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How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

How to Choose a Criminal Defense LawyerHow to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Criminal Case

Facing criminal charges in Philadelphia can be daunting. A conviction could mean serving jail time. A criminal record can affect your future in the long term, even if you are not convicted. It helps to have an experienced attorney fighting in your corner. However, not every criminal defense attorney is right for your case. Below, we take a look at what you should consider when choosing a criminal defense attorney to increase your chances of having a favorable outcome.

Call (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia today.

What to Look For in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Experience That Speaks Volumes

Look for an attorney with a proven track record of handling criminal cases. They should have substantial experience in criminal law, including trials, negotiations, and appeals. An attorney familiar with the local legal system, judges, prosecutors, and court procedures can provide valuable insights and connections that may benefit your case.

Specialized Knowledge for Your Specific Case

Some attorneys specialize in certain types of criminal cases, such as DUI, drug offenses, white-collar crimes, or violent crimes. Choose an attorney with expertise in the type of charges you are facing. Your attorney should be well-versed in the laws and legal precedents related to your case.

A Record of Success

Research the attorney's past case outcomes, especially for cases similar to yours. A high success rate indicates their ability to secure favorable results for their clients. Assess their ability to secure acquittals or negotiate reduced charges and favorable plea bargains for their clients. An attorney's reputation among other legal professionals can be indicative of their competence and credibility.

Client Testimonials That Inspire Confidence

Client testimonials and reviews can provide valuable insights into an attorney's communication, dedication, and client satisfaction. Look for feedback from individuals who have faced similar legal issues. Consider both online reviews and personal referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have had positive experiences with the attorney.

Communication That Bridges Gaps

A good attorney should be an effective communicator who can explain legal complexities in a way you can understand. They should also be responsive to your questions and concerns. Choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and trust. A strong attorney-client relationship is essential for building a successful defense strategy.

Transparent and Fair Legal Fees and Costs

Discuss the attorney's fee structure and any potential additional costs upfront. Make sure you understand how and when you'll be billed. While cost shouldn't be the sole factor, it's essential to choose an attorney whose fees align with your budget and the level of service you need.

Dedicated Availability

Ensure the attorney has the time and resources to dedicate to your case. Overloaded attorneys may not be able to provide your case with the attention it deserves.

Credentials That Reassure

Verify their professional credentials, including their bar association membership and any relevant certifications or awards.

Strategic Legal Planning

Discuss the attorney's proposed legal strategy for your case. They should be able to outline their approach and potential outcomes.

Trusting Your Instincts

Trust your instincts. If you feel comfortable and confident in an attorney's abilities, it can go a long way in ensuring a positive working relationship.

Written Reviews

  • Excellent Work
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    “I dealt with Mike van der Veen and Dan Devlin. My issue was squashed quickly and efficiently. One single quick in and out visit to the office… They understood my issue and offered quick advice where I retained them. I was given a specific time frame and that was met by the team. Payments were easy and painless. Excellent work team!”

    - Vernon Kalugdan
  • I will definitely recommend them without a doubt.
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    All the associates and lawyers are great. They keep you updated at all times. They follow up with you via calls and emails. They are honest and look out for your best interest. Thank you for fighting and guiding me through the process. I will definitely recommend them without a doubt.

    - Paula Jimenez
  • He did an outstanding job on my case.
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    Micheal van der Veen was my attorney and he did an outstanding job on my case picked up anytime I called. He really listens and cares about your situation no matter how big or small and also makes you feel right at home when your in his office. He doesn’t intimidate you like other attorneys I highly recommend him if your looking for justice!!

    - Matt Swisher
  • They did everything in their power to help me.
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    First time dealing with Michael T. Van Der Veen’s office and I am happy with my results. They did everything in their power to help me. Thanks!!!

    - Salvatore Galarza

Red Flags to Look Out for When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Lack of Experience

If the attorney or law firm has a limited track record or insufficient experience in handling criminal cases, it can be a significant red flag. van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim have a long-standing history of successfully handling criminal defense cases, with experienced attorneys well-versed in various areas of criminal law.

Unrealistic Promises

An attorney who makes unrealistic guarantees about the outcome of your case is a red flag. Criminal cases can be unpredictable, and no attorney can promise a specific result. Our law firm is committed to providing realistic expectations and offering a clear understanding of possible outcomes based on their expertise.

Lack of Transparency

If the attorney is not clear about their fee structure, the legal process, or your case's progress, it's a significant red flag. Hidden fees and lack of communication can be problematic. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we’re committed to maintaining transparent communication regarding fees and keeping clients informed about the progress of their cases.

Poor Client Reviews

Negative reviews or complaints from previous clients should be taken seriously. They may indicate issues with communication, professionalism, or case outcomes. Our team has a strong reputation for client satisfaction, with positive testimonials and reviews attesting to their professionalism and results.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

If the attorney or their staff employs high-pressure sales tactics to persuade you to hire them, it's a warning sign. Ethical attorneys allow clients to make informed decisions without feeling coerced. Van der Veen, Harthshorn and Levin focus on providing clients with information and allowing them to make decisions without undue pressure.

Lack of Credentials

An attorney without proper legal credentials or who lacks membership in the relevant bar association is a significant red flag. Our team maintains professional credentials and adheres to ethical standards, ensuring that clients are represented by qualified legal professionals.


If the attorney or their staff are consistently unresponsive to your calls or emails, it can indicate a lack of dedication to your case. Our law firm values open and responsive communication to address clients' concerns promptly.

Overloading Caseload

An attorney with an excessively overloaded caseload may not have the time and resources to provide your case with the attention it requires. We strive to ensure that our attorneys have manageable caseloads to effectively focus on each client's needs.

Unwillingness to Discuss Strategy

An attorney who refuses to discuss their legal strategy, potential outcomes, or case details is a red flag. Clients should be informed and involved in their defense. We encourage open discussions about legal strategies and potential outcomes, empowering clients to make informed decisions.

Ethical Violations

Any evidence of ethical misconduct or disciplinary action against the attorney is a critical red flag. Our team maintains a strong commitment to ethical practices and upholds the highest professional standards.

  • Acquittal
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
  • Charges Dropped
    Criminal Defense
  • Pardon Granted
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
  • Not Guilty
    Criminal Defense
View All Case Results

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to contact our law firm. Our free initial consultation is a great opportunity to have your case evaluated by experienced criminal defense attorneys in Philadelphia. Learn about your rights and options and how we can help secure a favorable outcome for you. When the weight of the law feels overwhelming, lean on van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim to lift the burden. Let our skilled team be your advocate, your voice, and your strength in the courtroom. Reach out today—let's pave the path to your legal victory together.

If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with a crime, call us at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation

Notable Case Results

Always Pursing the Best Possible Outcome

Assault Injury

$1 Million

Tractor-Trailer Accident

$10 Million

Bicycle Accident

$4.8 Million

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In the Media

Throughout the years, our firm and our individual attorneys have been recognized in both local and national media for our extensive legal knowledge, experience, and record of success. Our attorneys frequently appear in the media to provide insights and information on various legal matters, including high-profile cases.

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Choosing the Right Firm Can Make All the Difference

  • Unrivaled Record of SuccessWe have won tens of millions of dollars for injured victims, and have achieved countless "not guilty" verdicts for clients faced with criminal charges.
  • No Challenge too BigOur firm has handled some of the biggest cases in country, including representing the President of the United States.
  • Personalized RepresentationWe understand that every case is unique. Therefore, we tailor our approach based on the facts of the case and the needs of our client.
  • Uncompromising PassionOur competitive nature is one of our strongest qualities. You can be confident that no other firm will outwork our team.
  • Holistic ApproachNot only do we want to excel legally for the client, but we also want to make sure we are strengthening their mind, body and spirt.
  • Supporting the CommunityOur team engages in many community events and regularly donates time and resources to many charitable organizations in Philadelphia.

Talk to Our Experienced Team

Home to Philadelphia’s most accomplished attorneys, van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim pairs diverse practice experience with a passion-driven, comprehensive law practice—all for the client’s benefit.

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