Facing a criminal charge is nothing to sneeze at, after all, you risk going to jail, among other severe consequences. For this reason, it is often a good idea to find the best lawyer who will help you get the best possible outcome from your case.
An informed client is always the best client. If you want to get the most out of your legal process, you should make it your business to learn everything you can about an attorney, and their procedures, before you can hire them for the job. But how do you know that a lawyer is the right one for you?
Here are four questions to ask before hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Houston, TX:
The criminal attorney’s background and experience
During the initial consultation with the criminal lawyer, you want to find out if they have prior experience defending against charges like yours. If you are accused of murder, for instance, you don’t need a lawyer who primarily defends DUI cases. Find out;
- Where the lawyer went to school and when they graduated
- The number of years they have been practicing criminal law
- How often they appear in the courtroom where your case is going to be heard
- How often they negotiate plea agreements with the prosecutors
- How they relate with the prosecutors
- How informed they are about the charges you are facing
- Whether they belong to any professional organizations or association
You also want to know what the possible outcomes of your case are even before the trials begin. Ask the lawyer:
- What your legal options are, and whether they would advise a plea agreement, a guilty plea or a trial.
- About the aspects of the case that are in your favor
- About any possible issues that they foresee with your case
- About what to expect at different steps of the process
It is vital to learn how the lawyer is going to handle the logistics of your case. This will go a long way in helping you understand what happens behind the curtains to cut out any misunderstandings later on. Find out:
- Whether the lawyer will be available to take on your case or if they will be assigning someone else – if they will be assigning some else, ask to meet them
- How communication is going to happen, and which mode of communication they prefer
Criminal defense lawyers will either charge you a flat rate or on an hourly basis. Keep in mind that these rates vary from one firm to the next, so you might want to shop around to find what suits you. To understand their legal fees, ask:
- Whether they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate
- How much they charge per hour, and if they’ll need a deposit – that is if they are charging on an hourly basis
- What’s their flat rate, what’s included in the fee and if it’s refundable – if the attorney is charging an hourly rate.