Arrests happen every day all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Sometimes the arrests are for small crimes, sometimes for major ones.
Once an arrest has been made, the government will decide whether the arrestee will be charged and prosecuted or allowed to go free.
Throughout the process that follows, the police and prosecution will work together to serve the interests of the state.
But who is serving your interests?
Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Choosing a specialized attorney who looks out for you should be your number one priority following an arrest.
You’ll want to find an experienced legal representative who understands the laws of the state of Texas. You’ll also want someone familiar with the Dallas county court systems.
After all, it is your reputation and freedom that are at stake.
You’ll want to find the best attorney for the job.
Look for a Lawyer That Knows the Lay of the Land
If you’ve been arrested and need to hire an attorney, look for one who knows the locals.
Judges and prosecutors are all different. Each one has their own quirks and habits. Some district attorneys may offer plea bargains. Some judges may have strict rules about appearance and document filings.
A criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the court in which you’ll appear will know how things traditionally work there.
It’s a good idea to ask the attorney you are considering how long they have practiced in the area and how often they’ve had cases in the court where you’ll be appearing.
Don’t Pick a Rookie
For an action to be criminal, it needs to meet a certain set of factual criteria. The prosecution and defense of a specific crime are based on whether or not that criterion is met.
Not every defense attorney is knowledgeable about every crime. Many attorneys practice in distinct areas of law.
An attorney that has expertise in drug defense may have little or no experience with crimes such as embezzlement.
If you’ve been charged with a felony in Dallas County, you don’t want to hire an attorney who only handles misdemeanors. Defending someone for crimes involving violence or domestic abuse takes a much different skill set than handling a DUI or theft charge.
Before hiring an attorney, ask whether they’ve handled your type of case before. You should also ask how many similar cases they have handled.
Do a Background Check
Every state licenses and registers the attorneys who are permitted to practice law within its jurisdiction. You can check the status of an attorney before you hire him by contacting your state’s attorney licensing agency. In the state of Texas, attorneys are licensed by the Board of Law Examiners.
To find out the status of an attorney in Texas, you can contact the State Bar of Texas on their website, www.texasbar.com.
When checking on a prospective attorney, confirm that they are licensed and in good standing. You should also ask if they have had any disciplinary complaints filed against them.
Get the Details
Before you select someone to represent you, you should find out exactly who will be representing you. Some attorneys have large staffs and may plan to send another lawyer with you to court. Sending another attorney from the firm to represent you may not be a problem, but it’s something you’ll want to know about beforehand.
If you’ve interviewed an attorney and are really comfortable talking to that person and don’t want to work with someone else, then you need to make sure you’re not going to be handed off to someone else.
When asking about who will be on your team, it is also a good idea to make sure you are comfortable working with your attorney’s DFW support staff. You may be asked to answer questions or discuss your case with someone else from your lawyer’s office from time to time.
Knowing who you’ll be working in advance will help you develop a good working relationship with your entire defense team.
Here’s a quick list of questions you can ask to help you get the answers you need to choose the best attorney to represent you when you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime:
- How long have you been a criminal defense attorney and how many cases of my type have you handled?
- Do you consider yourself a specialist in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex? Have you done any extra training to handle this type of case?
- Are you familiar with the court where I’ll be appearing? What do you know about this judge and prosecutor?
- How many people will be working on my case? Will I be able to speak to you directly if I have a question?
- What are the chances that this matter will go to trial? Will I have to go before a jury? How many jury trials have you handled?
- How will I be billed for your services? Do you charge fees for document copying and phone calls? Am I billed for the time your staff spends on my case? Is there any extra charge if we go to trial?
- What happens if we disagree about how my case should be handled? What if you think I should take a plea and I don’t want to?
- What is the worst case scenario for my case? Is there anything I can do now to improve my chances of being found innocent or receiving a more lenient sentence?
Take the Time You Need
You may feel like you are out of time if you’ve been arrested, or criminal charges have been filed. But you will want to take the time to follow the steps above and choose the attorney that can give you the best representation possible.
Every person is entitled to a defense when they’ve been charged with a crime.
If you’ve been arrested or charge with a crime in Dallas, I’m happy to discuss your options with you. You can call me at my office (972) 661-8330 or schedule an appointment online. I’ll provide you with a free case evaluation and answer any questions that you might have.