A criminal record can impact many aspects of a your life. It is not just the stress and cost of going through the legal system, the consequences of being charged with a crime or being convicted of a crime has long term effects. Even something you might think as simple as pleading guilty to a traffic violation, such as driving without a license, may affect job prospects and the ability to rent an apartment. There are also monetary penalties such as fines that may impact your finances.
When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
You have the right to remain silent when you are being investigated for a crime. This applies whether you are being questioned by police or a detective during an ongoing investigation or if you have been pulled over while driving. Many people forget this right to remain silent, especially when they are driving and have been pulled over. If you have been pulled over, identify yourself, show insurance, then calmly let them know you’d like to speak to a lawyer. If law enforcement comes to your door without a warrant, you have the right to tell them you want to talk to a lawyer first. Do not talk to investigators without speaking to a lawyer.
Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
Attorneys fees will vary depending on the nature of the crime (felony or misdemeanor) and the experience level of the attorney. Defense lawyers usually charge flat fees for each stage of representation. For example, you may be charged one flat rate for a single appearance in court then another additional fee for each court appearance or trial. Criminal law attorneys will ask for their fees in advance. If you cannot afford legal fees, you may qualify for a court appointed lawyer. These lawyers are usually private practicing lawyers who also make themselves available for court appointments to ensure all people have access to the justice system.
How to Find a Lawyer
Call the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) to find a criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers who participate with LRS have completed an application process, are required to carry malpractice insurance, and are in good standing with the State Bar of Texas. The referral is free and the consultation is free but you must be able to afford legal fees to hire the lawyer.
If you are looking for criminal lawyers in Austin (or any other type of lawyer) or wish to learn more about the role of a criminal lawyer in criminal cases, simply call (512) 472-8303. You can also submit an online request by filling out our contact form.