Houston has hundreds of criminal defense attorneys, all offering their services to those facing criminal charges. But how do you know you’ve found the right one? Should you hire the cheapest or someone recommended by a family member?
Fortunately, many attorneys let you ask questions in a consultation. Below, we highlight certain red flags you should look out for. If you see one of these, run far away—and then pick up the phone and call The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates to speak with an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer.
Red Flag #1: Promises to Get Charges Dropped
Sometimes it’s possible for experienced lawyers to convince a prosecutor to drop charges or ask a judge to dismiss a case for lack of evidence. But no lawyer should ever promise this type of result. There are many different factors that go into these types of decisions, and lawyers are not in control.
The same is true of an acquittal. No one knows with certainty what a jury will do if you go to trial. So don’t hire a lawyer who promises these types of results.
Red Flag #2: Doesn’t Understand the Law
Texas has hundreds of criminal laws on the books. A good defense attorney should be familiar with the entire criminal code. You can get a good feel for your lawyer’s knowledge by discussing the key facts of your case and asking your lawyer about your chances.
Although a lawyer can’t promise a result, he or she can give you a general sense of the strength of the evidence against you. Based on your criminal history, a lawyer can also give you a general idea of the penalties you are facing if you end up convicted.
Red Flag #3: Won’t Discuss Fees
Lawyers should be transparent about how much it will cost to hire them. Feel free to ask up front how much the lawyer charges and what type of payment he accepts (such as personal check, credit card, debit card, etc.)
It is unethical in Texas for a criminal defense attorney to defend you on contingency, so avoid any lawyer who says he will only charge you if he wins your case. Instead, lawyers usually charge either a flat fee (a set amount to handle the case) or bill by the hour. You should understand the billing before you hire an attorney.
Red Flag #4: Can’t or Won’t Communicate
Probably the #1 complaint against lawyers is a lack of communication. If a lawyer doesn’t get back to your phone calls or emails, then you have a problem. A good attorney should also keep you updated on the status of your case. You should never be left in the dark about what is happening. Ask a lawyer how he prefers to communicate and refuse to hire a lawyer who tries to minimize your concerns.
Contact an Ethical Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
Attorney Tad Nelson has practiced criminal defense for more than 25 years. He has deep experience in all aspects of criminal law, from serious felonies to misdemeanors and traffic tickets. To schedule a consultation, contact the office today.