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10 Questions You Should Ask A Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Before Hiring

Former Chief District Court Judge & Chief Prosecutor
10 Questions You Should Ask A Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Before Hiring

When facing legal charges, the significance of securing a competent and seasoned criminal defense lawyer by your side cannot be overstated. In Texas, where the legal landscape can be particularly complex, selecting the right attorney to navigate through your defense is paramount.

Critical Questions to Ask a Defense Lawyer Before Hiring

Question #1 – How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?

Your future is too important to leave to an attorney without experience. The “10-year rule” in the legal field suggests people shouldn’t hire an attorney without at least ten years of experience.

Our lead and founding attorney and former judge, Ned Turnbull, has over 25 years working on all sides of the courtroom. His broad experience and track record have earned him a Superb Rating of 10 on Avvo.

Question #2 – Have You Represented Clients With A Situation Or Charge Similar To Mine?

Asking a criminal defense attorney about their experience with cases similar to yours is helpful in two ways. First, you will better understand what to expect, and second, you will have a feel for the attorney’s knowledge of your situation and how they have successfully defended against that particular charge. The more experience an attorney has, the more effective your defense strategy will be.

Question #3 – Have You Ever Been A Felony Chief Prosecutor?

Many attorneys open private practices before earning the experience of working as a prosecutor. Since these attorneys grow their trial skills daily, they gain exposure to all types of cases. A great criminal prosecutor can make an even better criminal defense attorney.

Ask your potential lawyer about their courtroom experience, especially as a prosecutor. You are probably better off looking elsewhere if they don’t have much.

Question #4 – Have You Ever Been A Felony District Court Judge?

An attorney with felony judicial experience will better understand the process, giving them an edge regarding your defense. Bench experience gives attorneys a unique understanding of what prosecutors want, what they will try to do, and how the Court will likely respond.

Question #5 – How Much Of Your Practice Is Devoted To Criminal Defense?

An attorney devoted to criminal defense is more likely to understand your case. A good rule of thumb is to hire an attorney who devotes at least 75% of his or her practice to criminal defense. Otherwise, you may have an attorney who only occasionally practices criminal defense.

Question #6 – How Many Felony Jury Trials Have You Tried To Conclusion In Your Career?

Many attorneys call themselves trial lawyers despite never having tried a jury trial. An attorney familiar and confident with the trial process will not be afraid if your case is to go to trial. Ask the attorney how many felony criminal cases they have tried to a verdict before a jury. If the attorney has tried less than 75 felony jury trials to verdict, keep looking.

Question #7 – How Many Attorneys Will Be Working For Me And On My Case?

Many law firms are solo practitioners, which means they will be the only attorneys working on your case. A firm with a team of lawyers who work on cases collaboratively will increase the quality of your representation and the results of your situation. Hire a legal team to fight for you.

Question #8 – Do You Require An Additional Fee If The Case Goes To Trial? Can You Provide Me With A Copy Of Your Retainer Agreement To Look Over?

When searching for an attorney, always ask about rates and hidden fees and ask for a copy of their retainer agreement. While keeping costs low is an enticing idea, the long-term consequences of a criminal conviction can cost far more than the fees of an experienced professional.

Low fees sometimes mean an attorney is inexperienced or has a low success record. Plea bargain lawyers, for example, may not charge much, but only because they will not be doing much work.

Your future is at stake — hire an aggressive attorney who is familiar with how the law works and can give you a fighting chance.

Question #9 – Can You Make Any Promises About The Results Of My Case?

While an experienced criminal defense attorney can usually predict what will happen in a given case, no attorney can honestly guarantee any result. The attorney with your best interests at heart is the one who informs you of all the possible outcomes, including the negative ones.

Be wary of attorneys who make promises. They are generally more concerned with taking your money than providing quality representation.

Question #10 – How Will You Help Me Understand My Charges? Will You Summarize My Case In Writing, Including The Law And Facts?

A good attorney will provide you with a case summary that breaks down the details of your situation in writing. This case summary will include a clear and simplified explanation of your charges, the law, every step of the attorney’s activity, and why.

Even though these documents are helpful to clients, most attorneys will not provide them. Do not settle for an attorney unwilling to keep you fully informed about your case.

Criminal defense lawyers possess the skills to manage an array of cases, each demanding a unique combination of legal knowledge and expertise. If you are searching for legal representation, choosing an attorney with experience in the particular area of criminal law relevant to your charges is essential.

Common types of criminal cases defense lawyers frequently manage:

  1. Domestic Violence: Involves allegations of harm or threats between individuals in a domestic setting, such as family members or partners.
  2. Drug Crimes: Offenses related to the illegal possession, distribution, or manufacturing of controlled substances.
  3. DWI (Driving While Intoxicated): Charges for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can carry severe legal repercussions.
  4. Expunctions / Appeals / Non-Disclosures: Assistance with clearing records (expunctions), challenging trial outcomes (appeals), and securing non-disclosure orders to protect clients’ reputations.
  5. Forgery / Counterfeiting Charges: Creating or altering documents or items with the intent to deceive.
  6. Property Crimes: Include burglary, theft, arson, and vandalism, where property is stolen or damaged.
  7. Sex Crimes: This broad category can range from sexual assault to possession of illegal material, and these charges carry particularly heavy social and legal consequences.
  8. Violation of Probation: Legal counsel is crucial for those accused of not complying with probation terms to mitigate the risk of facing original sentencing.
  9. Violent Crimes: Cases involving assault, murder, or robbery, where physical harm is inflicted or threatened, require a defense attorney with a strong track record in such serious matters.
  10. Weapons Crimes: Involve the unlawful possession or use of firearms and other weapons.
  11. White-Collar Crimes: Non-violent crimes committed for financial gain, such as fraud, embezzlement, or money laundering, fall into this category.

Each of these areas requires a defense strategy tailored to the specifics of the law and the details of the case. It is imperative to engage with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the legal complexities of your charge and has a proven history of advocating effectively for their clients across these diverse types of criminal cases.

When considering Turnbull Legal Group for your defense, you’re not just hiring any lawyer; you’re gaining an ally with Mr. Turnbull’s extensive litigation experience. His adept understanding of judicial perspectives and prosecutorial tactics ensures that your defense strategy is both robust and nuanced. With a track record of over 125 felony jury trials, Mr. Turnbull’s experience is a testament to his ability to navigate the complexities of the courtroom successfully.

Turnbull Legal Group is committed to upholding your rights and has a dual-attorney approach to each case. The firm ensures that every client benefits from two criminal defense attorneys’ collective expertise and dedication. This unique strategy amplifies our ability to provide a comprehensive and effective defense tailored to your needs.

With a commitment to upholding your rights and a dual-attorney approach to each case, the firm stands ready to serve residents across Harris County, Brazos County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County. To secure your future, reach out to Turnbull Legal Group for a free consultation.

10 Questions You Should Ask A Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Before Hiring
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