By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
This week I’m counting down the top 5 mistakes people make in hiring a criminal defense attorney.
#1. Hiring a lawyer that pleads everyone guilty.
I approach every case looking for a way to win – not why we should lose. Sometimes the paths to victory are many, sometimes they are wide, and sometimes there is just a sliver of hope. But the slivers are there if you look hard enough. I consider pleading guilty a last-option in most instances in Texas state courts in Collin and Dallas counties.
I rarely question another lawyer’s professional judgment. And let’s be straight – pleading guilty or not guilty is exclusively the client’s decision. But a lawyer’s advice typically plays a very heavy part.
I struggle to think of reasons why a particular lawyer simply never puts the State of Texas to task. Maybe they’re intimidated. Maybe they lack confidence. Maybe they’ve made the immature mistake of sitting in judgment on their client if the client used poor judgment or made a mistake.
Whatever the case may be – trial is an important option and a constitutional right. It should at least be discussed and considered. Not having that option severely restricts your chances for success.
The cure for this is simple. When interviewing your lawyer you should ask them how often they take cases to trial? When was the last time they tried a case? How many cases like yours have they tried in the past couple of years?
The answers will be revealing. I’m not suggesting the “tougher” lawyers are better – but you should consider hiring someone that doesn’t take options off the table and who isn’t afraid to pull the trigger and take the state to trial.
*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 consult an attorney.