Whether you’re facing a traffic ticket, misdemeanor or felony charge, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. Unfortunately, Dallas criminal defense lawyers are a dime a dozen. As a result, choosing the right attorney for you can be overwhelming. Generally speaking, most people aren’t prepared for an arrest or criminal charges. However, finding the right criminal lawyer to handle your case is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make.
Don’t Wait Until The Day Before Court To Find An Attorney
Generally, you will receive a court date for your case when you are released from jail. Sometimes your first court date can be several weeks or even months away. However, it’s usually best to talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being arrested. For example, you can’t count on the police or prosecutors to collect all the relevant evidence for your case. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your attorney can properly investigate your case before evidence becomes unavailable. Also, finding the best criminal lawyer for your case can take time. It’s important to take the time to research your options when hiring a lawyer.
1. Make A List of YOUR Priorities
A majority of potential clients call law firms with one primary goal: finding the cheapest legal representation possible. Fortunately, you don’t need to look very far to find an attorney out to make a quick buck at your expense. Sometimes you don’t have to look at all, attorneys have been known to come looking for you. Unfortunately, the consequences of a criminal conviction will follow you for the rest of your life. More importantly, you cannot undo a conviction. Therefore, while it is perfectly understandable that the cost of hiring an attorney is a legitimate issue, be careful when making it your MOST important concern. After all, there are just as many attorneys that will try to overcharge for legal representation as there are that will undercharge clients. Just because something is more expensive, doesn’t mean it’s better.
On the other hand, knowing what your goals are for the outcome of your case makes the next step in the process much easier! For example, is it more important to keep your record clean or to resolve your case as soon as possible? Alternatively, do you want to fight your case or are you not interested in a long drawn out legal battle? In the end, there is a long list of possibilities that can end up on your list of priorities. Being prepared before you meet with any lawyers will help you avoid ending up with an attorney that doesn’t share the same goals for your case.
2. Make A List of Attorneys You Want To Speak With
Armed with your first list, its time to make your second one. Make a list of attorneys you would like to meet for a consultation. Most lawyers offer free consultations. Overall, the relationship between an attorney and a client is based on mutual trust. Your attorney is someone you need to be comfortable around. After all, the circumstances surrounding the need for a lawyer are stressful enough on their own. In the end, speaking with multiple attorneys is the best way to build confidence that the attorney you decide to hire is the one you will be comfortable with for the entirety of your case. Remember, if you don’t feel like you can trust your lawyer, how can you expect judges and prosecutors to? So how do you come up with your list of defense attorneys? Do your homework!
In my opinion, the best place to start your search for a criminal defense attorney is by asking the people that you know. Nothing is more valuable than a real life referral from someone that you already trust. If you don’t know anyone that has been in a similar situation before, start looking online. Similarly, pay close attention to actual client reviews when looking for a lawyer online. However, searching for an attorney online can be tricky. But that’s why you are making a list and not making your choice based only on what the internet tells you! Much like everything else in life, companies, including law firms, pay millions of dollars to make sure they are the first link that pops up for every keyword search possible on the internet. So when you type “best criminal defense attorney” into Google, your search results are based on which firm paid the most money to top the list for that search and not which firm is actually the most qualified to handle your case.
You can verify if an attorney actually achieved the case results in their advertisements!
Case information is public record and can be found online or through record requests.
Now is not the time to take shortcuts, that may be how you got in trouble in the first place. Scroll past the top 3 or 4 search results that are paid advertisements. Go through some of the websites and see what you can find out about the law firm and the attorney(s). Look for ones that provide helpful information about your type of case. A good criminal defense attorney will make sure that you are fully informed about the charges you are facing and the process for handling your case. Additionally, be wary of all the attorneys claiming to be the “best” or “top” Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney. In my experience when shopping for something, anyone that has to tell you they are the best probably isn’t. Generally, an attorney’s reputation speaks for itself. Our suggestion is to make a list of 3 to 5 attorneys you would like to meet with before moving on to the next step.
3. Schedule Consultations With Your List of Criminal Defense Attorneys
After you’ve completed your research and narrowed down your list of criminal defense lawyers to meet with, it’s time to start scheduling consultations. I can’t emphasize enough the fact that you should take the time to meet with several attorneys before choosing one to hire. Moreover, don’t settle for just a phone consultation. If an attorney doesn’t have the time to sit down and meet with you to discuss your case, can you be confident they will have the time to work on your case? Once you’ve scheduled your consultations, it’s time to finish preparing for the meetings. If you followed our advice in section one, the next step would be to put together all the important information about your case to discuss with the attorney at your consultation.
Of course, we don’t expect you to know every single detail about the arrest or charges. However, the more information you can provide from the beginning, the better. The outcome of a criminal case can vary widely from one courtroom to the next and from county to county. As a result, simply telling an attorney that you were arrested for a drug charge will not be very helpful in learning more about what could possibly happen with your case. You don’t need to meet with an attorney just to find out what level offense you are facing or what the punishment range is for a specific type of case. Now that you have met with your list of Dallas criminal defense lawyers, you’re in the home stretch.
4. Choose The Right Criminal Defense Lawyer To Represent You
Although this process may sound time consuming, choosing the right attorney to hire is crucial. Typically, lawyers require you to make a down payment upon signing a retainer agreement. However, once an attorney starts to work on your case, most attorney’s fees become non-refundable. As a result, switching attorneys halfway through your case can be very expensive.
At Haddad Law Firm, we understand that money isn’t easy to come by. That’s why our goal is to make sure your money is spent wisely, even if that means charging you less in legal fees. The State Bar of Texas has established a Texas Lawyer’s Creed that all attorney’s practicing in Texas are required to abide by. We take our job of representing our clients very seriously. If we can’t help you, we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction of an attorney who can.