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Do I need to hire a lawyer or can I go the court appointed attorney route?

by Jerry W. Tidwell Jr. on July 26, 2011 in News

Although fees are a major concern in hiring an attorney, fees should not be the only concern. There are 2 issues you should be aware of if you go the court appointed/public defender route. First, court appointed does not mean free. If you plead to the case in exchange for a plea bargain from the prosecutor or go to trial and are convicted, many jurisdictions will still assess the court approved fee against you as part of your court costs — so you still end up paying for the attorney. Second, you do not get to pick your attorney if court appointed or the public defender. If you are able to hire the attorney, then you have the advantage of interviewing and making the decision who represents you. Fees are a consideration hiring an attorney, however, some attorneys will make accommodations if you express a sincere desire for them to represent you.

I would strongly caution anyone against waiving their right to counsel and speaking directly with the prosecutor. As the criminally accused, anything you say can be used against you. Additionally, the Collin Co prosecutors are very good at the “hard sale” in convincing you their plea offer is the same or better than if you had an attorney. However, if they do offer legal advice (which as the prosecutor, they do not represent you and should not give legal advice) it may not be “completely” accurate and may only cover the plea itself and fail to inform you of collateral consequences. Additionally, the prosecutor will not tell you if there are potential legal deficiencies with their case (such as an illegal search) or possible witness problems. As always, if you think you should speak with an attorney, you probably should.

If I may be of assistance, I encourage you call my office at (972) 234-8208 or email me at jwtidelljr@tidwell-law.net to set up an appointment and discuss your case.

Disclaimer The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.  I invite you to contact me and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting me does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to me until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.