Criminal litigation could be a major concern for Singaporeans. It can affect one’s career and reputation. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been implicated, it is important to find a competent lawyer who can provide effective legal representation.
The following are some ways on how to find an affordable criminal defense lawyer in Singapore:
- At your first court mention
When you find yourself at your first court mention, ask the clerk which lawyers are currently assigned for duty at the State Counsel Division. You should also check if he or she has any recommendations for lawyers who practice criminal law.
- At the State Counsel Division
When you find out which lawyer has been assigned to you, find out if he or she is willing to represent you. If not, find out which other lawyers at the State Counsel Division can take your case from him or her. You have to position yourself as a ‘favorable client’ so that they will consider taking on your case. This would mean being respectful, thankful, and polite towards them.
- Solicitors within a firm
You can also approach solicitors in a private law firm by going down this route: find a criminal defense solicitor who works in an established legal practice, ask him whether he knows of any lawyers in the firm who can take on your case and find out if he is willing to refer you to these lawyers. Alternatively, find out which lawyer within the firm would be able to represent you.
Many legal directories now have their websites. You can find a list of reputable defense lawyers online. Simply do an internet search and find one that suits your requirements. Don’t forget to find out if they can offer reduced rates for legal fees. The drawback with this route is that it might be hard to find defense lawyers who handle criminal cases.
- Referral services
Some referral services or agencies in Singapore match up people seeking legal representation with private councils who charge affordable fees. Some of these services even negotiate a fixed fee for a criminal case. You can find a list of these agencies online.
- Legal clinics
If you need legal representation at short notice, find out if any legal clinics near you offer representation in court. Some law firms even have walk-in legal clinics. The drawback with this approach is that it will be difficult to assess the expertise and experience of the lawyers who work at these clinics before handing your case over to them.
- Local lawyers
In general, local defense lawyers do not charge as much as foreign ones because they are based locally and with several clients. However, they might find it challenging to find time to dedicate to your case. So this may not be a viable option if you find yourself accused of a serious offense- one that requires the lawyer’s full attention.
Except for legal clinics and local lawyers, most other ways to find an affordable criminal defense lawyer in Singapore involve doing your research. Going through referrals is probably the best way as it allows you to find out which councils are reputable and who can offer rates that fit within your budget. Some even have flat fees for certain offenses, so do check them out online first.