In a town with so many lawyers it can be a daunting task to find the right attorney. However it is a very important part of the process because you want to have confidence that you have retained good counsel.
With both your liberty and reputation at stake, you don’t want to hire the wrong attorney. Do not make the mistake of simply going through the phone book calling attorneys in order to find the lowest bidder. Remember that as with most things, you get what you pay for. You are buying an attorney’s knowledge, experience, and professionalism. You are not buying a lawn mower.
If you have had friends who have had to hire a criminal defense attorney in the past, consult with them regarding their experiences. A referral from a trusted source can be the best way to find an attorney. Interviewing several attorneys your self can be extremely valuable as well.You may not be able to discern a good one from a bad one without interviewing several.
Here are some questions to ask:
(1) Does the attorney specialize in criminal law?
(2) Is the attorney board certified in criminal law?
(3) How much experience does the attorney have with your type of case?
(4) Will I get a written fee contract that sets out the fees and what he / she will do to defend your case?
(5) Will the attorney take time to explain things thoroughly and in plain English?
(6) Will the attorney be available to meet with you and take your phone calls after you pay his or her fee?
Beware of attorneys that promise a certain result or suggest that they have special influence with the courts or the prosecution. You may begin to question the ethical standards of an attorney who makes these types of promises.
Most criminal defense attorneys in Dallas County will charge a flat fee as opposed to an hourly fee. Nevertheless, in setting the flat fee, a criminal defense attorney will have to estimate how many hours he / she thinks will be required to handle your case. Beware of attorneys that charge you a very low fee simply to get your case. Often the attorney will only put as much time into the case as the fee supports. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers you get.
We have all heard “You get what you pay for.” Well it is a fact that generally the more you spend the better product you will get in form and in function. However we all have to live on a certain budget. In evaluating how much to spend, first determine what is it worth to you to get the best possible result. In most peoples cases a conviction for a crime can cost them in the future in many ways. Loss of a job, increased insurance, inability to find a job, loss of drivers license, and damaged reputation are a few examples. What is the long term cost? The amount you are willing to spend on an attorney may be more than you think.
Carefully look at how much you can spend and be prepared to sacrifice whatever is less important than your freedom to make sure you have the best attorney you can afford working for you. Many attorneys have had clients who, realizing the gravity of the situation, sold TV’s, cars or even houses to raise the money to hire the best attorney they can afford. Which is more important, “The Bachelor” or your freedom?