Criminal Defense FAQ's
When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
In order to allow your lawyer ample time to gather the facts and prepare to defend you with a strong criminal defense, it is important that you hire a lawyer as quickly as possible after an arrest. If you have been arrested and cannot afford the bond that has been set for you, a criminal defense lawyer is needed to file a motion to reduce the bond amount.
How Do I Select My Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Gather the names of several criminal defense lawyers and make a list of questions you would like to ask him or her. If the lawyer's office has a website, you can check the answers to many of your questions before meeting with the lawyer. Once you have some answers, narrow your list down and decide on a few lawyers to interview. You should arrange meetings with at least a few criminal defense lawyers to make sure your personalities are a good fit (many lawyers, including David Kiatta, do not charge for this initial legal consultation in Houston area). Some key points to look for in an lawyer might be:
- Does the lawyer specialize in what you need? For example, in a criminal matter, you will want a board-certified attorney who specializes in criminal defense, such as David Kiatta. David provides criminal defense in Harris County, Fort Bend County and Wharton County.
- How experienced is the lawyer in defending crimes such as yours? The lawyer can make no guarantees to your outcome, but knowing how many other criminal defense cases like yours he/she has had should be noted.
- Does the lawyer bill by a flat fee or hourly? If flat fee, what is that fee? If hourly, what is the hourly rate? What additional costs must the lawyer discuss with you prior to accumulating? Will the lawyer work with your financial situation and spread out payments?
- Is there a written contract explaining the agreement, including cost and services included?
- How will you reach the lawyer in the event that you have questions? What is his/her policy for returning calls and emails? What if you have questions after hours or on weekends?
What Should I Expect From a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
- Honest, straight-forward legal advice, including both the good and bad points of your criminal defense case. Note: Any criminal defense lawyer who assures or attempts to assure a particular outcome to the legal case should not be hired.
- Your interests first, above all else. He/she should never make agreements or deals without your input or approval.
- Clear and prompt communication. He/she should share information about the legal case without waiting for you to ask.
- Copies of all legal documentation related to your case.
- The lawyer should follow your directions, unless you have asked him/her to do something unethical. Remember, you are the client and the one who is paying for legal representation.
What Are My Legal Rights If I Am Arrested?
A few of your basic rights are:
- The right to remain silent ( It is rarely in your best interest to talk to police with out talking to an criminal defense lawyer first).
- The right to an attorney (if you cannot afford one, you have the right to request that one be appointed to defend you).
- The right to have this attorney present during any questioning by law enforcement officials or the prosecuting attorneys office.
- The right to end any questioning at the time of your choosing.
- The right to a fair and speedy trial.
- The right to NOT make any statements; any statements made by you can be used against you in criminal court.
How is Bail Set?
Many things are considered when determining the amount of a bond, such as:
- The charge against the accused.
- Prior record of the accused, including any history of sexual related or family violence charges.
- Whether the accused is at risk for leaving the country.
- Whether the accused is considered a threat to the community.
How Do I Arrange For a Bail Bond?
A family member or friend wishing to aid an arrested individual should first contact a criminal defense lawyer, such as David Kiatta (713-785-8005 - email), or a bail bond company for help. The lawyer or the bonding company can check the status of the arrested individual. When the processing is complete and the arrested person is eligible to make bond and be released, the bonding company or the lawyer will contact the family member or friend and let him/her know the details of the bond, including costs, which criminal court, and when the accused should be released.
If the bond amount is high, be sure to discuss it with a criminal defense lawyer prior to posting to see if he/she can get the amount of the bond reduced.
What Do I Do After The Bond Is Posted?
If a person is released on bond, it is crucial that he/she follow the rules of the bond and also arrive on time to all criminal court appointments. If any of the regulations are violated, the bond can be revoked, and the person will be returned to jail. It is also important to hire a criminal defense lawyer to make sure your rights are protected throughout the process.