Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law
When Do I Need a Criminal Attorney?
When charged with a crime, hiring a trusted criminal defense lawyer needs to be the first thing you do for yourself or a loved one. Here are some ways a reputable attorney can help with legal advice and strategy:
Prior to criminal charges, your attorney may be able to stop the police from filing a case or getting a warrant. But even if the police move forward with a warrant, a criminal lawyer can arrange a time for your low-profile surrender, while also arranging to get you released.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore the warrant. This can result in an embarrassing, public arrest at your workplace or home or an arrest during a routine traffic stop. Not to mention, sorting things out from jail can be very difficult. Often those arrested do not have phone numbers memorized, nor do they have access to funds needed. An attorney can help you devise a plan that can make all the difference in how things play out.
Prior to posting a bond
If an arrest already has occurred and a bond set, your criminal defense attorney may be able to get the bond lowered. Some of the smaller police departments have their own bond systems, and the amount set may cost thousands of dollars more than what the county or judge would expect. An experienced attorney can negotiate bond conditions in return for a lower bond amount. The right legal strategy may save you significant money and jail time.
Before Grand Jury
The Grand Jury is a group of people from the community that meets regularly and votes on which cases have probable cause. When a case is indicted, it means the Grand Jury has decided that a case should proceed through the criminal justice system.
In large counties like Dallas and Tarrant, the Grand Jury may hear hundreds of cases on a given day. The most common would be a police officer reading a basic police report; however, it's also a critical turning point for an experienced attorney to fight your case. While you do not have the right to be present when the Grand Jury decides your case, most counties allow the defense to submit letters and make a presentation to the Grand Jury.
This isn’t always the best way to fight your case, but in the right circumstances, it could offer a prime opportunity to stop the case from going forward. It is not easy to get a Grand Jury to "no-bill," or kick out a case, but when it happens, we save our clients months of anxiety and pain. You can peruse our some of our "no-bill" successes in our case results.
You may be surprised to learn that 98% of cases do not go to trial and end up in plea bargains, but it's the truth. While it's critical to hire a criminal defense attorney who's proven herself in court, plea-bargaining is usually where your lawyer can get you a great deal.
That being said, if your attorney is saying only what you want to hear, you've probably got the wrong attorney. Your lawyer should discuss all aspects of your case and never discuss plea bargains without reviewing all the evidence against you. You should accept nothing less than legal counsel that looks into every possible defense and discusses with you the consequences of any decision.
There are so many ways that a case can be resolved, whether it's a dismissal, reduction, or getting the case off a person’s record as fast as possible. A jury trial is always a last resort because of the immense time and expense of the process, as well as the unpredictable outcome. We want to explore every possible option prior to handing over control to a jury.
While we want to avoid trial at all costs, a good attorney will start planning for it on day one. You need to hire a criminal defense attorney who is not only an expert in criminal law, but also known to succeed in the courtroom. Not all lawyers can put a case together and present it to a jury. When years of a person’s life are at stake, this skill cannot be overstated.
Are you or someone you love facing a criminal charge? See what our clients say, and give us a call today.