In movies and TV shows, court-appointed defense lawyers and public defenders are often overworked and under-prepared. Fortunately, real life in a Tarrant County courtroom is nothing like what you see on TV, at least in this context. The Sixth Amendment guarantees all defendants the right to effective counsel. And, for the most part, appointed attorneys are at the top of the class.
However, many of the most experienced appointed or public service attorneys only take extremely serious felonies, like rape or murder. They leave lesser felonies and misdemeanors to younger lawyers. Some people do not consider these crimes to be as serious. But if you are the one facing charges, every criminal case has a substantial bearing on the rest of your life.
One of the best reasons to hire your own attorney is that you get to choose who you work with. Before and during your initial consultation, you can assess the lawyer based on things like:
· Practice Volume: In this instance, lawyers are a bit like restaurants. If there are no other cars in the parking lot, that may be a bad sign. However, you should also avoid attorneys with extremely busy practices. If that’s the case, the lawyer you hire will not be doing very much work on your case. Instead, an associate or paralegal will do most of the legwork.
· Fee: Try to work with a mid-priced lawyer. Generally, the cheapest attorneys are inexperienced. And, the high-priced attorneys are not worth it, unless you are charged with one of the aforementioned capital crimes.
· Nature of Practice: The blind referral to an inexperienced lawyer worked out okay in the 1992 classic My Cousin Vinny, but the real world is not the same. An attorney may have done a great job on your cousin’s divorce, but a criminal case is a lot different.
During your consultation, make sure the attorney has a command of the applicable law and a vision for the case.
A lawyer convenient to home, work, and/or school is a significant plus. Driving downtown every time you want to see your lawyer is no bad once or twice, but the trip will get old quick. On a related note, there’s a difference between a “client” and a “customer.” Make sure the attorney treats you like a client, which is more like a partner, as opposed to someone who pays money for a service.
A private attorney often means a better result. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Tarrant County and nearby jurisdictions.