Choosing a criminal defense lawyer can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow this guide to get a better understanding of what the first attorney – consultation will be like..
See also Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney.
Stop talking about your case to family, friends, and especially law enforcement.
Anything you say can and will be used against you. You are choosing a criminal defense lawyer to do the talking for you. If you are contacted by law enforcement, tell them, “You would be happy to speak to them with your attorney present”. The Constitution of the United States guarantees us protections, but those protections can be waived.
Bring any and all Documents you have that pertain to your case.
Be honest with your attorney
For the most part, the attorney-client privilege protects communications between you and your attorney. Be honest with your attorney and expect the same in return. Misleading your attorney will only hurt your case in the end.
The criminal justice system moves slowly. In Harris County there are approximately 75-100 cases on each courts daily docket. There are only three prosecutors per court. It takes time for the state to gather evidence. Understanding this will help make trips to the courthouse more bearable.
You are going to be honest with your attorney, and you should expect the same in return. A qualified criminal defense attorney should be able to explain both the positives and negatives of your case.
Be wary of “pitch” words
Words such as “guarantee”, “aggressive”, and “connections” are bait words. Without a doubt you want an attorney you can believe in and will fight for you cause. Giving a “guarantee” is unethical; Using “connections” to influence a case is illegal; and there are many “aggressive” attorneys that “aggressively” plead their client to a bad offer. In choosing a criminal defense lawyer make sure you feel comfortable. Make sure the lawyer can back up his or her sales pitch.
A Written Contract
Criminal Defense attorneys typically break down their fees into two parts: (1) Non-Trial and (2) Trial. The non-trial fee may cover court appearances, pre-trial discovery and motions, negotiations with the prosecutors, etc. If the DA is unwilling to dismiss the case, and you reject their offer, the case will be set for trial. At this point the trial fee kicks in. Special expenses, such as experts, will be extra. Your attorney should explain this to you in a written contract for you to sign. You don’t want surprises when choosing a criminal defense lawyer.
Most criminal attorneys offer free consultations.
The State will spend a considerable amount of money to try and convict you. It cost money to fight the power and resources of the government. There is no set price for your case. The attorneys experience, success, proven track record, and time are what you are paying for. Not to mention you are choosing a criminal defense lawyer to speak for you, to work for you, and to worry for you.
3200 Travis 4th Floor Houston, TX 77006