By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
This week I’m counting down the top 5 biggest mistakes people make when hiring a criminal defense attorney.
#3: Hiring an Attorney That Isn’t Qualified
Economists estimate that a criminal record can reduce your lifelong income by as much as -30%. For someone that would normally earn $50k per year, that comes out to a loss of $450,000 over 30 years!
A licensed attorney in the State of Texas can practice virtually any field of law ranging from mergers, bankruptcy, truck crashes all the way to criminal. There are slight exceptions here and there. Just because someone is licensed doesn’t mean they’re qualified or experienced enough to handle your criminal case!
Board certified lawyers are lawyers that have qualified with the State Bar through recommendations from their peers and from taking a test. In Texas, the only designation recognized by the State Bar in board certification is for the general field of “Criminal Law.” While many lawyers hold themselves out as members of organizations such as the “DUI College,” this is not an official designation but more of a private membership. Being board certified is never a bad thing, but it doesn’t give you, as the client, permission to turn your brain off when interviewing that lawyer to see if they are right for your case.
The best way to flesh-out whether an attorney your talking with is qualified for your particular case is to ask pointed questions. Ask how many cases of the same offense have they handled in the past? How familiar are they with the local rules of where your case is pending? What percentage of their over-all case load is your type of case?
The lawyer’s answers will tell you a lot!
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.