In 2016, thirty-eight Tarrant County law enforcement agencies arrested over 63,000 people. The Sixth Amendment guarantees all these individuals the right to counsel, and there are many different attorneys to chose from. Public defenders and court-appointed lawyers are available, but in most cases, it's best not to wait until your first court date to hire a lawyer.
"Quality of representation" is not one of the reasons. Many court-appointed attorneys are at the top of the profession. However, there are other reasons.
You May Not Qualify
Many Tarrant County judges only provide free attorneys to people in jail. They reason that if you can make bail, you can afford to hire a lawyer. This conclusion may be right or wrong, but that is the rationale. So, if you do not have representation at your first court date, you may face an uncomfortable choice: hire the first lawyer who comes along or go back to jail.
Many court-appointed attorneys only keep regular office hours in the mornings when courts are in session. Meeting one afternoon to discuss your case may not really be an option. Moreover, there's almost no chance that a court-appointed attorney will have an office near you.
To assign court-appointed attorneys, most Tarrant County courts use a "next in line" system or an "attorney of the day" system. In either case, your attorney is whoever is next in line. You may discharge that attorney and hire one on your own, but judges almost never de-appoint (if that is a word) one attorney and assign another one.
If you hire a lawyer shortly after you're arrested, your attorney can get to work immediately. That includes things like researching the law and investigating the facts. Besides, if you know you need to see a dentist, you do not wait until it's too painful to chew. You get ahead of the problem.
The Best Possible Defense
The vast majority of criminal cases settle before trial. As a result, many lawyers go into "plea closets." They do not work very aggressively. At your initial consultation, make sure the attorney has a decisive plan of action.
Peace of Mind
Criminal cases are extremely troubling. Most carry both direct and indirect consequences. Without an attorney, you probably do not know exactly what punishments you face. Plus, once you hire a lawyer, you know that the attorney is working for you. Why wait around and hope for the best when that peace of mind is within your grasp?
A good attorney can make all the difference. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Convenient payment plans are available.