Why Should You Hire An Experienced Attorney To Defend Your Case?
Why Not Go It Alone Or Go With A Public Defender? What Sets Your Firm Apart?
Well, there are many reasons. First of all, you never want to go to talk to the police by yourself because you don’t know what the facts are that are important. The attorney will be able to see if there is not reliable evidence or if the officer did the investigation incorrectly on this occasion. You’re looking for somebody who is going to recognize what’s important. A lot of the time when we’re sick, we diagnose ourselves as having a cold or fever. When it continues, though, we go to the doctor. The difference here is that you don’t know if it’s gotten worse when you’re talking to law enforcement and the prosecutor. By the time you go talk to your lawyer, that time has come and gone. You’ve given a statement or you’ve said something.
Public defenders have a bad rap. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to them, so people want to hire their own lawyer. Really, though, when you deal with public defenders, you are dealing with people who are taking every case that comes in. What that means is that the court will appoint them. If they are court-appointed attorneys or if they work for a public defender’s office, then whatever case comes in, they are going to be assigned to it. It could be a DWI, it could be possession of a controlled substance, it could be homicide, or it could be a sexual assault case. Just because they’re qualified to handle the case doesn’t make them an expert.
When you meet a lawyer, your questions need to be: How many cases do you have right now? What’s your caseload like? How much time do you have to do an independent investigation? What you’re trying to find out is not necessarily if he has free time but how he’s going to spend his time representing you. What type of time does he have? What are his commitments? What kinds of complications does the case have? Is this a type of case he’s handled many times before? How many DWIs have you dealt with? How many of those involved the Intoxilyzer 9000? Since I first started, we’ve had around 5,000. How many cases have you handled involving a blood draw? How many of them have you been involved with that have had a blood draw and a location other than a hospital or an EMS facility? You want to ask questions, and of course you want to have your own attorney be able to talk to you, get back to you for a few moments, and give you all the time you need. You want to be able to schedule an appointment and come in, and for the lawyer to give you what you’ve paid for.
Public defenders and court-appointed lawyers have a lot of cases to handle — so much, in fact, that the State of Texas now requires lawyers who work on a court-appointed basis to state how many cases they handle in general, their total number of cases, and how many of those are court-appointed.
Why should they come to me? I’m board-certified in criminal law and have been since 1996. I have been a prosecutor, I have been in private practice, and I’ve literally represented or prosecuted every type of case all the way down to a speeding ticket or a minor possession, as well as litigations. I was also a municipal prosecutor and a municipal judge, so I’ve seen from all different sides how these things work and how they are going to apply to you based on my experience and based on the time I’m going to spend learning about your case. I can tailor your defense and your representation in such a way that it’s going to ensure that we get the best possible outcome. When I say “ensure,” I mean that we can do everything possible.
Do You Have Any Favorite Stories Or Victories From Among The Cases That You’ve Defended Over The Years?
There’ve just been so many cases, and the ones that we get a successful outcome on are just always special in and of themselves. Everyone that we’ve gotten a good outcome for really always stands out. The people stand out, and their hopes and dreams and fears stand out, and so I’d like to say that there’ve been so many favorite cases.
I’ve dealt with kids who were accused of sexual assault and they had some mental problems and found out that they were the scapegoat. Now, what happened was that the individual, a young girl, didn’t want to admit that she was having a relationship with a neighbor who was much older, so they found the mentally handicapped individual and decided to pick on him. It took well over 2 years to exonerate, but in those 2 years, he didn’t participate in any extracurricular activities and he was shunned by all of the people he went to school with. It was such a great ending but it was devastating for him.
I’ve had a child accused of having sex with a girl when he was much older, but he was mentally challenged. So who was really the victim in that case? It took us years to resolve that case. And still the stigma applies, even though he wasn’t guilty because he didn’t know what he was doing. This was a very difficult type of case where people spent literally years in jail but the jury acquitted them in less than 10 minutes. We were excited by it, but at the same time, he was in custody all that time because every dollar they had went towards his attorney and his investigator to bring that evidence to court. His life was ruined. It was devastating. It’s always so difficult to determine what is a win and what is a loss. For me, the win is a favorable outcome, even though that can still be a loss to the accused because their life has been turned upside down. So I don’t know. I just don’t think I have a favorite anymore.
Sometimes, we’re up in the front of the courtroom laughing and joking with the prosecutors because we know each other, or I’m asking them about their day because of the things we have in common, or we see them in the local community. The prosecutors are still looking for signs of weakness and strength, though – weakness in your clients and how your client knew how to react in court because you spent time with them. You take them into the courtroom before they are supposed to get there, you look at it, and you show them where everybody stands. You say, “They are going to call your name and you are going to stand up. I’m going to stand up. I’m going to look right at the judge. If the judge says this man is not guilty, then we need a trial or a trial by jury or something of that nature.” When the prosecutor turns around and looks at the defendant, they are looking at them to see if they are ready to fold, and you can’t let that happen because that’s what the prosecutor’s hoping for. What really sets us apart is that we cover every facet of this and we leave nothing to chance to be misunderstood. We will show them the pictures of the judges, so that when they are walking down the hallway or are —heaven forbid – in the bathroom, they don’t say something stupid with the judge standing next to them. All these things are important. You also never cut anybody off on the way to the courthouse. That could be one of the jurors.
Anything could happen at the courthouse, so we don’t want to leave anything to chance. The reason why our clients pay us is 1) they’ve never been through the process, and 2) they haven’t gone through the process with somebody they felt comfortable enough with to go back to for the next go-around.
There are times when you need to put your faith in somebody else, and that’s what we’re here for. It’s to say that we are that “somebody else” and that this is the right choice and also to ensure them. When somebody hires us, I tell them that immediately, because I know they are concerned about whether they made the right choice in coming to me, and because they need to know that they are doing the right thing for their future right then and there.
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