Has a bad decision left you behind bars? If so, you’re probably wondering what steps you need to take next.
If you’re facing criminal charges, a negative outcome could affect your future in a number of ways. Depending on the crime, you could face jail time, probation, and legal fines.
In addition, a criminal charge could cause you to lose your job or make it difficult to find employment. That’s why it’s imperative you find a qualified criminal lawyer to help you through the legal process.
Unfortunately, finding the right representation is easier said than done. To help you out, we’re going over some tips on how to find the best criminal defense lawyer in Bexar County.
Sure, years of experience practicing law is something you’ll want to look for when searching for a lawyer. However, the person you hire needs to have experience with the crime you got arrested for.
Criminal law is a very broad legal practice. Some attorneys spend their whole careers focusing on one or two types of crimes. You need someone who understands what you’re up against and can form a solid approach to your defense.
Violent crimes require specific skills such as investigating a crime scene or interviewing witnesses. DWI or drug charges, on the other hand, call for in-depth knowledge of state laws and penalties.
Make sure you check an attorney’s website to ensure they have extensive experience representing individuals facing similar charges. Hiring the first person you come across could lead to a negative result.
Many times, criminal attorneys work to get their clients the best deal available after pleading guilty. This involves negotiating with the prosecuting attorney and judge to get lighter sentencing.
However, some criminal cases need to go to trial. This happens if the arrest was unjust or there were procedural issues involved that were in violation of a persons’ rights.
If you feel the second scenario applies to you, finding a criminal defense lawyer with trial experience is critical. You need someone who understands the process of a criminal trial and can form a tactical plan of defense.
In addition, the attorney you work with should have the confidence and personality needed to speak in front of a jury. The last thing you want is someone who’s only taken a few cases to trial. Prosecutors are well aware of which lawyers will fight and which won’t. When they make a plea offer or consider a dismissal, prosecutors are thinking about how hard the defense attorney will make them work. They’re also worried about the best criminal lawyers who might make them lose.
It’s important you hire an attorney who practices in the county you got arrested in. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but it can have a huge impact on your case.
There’s a good chance the laws surrounding your case are the same throughout the state of Texas. However, a local attorney will have intimate knowledge of how the courts work in Bexar County, for example. This means knowing how specific judges operate and how long cases typically take.
A local lawyer will also understand how certain prosecuting attorneys or D.A.s conduct business. This may work to your advantage when negotiating a plea bargain.
They’re also more likely to understand how local police officers perform in court. In addition, knowing the local court clerks and other legal personnel can help your case move along smoothly.
If this is your first criminal charge, looking for referrals is a great way to find an attorney who’s right for you. There are a few ways to do this.
If you know a family member or friend who’ve used a criminal attorney in Bexar County, seek a personal referral from them. This is a great way to get a first-hand account of a lawyer’s performance. Make sure and ask them how they felt about working with the attorney.
Another approach is to seek out a professional referral. If you’ve used an attorney for a different legal issue, ask if they can direct you to good criminal representation.
Attorneys maintain a large network of connections. Even though they may not practice criminal law, they’ll have personal relationships with attorneys who do. This is another way to get peace of mind the lawyer you hire provides quality service.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, you’ll need to have a consultation to go over the details of your case. This will give you an opportunity to speak face-to-face with the attorney and determine if they’re a good fit.
It’s important to have a list of questions prepared before the meeting. This helps to ensure you know what to expect if you hire the lawyer to represent you.
First, you’ll need to ask about their experience with cases like yours. This is also a good chance to discuss the approach they’ll take if you hire them.
You should also make sure they’ll be the one handling your case. In some law firms, an attorney will pass the case off to someone else after the consultation.
Asking about their communication process is also a good idea. Criminal defense attorneys are very busy and often in and out of court. However, you need to know you can get updates on your case when needed.
Before you hire someone, you need to consider your budget and plan for spending a certain amount on your case. You’ll then need to discuss attorney fees during the consultation.
The amount you spend will depend on the type of charge you’re up against. If it’s a complicated case that may end up in a trial, you need to determine how much you’re willing to spend before moving forward.
Criminal lawyers tend to charge flat fees in Texas, but set their fees based on the amount of time and work they anticipate. Flat fees may not include everything that could happen in your case. Make sure you discuss any and all fees you may encounter along the way.
It’s important to understand that good legal representation can be expensive. However, you could end up saving money if your attorney can get your sentence reduced or have the case thrown out.
Putting a little work into finding the best criminal defense lawyer for your case is well worth the time. Remember, your future is at stake, which means you need top-notch representation.
Use the tips discussed above to find an attorney perfect for you.
We provide criminal defense for a wide range of charges in Bexar County and throughout Texas. Contact us today to learn more.