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6 Qualities to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

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Being accused of a crime and having to face criminal charges can be an intense and stressful process, and that process can take a very long time. Having to navigate the criminal justice system can be confusing and difficult, especially if you don’t have legal representation. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. 

But how do you know which criminal defense attorney is the right fit for your case? There are countless attorneys who will take your case, but what should you be looking for to ensure you’ve found the right lawyer? Today, we will discuss the qualities that are imperative to look for in a criminal defense lawyer so you can be assured you are getting the advice and representation you deserve. 

Attributes to Look For When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney


Knowledge of the subject matter at hand —your criminal case and your specific charges — is very important for you to feel secure about your future after the case. No matter how serious the charge, it is imperative that your attorney has in-depth knowledge of your type of case and be able to use that to their (and your) advantage in the courtroom.. 

A good criminal defense attorney will have had cases like yours and know the best defenses to consider for your circumstances, understand which witnesses can be beneficial to your case, and how to gather and present evidence that strengthens it..


What you are being charged with is between you, whom you decide to your lawyer and no one else (outside of anyone you choose to confide in). Being charged with a crime is a serious matter that can tarnish reputations, no matter if you are innocent or not. It is best to not discuss what is going on with friends and to only confide in close family or loved ones if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Your lawyer will tell you what is imperative to communicate during the court hearings and what you should keep to yourself. You should feel confident that your lawyer is adhering to attorney-client privilege, which is your right to privacy when it comes to your case. 


Experience is key when selecting a lawyer for your criminal case. It is one of an attorney’s greatest assets and it will help you make sure you are in good hands. It is crucial that your lawyer has the experience it takes to navigate your charges and prepare a solid defense, so take your time vetting them and ask them about their track record, what would be a good result based on the facts and evidence,, and ask them what defenses are available to you for your case. The right lawyer will be able to give you options, explain the circumstances, and make you feel like you are in good hands.

Ability to Negotiate

An attorney with strong negotiating skills can be a huge help for your case. You don’t want someone who will fold under pressure or not be able to stick up for you. Whether negotiating a plea deal or arguing for a lesser charge, your lawyer needs to be able to persuasively negotiate your case in front of the judge.


No matter how big your case is, your lawyer should be focused on you and give you the best representation they can. They should know all the details of your case, communicate with you readily about any developments, and make you feel like a priority. They should speak to any and all witnesses, look at the facts, and determine what is the right path to go down for your case. Perseverance and determination help win cases, so your lawyer should embody these attributes.


A defense attorney needs to be aggressive and stand up to prosecutors with resolution and gumption. You need someone who will stick up for you and be prepared for any hard-hitting questioning from the prosecution. With that aggressiveness comes knowledge and they should know all of your cases’ potential outcomes as well. Since the standard for a conviction in a criminal case is “beyond a reasonable doubt” you want your lawyer to fight for you against the State to help show that doubt. Passion and aggressiveness when useful and warranted are important for your case.

Get Quality Representation with Brackin & Johnson

It’s incredibly stressful to face criminal charges, and the pressure you feel about hiring the right lawyer can make it even worse. It’s tempting to rush the process just to get it over with, but doing so could be a huge mistake. Instead, you need a lawyer who understands what you’re going through and will give you the best legal services possible.

Brackin and Johnson can help. We understand the criminal justice process, how to work with each District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, city prosecutor, or judge handling your criminal case, and the possibilities prior to ever entering the courtroom. 

Our experience allows us to better inform our clients of what to expect prior to even entering the courtroom. We believe in integrity, justice, and honor. We know that going through the legal process is not easy and therefore aim to take as much off of your plate as possible. Contact us today, and let us fight for your future.

What is Contested Divorce in Alabama?

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Every divorce is different, and while no one can predict how exactly it will go, it’s important to know all of your options before you sign the papers. In the state of Alabama, the divorce rates are higher than that of the rest of the US. It is imperative to be knowledgeable about upcoming divorce proceedings so that you are prepared. 

Uncontested divorces are when both parties agree to property splitting, alimony, child support and custody (if children are involved.) An uncontested divorce is preferable, but unfortunately that is not always an option. In fact, many would say that all divorces are contested, until they’re not. This leads us to contested divorces, which means that the couple getting the divorce cannot agree on one or a number of the issues pertaining to finalizing the divorce. 

This article will delve into the specifics of a contested divorce in the state of Alabama. 

What is a Contested Divorce?

In Alabama, a contested divorce is when the parties cannot agree on the key parts of the divorce itself, such as property allocation, child support and custody, alimony and asset splitting. It is important to understand that filing for divorce is simply the starting point. A case can be settled at any time, even after trial.. If they cannot agree still, the case may be sent to mediation and then a trial in order to sort out all of the contested issues. There may be other hearings prior to a final trial. 

If the divorce is still being contested by two parties after attempts to resolve things amicably , then a trial before a judge will decide all of the contested issues for the couple. There are no jury trials in divorces in Alabama During this trial, both parties will need witnesses and evidence to help support their contested claims and explain why they should be awarded the money, property or custody. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney present to help you through mediation and trial is a huge step into getting what you need and having the fastest divorce possible, as attorneys know how to navigate any and all issues brought up by the other party and their attorneys. 

An important fact to remember is that contested divorces can last anywhere from weeks to months or even years if both parties are unable to come to an agreement. This can end up costing quite a bit of money in attorney fees and court fees. 

What if My Spouse Breaks the Court Ordered Rules?

After the judge orders certain judgments pertaining to the divorce, it is important you follow them as judgements are legally binding and you can get in trouble for disobeying the court and be found in Contempt. Being found in Contempt of Court means you will either be forced to carry out the original judgment that was avoided or you will be fined. One common issue is one party not paying child support after it is court ordered and that can even lead to jail time if the child support isn’t paid. 

Can You Modify the Divorce Ruling?

Yes. If your ex was ordered by the court to fulfill a specific item or duty on the contested list and they refuse to do it, (such as turn over property or pay child support) then you are able to take them back to court and to the judge that issued the order. The judge will either give them a fine, jail time or make sure the party carries out their order this time. 

What if my spouse has disappeared?

If your partner refuses to be found or leaves town, you will need to make your best efforts to locate them usually with the assistance of a process server or private investigator . If your partner still cannot be found, you can perfect service by publication. This means that the court will allow you to give notice to the unreachable party by way of publishing a public notice in a local circulating paper. The notice must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks.

After four weeks, the service is complete and the missing partner is now in default. The court will set a hearing and the divorce will move forward without the absent party. This whole process can take up to 4 months to complete. 

Get Quality Legal Representation with Brackin & Johnson

At Brackin & Johnson, we get the results you deserve when you need them most. With more than 40 years of experience, we can provide comprehensive care and representation tailored to your needs and unique situation. 

We will focus on resolving conflicts peacefully through negotiation or mediation, but are ready to fight for you if your case ends up going in front of a judge.

Contact us today for the best legal services in Baldwin County. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and create the best case for your interests.

Should I Have a Living Will?

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Life can be unpredictable, but what happens to you doesn’t need to be. A living will is not only for those getting older — making an end-of-life plan is essential at any age, as emergencies are rarely anticipated. It is especially necessary if you have loved ones who are dependent on you, as accidents can happen that could incapacitate you and you want to make sure the right people have the power over what happens to you. 

Health care choices when you are unable to make decisions on your own, and end-of-life autonomy are both extremely important to be assured of — a living will gives you that assurance. This article will go over why it is important to have a living will and how you can go about making one of your own. 

What is a Living Will?

A living will (also known as an advance healthcare directive) is a legal document that informs your family and doctors what you wish your end-of-life health care will be. A living will often names a medical power of attorney (that is a trusted individual of your choosing) to make any necessary medical decisions on your behalf. A living will also details what happens if you are put on life-sustaining medical equipment and what sort of treatment you desire in case of an emergency where you are not able to make decisions for yourself. This can pertain to life support, how you are revived, being tube fed, donating organs, and any surgery you may need. 

A living will is not a DNR (do-not-resuscitate) form, as a DNR only authorizes doctors to withhold life-saving medical treatment. It is also different from a last will and testament, as a living will does not allocate assets and property — it is only intended to detail what will happen with your medical care if you cannot make those choices for yourself. It is important to add a living will to any last will and testament for additional security in the case of incapacitation.

Why is a Living Will Important?

Communicates Your Wishes Even if You Are Unable

Being able to dictate your end-of-life treatment and medical care helps serve as your voice in case you are unable to speak. Medical professionals will have to make the choice for you if you do not have any power of attorney or end-of-life plan. Perhaps there are certain steps you wish them not to take, such as resuscitation or being on a ventilator, and that is your right when you have a living will. 

Keeps Distressed Family from Having to Choose

When a loved one is fighting for their life after an unseen emergency, it is an incredibly stressful and hard time for family. This stress can cause loved ones to fight and argue over your health care and what should happen to you next. You don’t want your lack of a living will to cause a rift in your family due to each person making their best guess as to your wishes. Having a verified legal document in place helps to eliminate any debate over what should happen to you. Without your guidance via a Living Will, your family may end up in court fighting over how to treat you.

Refuses Treatments You Do Not Authorize

A living will can outline what you are and are not willing to have done in terms of surgeries and other medical treatments. The decision is yours with a living will, and you can elect to have or not to have certain treatments and procedures as you see fit. 

What to Include in Your Living Will

There are a few items you will want included in your living will:

  • Directives outlining if you do or do not want life-prolonging procedures given or continued in the case you will not survive.
  • Outlines what treatments you authorize and which ones you do not (CPR, organ donation, surgeries, ventilation, etc.)
  • Your palliative care wishes (specialized medical care for those with severe illness or injury.)
  • Any faith-specific end-of-life wishes, in case your religion has its own set of rules for how to handle you after your death.

Make Your Voice Heard with Brackin & Johnson

An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you address legal matters that can affect your quality of life and health. You’ll need an expert to interpret complex Alabama laws and you’ll want the very best to help you plan for your loved ones. 

At Brackin & Johnson, our experienced Estate Planning attorneys can assist you or your loved ones with planning for long term care and ensuring medical needs are met should the time come when you or your family member can no longer care for oneself. 

Medical and Financial Planning are our specialty, and we will work with you to ensure that your future is laid out in writing. If you’re searching for a skilled attorney specializing in estate planning, living wills, and power of attorney, get in touch with us today to schedule your free initial consultation

Contact Brackin & Johnson Today!

We produce results by getting our clients what they are entitled to receive.

(251) 943-4040

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