case is not on the Internet. Your case is a real drama, and it will be argued in the courts of this state or some other before a real judge and jury. It’s more than well chosen words on a screen. So choose your lawyer in "real time" in person, away from cropped photos and words chosen to get your "click."

And tell your lawyer the full story; worts and all. The best experience and training in the world cannot save you if your lawyer doesn’t know the truth. Tell all.

There you have it, tips to help you pick a warrior. Choose an experienced trial lawyer, let that lawyer investigate your case, and tell your complete story. Your case is for real. Real court rooms. Real judges. Real juries. And in the end, a real verdict. You will have to live with that verdict. So choose wisely and pick the best lawyer in person, not on the computer.

Need more help in making your choice? Give us a call to discuss your case. Then come on in and share your story. We may be able to help, but if we can’t, we will try to point you in the right direction.