When you’re facing criminal charges, the most important decision you will make is choosing your criminal defense attorney.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys can quite literally keep people from spending the rest of their lives in prison. Under the United States Constitution, every single person who has been charged with a crime and is facing trial has the right to a proper defense.
So what does that mean exactly? How do you know you’re choosing the right attorney?
Learn here what important qualities to look for in a candidate and which questions to ask when you evaluate your potential criminal defense attorney. First, let’s take a look at what it takes to become one in the first place…
Minimum Standards Your Texas Lawyer Should Meet
The requirements for every criminal defense attorney hopeful in the state of Texas are the same. We all have to complete an undergraduate in pre-law education first. Then, we take (and pass) a test called the LSAT before going on to complete law school.
The bare minimum required to become a Texas lawyer is to pass the Texas State Bar Exam. After that, any reputable attorney goes on to complete any number of internships, publish in legal journals, and complete pro bono work.
Because all of these requirements are often identical, however, they are not a good way to judge whether a criminal defense attorney is the best choice for you.
Certainly, make sure your potential partner meets these minimum requirements, but there are a number of factors to consider in addition to them before choosing who represents you in court. Let’s take a look at three of them.
Three Qualities That Signal the Right Texas Defense Attorney
There are numerous factors that will signal whether an attorney is the right one to defend your case. Asking the right questions will go a long way in figuring out if a candidate meets the necessary standards for defending your case. Ask yourself three questions, starting with whether they understand your criminal charges.
How Much Experience Does Your Attorney Have with Your Specific Charges?
You’ve heard of a murder trial lawyer and you’ve seen the daytime commercials for the ones who help people facing a DWI. Some attorneys specialize in white-collar crime, and others are more experienced with drug courts. These are just a few areas of law.
When you are charged with a crime, especially when the potential penalties are serious enough to land you in prison for decades or even life, you want a lawyer who understands the charges you face.
Are You Satisfied with the Level of Communication Your Attorney Provides?
The last thing you want is to spend months wondering whether or not you will be spending years in prison and paying large sums of money towards fines.
Having an attorney who regularly communicates the status of your case, and who can explain what is happening so you can understand, is invaluable.
Even your initial case review with an attorney can signal how the rest of your relationship might go. Make sure in the interview that you feel comfortable with the attorney and that they can clearly explain what the charges are and how they can help.
In Which Part of the Criminal Defense Process Does an Attorney Excel?
Not all criminal defenders can boast excellence in every area of defense. Instead, there are attorneys who specialize in securing excellent plea bargains. Others know how to take a case to trial. Others’ expertise lies in filing appeals. Still, there are some with proven experience at all stages of the criminal trial process.
An understanding of the guidelines and procedural aspects throughout the life of a case helps an attorney ensure you are receiving fair treatment under the rights granted to you by the US constitution.
So which attorney do you want representing you?
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.