Ask Defender Nava: Should I hire an attorney who mainly practices civil law for my criminal case?
Definitely not. Would you pay to get on a passenger airplane with a pilot who has only flown helicopters? Would you pay a foot doctor perform open heart surgery on you or a loved one? The same logic applies to criminal defense attorneys. Criminal law is an enormous area of law that requires a good criminal defense lawyer to be an master in that field. Some lawyers primarily practice civil areas of law like family law, personal injury law, employment law, immigration law etc. Those civil areas are very different that criminal law. Usually, the more areas of law that a lawyer practices the less they know about each area. Make sure you fully research your lawyer before hiring them for your criminal case. Ask them questions like: 1) How many criminal cases they currently have as opposed to civil cases? 2) How many criminal jury trials have they litigated? 3) How many felonies and misdemeanors have they handled in their career? When your freedom and life are on the line, you don't want a lawyer who is a "jack of all trades and a master of none."