Getting charged with a criminal offense is a serious issue and can leave you shattered. When you are charged, immediate help from an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a difference. An experienced Harris County criminal defense attorney will explain your rights during the process and try to find a middle ground. The panic is understandable when one is charged with any kind of criminal offense. However, hiring any random attorney doesn’t help the case. In fact, it might make matters worse. Hiring a criminal defense attorney who can take your case and get the better out of it is important. Hiring an attorney and quick is the need of the hour in such a situation. In case you or a loved one is charged with a serious criminal offense, here are some tips that will help you hire the best in the business for your case.
What is the need of a criminal defense attorney?
Being charged with a crime is a grievous matter irrespective of the nature of the crime you are charged with. There are several consequences ranging from severe penalties, jail time, getting a criminal record, to even losing future job prospects and spoiling relationships. Though there are certain legal hassles that can be handled alone, criminal charges are not one of them. The laws around it are complicated and need absolute expertise. A qualified criminal defense attorney from Harris County is equipped with the knowledge required to reduce your charges or even dismiss the case. The attorney can help protect your rights and get the best possible outcome.
How to hire the best attorney for your case?
You can find a lawyer by several means like a referral from friends and family or from online research. When it comes to finding the best possible attorney for your criminal case, you need to start asking questions. The right questions will help you decide the best lawyer for your case. Here are some areas you can question the lawyer to know more and reach an informed decision.
Background & Experience
Knowing about the background and experience of the lawyer who might take your case is the most important thing. If a lawyer has prior experience in handling a case similar to yours, there is a better chance in the court of law. Some questions that you can ask the lawyer about background and experience are:
- Which law school did you attend? When did you graduate?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Have you experienced a case like mine earlier?
- How are your relations with the prosecutor’s office?
- Are you associated with any bar associations or any other professional organization? If yes, which ones?
Consider what the lawyer answers to these questions and you are all set to find a lawyer suitable for your case. You need a lawyer who has represented clients with cases similar to yours. For instance, if you are charged with arson, there is no point in hiring a lawyer who primarily focuses on DUI.
Getting charged with criminal offense can send anyone into a state of sheer panic. In such a time, all that support and assessment is welcomed. In such a situation, one of the major tasks of the lawyer is to provide an honest assessment of what’s about to come. Knowing what are the options you have regarding the criminal charges helps in planning ahead. Some questions that you can ask your lawyer to assess the case situation are:
- What are the legal options I have?
- What would you recommend out of guilty plea, plea agreement, and trial?
- What are the potential problems with my case?
- What do I prepare myself for in the courtroom?
These are simple questions which will bring out your lawyer’s ability to foresee your case. A legal battle is always about anticipating the next event and acting accordingly. An experienced Harris County criminal defense attorney can let you know the situation that might come ahead. Consider this factor carefully before choosing a lawyer to represent you.
Legal Case Management or LCM is one of the key areas to ask your lawyer about. It generally refers to the schedule of various proceedings involved in a case before the court. Each court proceeding has a stipulated time frame within which it has to be completed. Once you are in talks with the lawyer, it is better to clear out the doubts regarding the case management scenario. It is as important to know the behind the scenes of your court case as knowing the front-end parts. You can ask questions like:
- Are you representing me or there is someone else from the firm?
- If there is anyone else working on my case, can I meet them?
- How do I contact you or your firm?
- How quick should I expect a reply from your firm?
- How do I call you in case I have questions?
These questions will make matters clear and you can know the lawyer representing you clearly. Knowing the lawyer well will help in making a bond that ensures transparency. Look for experienced criminal defense attorney in Harris County to understand the case management completely. With experience, most attorneys understand the importance of having a bond with the client. A calm and understanding demeanor helps the case largely.
Once everything is done, comes the most important part of any conversation – fees. Most criminal defense attorneys charge an hourly rate. You can ask for a flat fee also. The fact that the legal fees are highly competitive also helps the point that you can ask as many lawyers you can. There are several factors that dictate an attorney’s fees. Reputation, expertise, association and affiliation are some factors that influence the fees of an attorney. You can straight up ask questions like:
- Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat fee?
- What do you charge for an hourly rate? Is there a retainer fee to be paid? How do we work around it?
- If you charge flat fees, what is it? What is included and excluded in the fees? Is it refundable? Does the payment need to be upfront?
- What are the other expenses I might need to bear? Can you provide an estimate of the same?
Most lawyers are open to the fees discussion. You can also ask if the fees are negotiable or not. In short, you can be as open as possible while asking about the legal fees. There is absolutely no shame in it. Shopping around helps when it comes to legal fees. Look for various options before finalizing on one.
How to finalize the lawyer to represent you?
Now that you know what questions you can ask your potential legal representatives, you can filter out the best one for your case. You can meet as many lawyers as you want and question them. However, time is not really your friend when a criminal charge is considered. Therefore, you should try to act fast. In case you are looking for some more evidence of the skills of the lawyer you are thinking is best for you, you can ask for testimonials. Go ahead and ask former clients about the attorney. In addition, you can also ask family and friends with considerable legal outlook about a particular attorney. There are numerous options when you are looking for a Harris County criminal defense attorney, but you should go for the one with better credentials and experience in the courtroom. The relationship of the lawyer and the presiding judge also matters a lot. Consider all the factors you have gathered and chosen a lawyer to represent you in the court wisely.