Gregg W. Schuder
Attorney at Law
Criminal Law - Family Law
North Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall Counties

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Law QA Question (12/7/10): What is a good way to find a criminal attorney who specializes in domestic violence in Georgia? Question Detail: How do I look for a good criminal attorney that specializes in domestic violence? I need to make sure that my case goes well. I was recently arrested in Georgia; it is my first offense.

Gregg's Answer: A personal reference from someone you know and trust and who has used a particular domestic violence attorney is the most reliable. If you do not know anyone who has had a domestic violence case or are not comfortable asking friends who they might know who has used a domestic violence attorney, the next step is probably to go to the “yellow pages”(or red pages or whatever book you have access to) or to the internet.  From my personal experience the “yellow pages” directories (the books, that is) have lost a lot of credibility since the internet has become so heavily used for listings.  But the “yellow page” books are divided into practice categories and you could look under your book’s “attorney – domestic violence” section and take a look. If there is a good selection, that is, ten or more, have at it. Just remember that all the domestic violence attorney listings are paid for by the domestic violence attorney and the bigger the listing, the more the attorney has paid the directory. This is where your budget really comes into play.  As a general rule, the bigger the attorney’s ad, the more that attorney must charge you to pay the directory for the ad.  But you might also feel that the domestic violence attorney who has the bigger ad gets a higher volume of cases and has more experience, or does a volume business and charges less as a result.  Which way you feel on this comes down to your own judgment about such things.  If you go to the internet, you will find domestic violence attorney referral sites that assign some kind of rating to domestic violence attorneys. There are no domestic violence referral sites known to me personally that I would trust.  All those that I am familiar with either require payment from attorneys or have a rather weak system for measuring attorneys.  You are left with search engine listings (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others). You can search for, for example, “domestic violence attorney Alpharetta Georgia” or “domestic violence attorney Fulton County Georgia” inserting the city or county where your case was charged (more on geography below).  You should know that that the search engine listings are also more or less paid for by domestic violence attorneys.  That is, the more the domestic violence attorney pays, the more likely that attorney is to be placed at the top of the list that the search engine shows you.  But as with the “yellow pages,” this is your call. Most domestic violence attorneys will talk to you briefly by telephone for free.  Some will meet with you in person for free, while some charge their normal hourly rate or a reduced rate for an in-person “first consultation.”  It is very important that you feel comfortable with the domestic violence attorney you finally pick. If you don’t feel you could trust them to give you straightforward advice then you are wasting your money.  It is also important to know, before you talk to a domestic violence attorney, exactly what court your case will be brought in. That is, is your case in a city court or a county court? And if it is in a county court, is your case in State Court or Superior Court?  In Georgia, State courts handle misdemeanors and Superior Courts handle felonies.  An attorney will charge you more for a felony than a misdemeanor. Another important factor is simple geography. In general a domestic violence attorney who has an office in or near the city or county where your case will be brought is a better choice than one who has an office 100 miles away. The local domestic violence attorney will be more likely to be familiar with the prosecutors and judges in that jurisdiction and any local court rules that may be unusual.  I hope this has been helpful to you.  Good luck with your domestic violence case.

Contact Gregg Schuder at (404) 630-1715 for help with your criminal law (dui, minor in possession, domestic violence, theft, shoplifting, etc.) or family law (divorce, child custody, child support, etc.) issues.

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Gregg W. Schuder Attorney at Law
3780 Mansell Road, Suite 450
Alpharetta, Georgia 30022
(404) 630-1715