Do You Really Need an Attorney?
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Collin County, you should hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. In fact, the judge will likely insist that you consider hiring an attorney at your first court appearance if you do not have one already.
Why? Because it’s not just about whether you did the crime …under the Constitution, your predicament is also about whether the police followed proper procedures, whether the evidence against you is competent, and whether the State can carry its burden of proving you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” You need an attorney to evaluate these issues.
In a perfect world, if you did not do the crime, the State should not be able to convict you. But, as shown by the recent instances of people being exonerated thanks to DNA evidence – innocent people get convicted all the time. Competent legal representation can prevent a wrongful conviction from happening to you. If you did do the crime it is just as crucial that you hire an attorney. First, we will make sure that the police and the State followed Constitutional procedures. If they convict you when your Constitutional rights were violated, our justice system fails. Second, if you decide to plead guilty, we should be able to work out a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor.
At Least Try to Consult with a Good Local Criminal Lawyer. Bottom Line – Texas criminal laws are nuanced and complicated, and having a criminal record can ruin your life in more ways than one. Not only will your job opportunities be limited, but you may also lose your right to rent an apartment, receive financial aid, own a gun, or even drive a car. With so much at stake, you owe it to yourself to at least consult with a reputable criminal defense attorney who may be able to get your charges dismissed our resolved in a way that doesn’t show a conviction on your criminal record.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
Have you ever heard the expression, “a jack of all trades is a master of none?” Well, the practice of law is a highly specialized trade – and this is especially true for criminal defense lawyers where achieving the best possible results depends so heavily on having professional, ethical relationships with the prosecutors and judges. In tight knit legal communities like Collin County (where Peveto Law is headquartered), trust and familiarity goes a long way toward achieving favorable results.
Accordingly, avoid hiring a criminal defense attorney who drives all over Texas practicing law. If the prosecutor and/or judge does not have to interact with your criminal defense attorney on a regular basis, there is going to be less trust and accountability.
Being a good criminal defense attorney also requires trial skills and an understanding of very complex legal issues – attributes which can be achieved only through focus and repetition. The legal complexity stems primarily from the intermingling of Texas state law, federal Constitutional Law (which the Supreme Court is constantly changing), and variable factual circumstances. What amounts to probable cause for an arrest, valid consent to a search, or reasonable suspicion to justify a warrantless detention varies greatly depending on when, where, who, why, and what is being searched and/or seized.
As such, you should be wary of hiring an attorney that dabbles in several different areas of the law. He or she could miss something crucial to the outcome of your case simply because they are “part-timers,” not full time criminal defense attorneys.
SELECTING A LAYWER DO’S AND DON’T’S
- DO choose a lawyer with experience in the county where your criminal charges are filed (Collin or Dallas County, in my case). Whether your case is headed for trial or a plea, you need a lawyer who knows the judges and prosecutors in that county. Only a criminal lawyer who has successfully represented dozens, if not hundreds of criminal cases in that county gives you the best chance at the most favorable outcome.
- DON’T hire a lawyer that won’t answer your questions or can’t explain your options to you in terms you understand. If the criminal defense attorney you are interviewing is too busy to explain the process to you, that’s not a good sign.
- DON’T hire an attorney that treats you like a criminal or seems to think you are guilty before you have even explained your case. Criminal defense lawyers who assume their clients are guilty are playing for the wrong team. These are usually your ex-prosecutors – and there are a lot of them out there. So be careful.
- DO look for someone who is empathetic. If the attorney you speak with does not respect you – or seem to care about your well being – how can you expect him to care about what happens to you in your case?
- DO be wary of the lawyer that practices in many areas other than criminal law: Lawyers who dabble in criminal law may not have the time or experience to make the substantial commitment that your case requires.