Being charged with a white collar crime, or even knowing you are under investigation, is life changing.
The conviction rate is high.
Not only is your freedom at stake, but asset forfeiture laws can strip you of everything you own. There are no guarantees in the law, but this is the time for you to find a highly qualified white collar criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.
With so many defense attorneys in Houston, it is difficult to know who to turn to. You need to have as many facts as possible.
To find the right lawyer for you, here are a few questions to ask – whether you are looking for a federal criminal defense attorney or one who works in state courts.
Before you hire your criminal defense attorney, you want to ask questions about your case, about how the attorney works, and see if you have a rapport and can work together.
You want to be able to ask questions at a free consultation.
You do not want your case to be the first one your attorney has worked on. You want someone with years of experience defending those charged with white collar crimes.
White collar crimes are charged in both state and federal court, so you want to ask about the attorney’s experience working in each one of these forums.
Ideally, your attorney will have experience as a state and federal prosecutor so he or she knows how the other side works and what tactics they use.
This increases your chances of success since the attorney will likely also be familiar with the judges who preside over the cases and what their expectations are of the attorneys and defendants who appear in their courtrooms.
The attorney can anticipate and confront any problems before they arise.
Some state and federal criminal defense attorneys charge by the hour. Others charge a flat rate depending on the nature of the charges against you and the anticipated amount of work that will be involved.
If there is an hourly rate, what is the amount of the retainer? How often will you receive a bill? Is it possible to make payment arrangements?
Keep in mind this is your life at stake. Whether you spend time in prison or remain free can depend on the success of your criminal defense representation. This is not a time to be bargain hunting.
You want your white collar lawyer to bring experience in both taking cases to trial and working with the other side for an outcome that is in your best interest. This means there may be times, after a thorough investigation, that working with the prosecutor to have the charges reduced in exchange for a guilty plea is the best option.
Each case is different. That is why it is important to have good communication with your attorney and confidence that they always are on your side and working for you for the best possible outcome.
You need your criminal defense attorney, whether the charges are in state or federal court, or whether you are under investigation and no charges have yet been filed to:
You need to know whenever anything consequential happens in your case. If the status does not change, will you still get periodic reports?
Also, will the lawyer communicate with you directly or will there be a paralegal or assistant who will primarily be the one with whom you are communicating? If so, you need to meet that person and be sure you are comfortable with him or her being your contact person.
Michael J. Wynne is a Harvard Law educated white collar criminal defense lawyer.
He is a bulldog ready to fight for you. He has experience as a state and federal prosecutor, so knows what to expect from the other side and has a clear understanding of the evidence they will use when building their case against you.