FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We try to anticipate questions you might have about our legal services and hiring a criminal defense attorney. If you need additional information or have any other questions, please contact us.
What lawyers should I avoid?
First, I would absolutely avoid attorneys who charge you for each court appearance. This type of arrangement may seem to be a better bargain, but most cases get reset at least 4-6 times on average. That is without a trial.
What will end up happening is the lawyer will not do any work on your case during these resets eventually pressure you into pleading your case out because you just cannot afford to keep paying him to come to court.
Resetting of a case is supposed to be used to gather evidence in defense of your case, but that usually doesn’t happen in these arrangements. Typically in these arrangements, the attorney will reset the case without doing any work on the case. They do that until you are tired of coming to Court or you get tired of paying. Then they give you an ultimatum and force you to plead guilty. Our office charges a flat fee and gathers evidence that will help on every case. Many times, the evidence we gather gets the case dismissed, helps tremendously in plea negotiations, or prepares your case to have a jury trial. There may be many pieces of evidence that could destroy the state’s case and thus cause your case to be dismissed. You should always be able to ask the attorney, “why your case is being reset”. If he cannot give you an answer, you have a problem.
Also, avoid attorneys that plea out cases early on without doing the necessary research. You can ask any attorney to pull up their current cases, by entering their bar number, on the Harris County District Clerk’s website. This will allow you to see the outcomes of each of the last 300-400 cases they have handled. The Harris County District Clerk is entity that handles all of the filings and court documents of the court system and they manage a database of all of the cases handled in Harris County. There should be a mixture of mostly dismissals, jury trials – not guilty verdicts, and deferred adjudications. If you see that the attorney has received convictions and pleaded to jail time on most of their cases, you can safely assume that they either do not really care about their clients or do not know how to effectively represent their clients and will likely get you the similar results.
I would also avoid attorneys that handle all types of cases. Just like a doctor, it takes a lot of time and continuing education to stay up to date in a given field of law. Doctors that handle cardiology typically do not handle dermatology and/or digestive health. Your criminal record and good name is very important to you. You want someone who understands the nature of the criminal court system, the people involved, and the current law in the field.
Another attorney you should avoid are attorneys that come to Court without a briefcase or file for you. I see attorneys come to Court with a list of names and Courts. Your attorney is responsible for defending you and keeping you from going to jail or having a permanent scar on your record. He should have something in a file including: resets, contact information, evidence, subpoenas, motions, notes, charging instruments, and offense reports with him. If he doesn’t have these things or written notes from the first time you told him your version of the facts, he is not defending you, just merely walking next to you as you get processed through the system.
Be cautious of an attorney without any experience or only a few years of experience. They may have good intentions, but without the knowledge of how to handle criminal cases, they typically fall flat with results.
Another tool to use is to look at reviews of the attorney online. Google their name and see what other past clients have written about them. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, because there are always the truth or justified, but you can learn a lot about a lawyer through his reviews. You can also look to review sites such as Avvo.com and see an attorney’s reviews, qualifications, and credentials. Also the Texas Bar has a way to search for attorneys and see if they have ever been disciplined. I would avoid any attorney who has been punished by the State Bar. The Better Business Bureau has reviews as well.
Why don’t I just hire the cheapest lawyer I can find?
I understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and many people just want to save as much money as possible. When you make a decision to hire an attorney, it is very important not to make that decision solely based on price.
It should definitely be a factor, but not the only factor. One problem I see often, is that when an attorney charges next to nothing, they take on more cases to make up for the low price. Typically, they will handle 10 or more cases in one day, which does a few things. It causes them to try to resolve your case as quickly as possible, which means they don’t fully investigate or try to fight your case.
It also causes the clients to sit all morning and wait for their attorney to arrive at court. One attorney can’t be at all 22 District Courts and 15 Count Courts in Houston at the same time. So they slowly make it through their docket causing you to sit there for hours each time you go to Court.
I often hear these stories whether its from a client who hires me after hiring a bad lawyer or being stopped by people in Court waiting for their attorneys. Oftentimes, I get calls from potential clients years after their cases are resolved and they call me to try and seal their records and I have to tell them that because of the disposition of the case, it will be on their record forever.
They explain that they were young and didn’t have any money or they hired an attorney and they forced them to plead guilty. What people don’t understand is that what happens after you are charged with a crime can and will affect you for the rest of your life.
Many offenses can keep you from ever being able to find a good job, sign a lease for an apartment, or get credit to purchase a house or car. Hiring an attorney to defend you against a crime is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your entire life.
The difference between hiring a bad and good attorney could possibly be only a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars right now. But one thing people typically do not account for is the difference between being stuck at a bad job because of your record versus a good job could easily be $20,000-50,000 a year. Which, over a lifetime, could be much much more. It is definitely not worth skipping out on a few dollars now. I once heard a very good piece of advice. There are three things you don’t want to go cheap on, an accountant, a doctor, and your lawyer. These people protect the most important things in life, your money, your health, and your freedom. Our office understands that not everyone has a lot of money saved up. In many circumstances we can typically work out a payment plan with you. Our fees are affordable and I will do everything I can to help you.
One thing to note is that a more expensive attorney doesn’t always mean better either. Do your research. Meet with attorneys, ask them questions, and talk to them about how they are going to represent you. If you don’t feel comfortable or get a bad feeling, follow your gut. This is a big decision and you have to have someone in your corner that you feel will fight for you and cares about you.
What sets you apart from other attorneys?
There are generally two types of attorneys;
(1) the kind that charges bargain rates and makes a living by handling quantity and volume; sadly they are just unwilling or unable to put any actual work or the required time into your case;
(2) the kind of attorney who has a tremendous amount of experience and will really be able to provide the best outcome. This type of attorney will usually charge an arm and a leg to handle your case. I consider myself somewhat of a hybrid. I have been working in the field of criminal law since 2006. I started my own practice in 2006 and have kept my rates very reasonable. I office and work very closely with attorneys with 30+ years of experience and have been trained extensively by them. Thus, I offer the experience and knowledge of attorneys with tremendous experience, without the extravagant fees.
Additionally, my office keeps our client list very manageable and thus we are able to provide a level of service and attention to your case. We try our hardest to not keep you waiting, whether it is for an appointment or Court appearance. We know your time is valuable and that you are likely missing work to be in Court or at our office.
Someone I know just got arrested. What should I do now?
- Make sure they know their rights. Don’t make any statements until AFTER you have spoken with an attorney.
- If possible, note what agency made the arrest and where they are being taken to.
- Contact a lawyer immediately
- Contact a bonding company and find out how much the bond is.
- If you are able to come up with the funds to post the bond the entire bond, go down to the county jail and make the bond.
- Keep in mind that this money will be returned to you, but not until the case is completely resolved.
- If you cannot afford to have the money tied up (sometimes over a year), make arrangements with a bonding company. Generally, bonding companies will charge 10-20% of the bond, but you will not get this money back after the case is over. You should also get with your attorney as soon as possible. Many times an attorney can lower the bond or contact someone in custody and inform them of their rights.
What if I cannot afford to post the entire bond?
Bonding companies are able to work with you and post the bond for usually 10% of the bond amount. However, any money you post with a bonding company will not be returned after your case is disposed of. On larger bonds, sometimes the bonding company will allow you to do payments on the 10%. Contact a bonding company.
What if I cannot afford both the bond and hiring an attorney?
I would recommend contacting an attorney first, because an attorney may be able to lower the bond amount. Also, some courts will not allow you to have an appointed attorney if you are out on bond. Thus, you will be forced to hire an attorney or the judge will revoke your bond later on and you will be back in jail again, short of the money you had put up for bond.
How do I find a bonding company?
There are several bonding companies near the jails. However, be careful of some bonding companies that will terminate your bond when you get closer to trial because of the risk you may flee. I always recommend Burn’s Bailbonds, because they are a no non-sense company and I trust them. I have referred clients to them since 2006 and have not had a single complaint. You can reach them at (713) 224-0305
Should I hire an attorney even if I am guilty?
I get this question all the time. Regardless of whether you feel you are guilty of an offense, you need to hire a good attorney. If you hire a good attorney, he/she can fight for you and quite possibly get the case dismissed or win at trial.
What people don’t understand is that there are many things that we can provide the State that will make them want to dismiss your case. Additionally, the State has the burden of proof and that burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden and is the highest burden of the entire court system. If the District Attorney doesn’t think that they can meet this burden of proof in a trial, they will let the case go. I cannot count the times we’ve gotten cases dismissed or won even with breath tests, blood tests, admissions, video tapes, and positive identifications by multiple witnesses (including law enforcement).
Another aspect of hiring a good attorney is mitigation. If the State has a strong case against you, hiring an attorney can help get you results you wouldn’t ordinarily get. Whether its a reduction, dismissal, deferred adjudication with priors, or pretrial diversion, there are many results that other attorneys won’t fight for or even try for. This is because they may not know about the different options and how to apply for them, or they don’t have the time or energy to put the work into your case.
Can you guarantee a specific result?
In the field of criminal law, there are no guarantees. The same exact case can end in two different results depending on the attorney, the prosecutor, the judge or the jury. If anyone guarantees a result, I would be very cautious because ethically attorneys are not allowed to do so. The only thing that I can guarantee is that I will do my very best to provide you with a favorable outcome. I can also show you results on similar cases that I’ve handled with the understanding that every case is different and the results may be different.
How much do you charge?
Our rates depend on the type of offense, presence of a prior criminal history, the Court the case is in, and the facts of the case. We are very affordable and will work with you in trying to set up a payment plan.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes we accept all forms of credit cards.
Where are you located?
I am located at 1221 Studewood St. Ste 105, Houston, TX 77008. I am at the corner of 12 1/2 and Studewood St.
Should I take a breath-test or perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests?
I would advise you to do neither. The breath test has many problems and is not accurate and may come back with an incorrect result. The Standard Field Sobriety Tests are designed to make you fail. These tests are oftentimes difficult for even people who are sober. They are very technical and officers look for very specific clues. Unless you know what the officer is looking for, I would recommend others to refuse the test and request for an attorney. Try to stand as straight as possible and do not lean on anything for balance. Assume you are being electronically recorded and every sway or stumble will be used against you. Stay calm and politely decline the tests.
Harris County and some surrounding counties are now getting search warrants for blood evidence. If there is a valid search warrant, the police will use force to obtain blood. For your safety, do not resist the taking of a blood specimen IF the search warrant is valid. Sometimes, we can keep out a specimen if there are significant errors in the search warrant. In a county where they will get a blood warrant and draw your blood, I would recommend that a breath test is better to take than a blood sample. The blood sample will show any drugs (prescription and non-prescribed) and that can possible be used against you whether it is actually affecting you at the time or not. Sometimes it may show substances that were consumed weeks before. Additionally, jurors inherently believe blood results over breath results. It is much easier to beat a breath test case, than a blood test.
What rights do I have?
Everyone has a number of different rights provided by the Constitution.
The most important rights you have to worry about are the right to counsel, right against self-incrimination, and right of due process of law.
How do I protect my rights?
At anytime you are being questioned by the police, you have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You also have the right to an attorney. Once you request an attorney, ALL questioning must cease and may not be initiated unless you initiate the questioning. Thus, I would recommend that you request to speak with your attorney before answering any questions or submitting to any tests.
I am looking for a attorney with even MORE experience, do you know of any?
Yes. However, I am confident that our office can handle all of your criminal defense needs, whether you are being charged with Capital Murder to Shoplifting. Our office has been handling criminal cases since 2006 and have been very successful in defending cases.
Generally, attorneys with 30+ years of experience will charge dramatically higher fees. If that is what you are looking for, or it is something you may be interested in, I would gladly refer you to an attorney that I know and trust to handle your case properly. I work closely with a number of different attorneys. Our office consists of many different attorneys with varying levels of experience. I am also willing to arrange a meeting with another attorney and let you decide which avenue would make you more comfortable.
How do I know if an attorney is a good attorney?
It is sometimes very difficult to determine whether an attorney is good or not. The first thing I would look at are reviews. If clients get good results and had a good experience, they are likely to write a review on Avvo.com, google plus, or may of the other review sites. I would recommend setting up a consultation and meeting with may attorneys. Can they effectively explain the process to you? Can they explain how they are going to handle your case, what the possible outcomes are? Do they make you feel comfortable and ease your anxiety? Do they sound like they genuinley care about your case?
I would also ask the attorney to pull up the last 300 cases they have handled in Harris County on the district clerk’s website. You can see results of similar cases and a pattern of how the attorney’s cases are resolved. This will give you an idea of what they are capable of. The decision on hiring a lawyer is very difficult and a mistake could have lifelong repercussions. Make sure you do your homework.
I am looking for an attorney who handles something besides criminal. Do you have anyone to recommend?
Yes, I know many different attorneys that practice various fields of law. Whether it is a car wreck, divorce, eviction, or anything else. I would be more than happy to refer you to someone you can trust.