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HOUSTON, TX, July 29, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Houston defense attorney Jack B. Carroll says you can feel alone in shark waters if you are being charged with a crime. "It's a frightening experience. But it is especially scary to be charged with something you didn't do."
Here are some of his clients' stories:
- "I was arrested for check fraud. Someone had stolen my checks and was forging my name to them. They were doing such a good job the bank accepted them."
- "I was arrested for prostitution. Can you imagine how embarrassing that was? I was at a party and some of the girls were charging. I was picked up by association."
- "I was arrested for a crime I did not commit. I was sure I would be another innocent man sitting in prison the rest of my life."
- "My girlfriend and I had too much to drink and decided to take a cab home. But before we left the parking lot of the bar, police stopped us, we were taken to county jail and strip searched."
It could happen to you. And when faced with a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge you can increase your odds of a favorable outcome by consulting a competent criminal defense lawyer--usually one that is board certified in criminal law, said Carroll, who has been a Houston-based criminal defense attorney for 20 years. "There are more than 70,000 attorneys in Texas and less than 2% are Board Certified in Criminal Law. Beware of a lawyer that practices two or more areas of law," he adds.
Carroll says talk to your friends about attorneys, meet with the attorney you are considering, and check on his board certification-- which means the attorney has substantial and relevant experience in this select field of law by an intensive vetting and testing process. Quick tips:
1) Case results tell a lot. If a lawyer doesn't have much to say about prior case results or only talks about dismissals, move on. Win or lose, a lawyer that will go to trial earns the respect of judges and prosecutors. Winning sweetens the pot.
2) Discipline History is something you should check for on the State Bar of Texas website. If the lawyer has been disciplined for professional misconduct, this may indicate a lack of honesty or competence.
3) All hat, no cattle lawyer. Magazine endorsements and organization memberships look good on a website but some of these are bought, not earned. "I once saw a magazine cover touting 'A Sit Down with Houston's Top Criminal Defense Lawyer.' That top lawyer had only been licensed a few years and had little, if any, trial experience," said Carroll.
4) Quick, cheap fix. Many court- appointed lawyers are well intentioned, good lawyers but overworked. The pay is not very good and many times the defendant is required to reimburse the county for the lawyer's fee.
5) Ask Questions: Have you handled a case like mine? How many and what was the outcome?
Will you go to trial if I'm not happy with the settlement offer? How often do you go to trial?
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer isn't a personality contest but reticence on the part of the attorney may be an indication he lacks experience and a plea of not guilty may change to one of begging.
"Remember that tomorrow you may not be the same person as the one charged today, but the crime charged will never change and may have negative consequences for the rest of your life," said Carroll. "As example, I've never seen a category of crime as frought with social stigma and lifetime consequences as sex crimes. Sometimes there is a lifetime requirement of registering as a sex offender," said Carroll.
Jack B. Carroll is a Board Certified Houston-based criminal defense attorney, a member of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The Carroll Law Firm is located in The Lyric Centre, 440 Louisiana, Suite 900, Houston, TX 77002. He can be reached at 713-228-4607.
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