Tagged: criminal law

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can put you under a lot of pressure, so you’ll want to quickly hire a lawyer. Before you pick the first defense attorney who pops up in your Google search, though, take the time to ask some important questions. They’ll help you hire an attorney you feel comfortable with and think is most capable of achieving a successful outcome for you in court.Here are five questions to ask before hiring a criminal defense lawyer:

Is the initial consultation free?

Most criminal lawyers offer the first consultation for free. This is your chance to get to know each other and get a reading on whether you could have a cooperative relationship. In this meeting, the lawyer should ask about your criminal charges, the details of your arrest, your previous criminal history, and your educational and employment background. At the end of the meeting, the attorney will have a better sense of what to expect in your case and will give you a quote for their fees and services.

Is the defense attorney experienced in handling cases similar to yours?

When you’re facing criminal charges, you need to feel confident about your attorney’s experience and capabilities. Ask questions about the lawyer’s educational background and criminal defense experience. To find out more about their professional experience, ask about the percentage of cases they handle for clients facing charges similar to yours, what kind of relationship they have with prosecutor’s office, and how often their clients go to trial.

Although there are many capable “general practice” lawyers, you need someone experienced in criminal law and who has dealt with many cases similar to yours.

What is the lawyer’s opinion on your case?

A criminal defense lawyer with years of practice in cases like yours will be able to give you a professional opinion about what you may expect. Your lawyer should not only answer your questions, but should also inform you about your options, what is in your favor or working against you, and how the whole process will work.

It’s unethical for a lawyer to guarantee specific results, however. Beware of anyone who promises a certain outcome.

Get answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

Is the firm equipped to handle your case?

Putting a case together requires a lot of behind-the-scenes research and logistics work. So, you want to choose a lawyer who has enough qualified staff to manage the details of your case. This is not the time to be David facing down Goliath! A one or two person firm, for example, may not have the resources you need to effectively stand up against the manpower in the District Attorney’s office.

Other questions to ask about the firm include:

  • Who will represent me in court, you or someone else?
  • Who should I contact with questions?
  • What’s the best way to get in touch?
  • Will the firm handle appeals?
  • Can I meet everyone who will be working on my case?

Learn about our areas of practice.

How much do you charge, and how are the fees structured?

Before hiring an attorney, have a direct conversation about their fees. You’ll want to work with the best lawyer you can afford without creating a financial burden for yourself.

Some lawyers will charge an initial retainer plus an hourly rate. Their rates can vary greatly and can get expensive if your trial lasts several months. Other lawyers charge a flat fee for pretrial motions and another rate if your case goes to court. Make sure you understand every service they’ll provide and how they charge for each.

No matter how their fees are structured, the lawyer charging the highest price may not be the most qualified for your case. Do be prepared, however, to pay more for a criminal defense attorney who has trial experience and a great reputation for aggressive representation.

Asking these questions before hiring a criminal defense lawyer should help you select the best attorney for your situation.

Contact a Chattanooga Defense Lawyer

Contact us at 423-531-2800 if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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Misdemeanor charges in Tennessee

A misdemeanor is a criminal conviction with penalties of up to a year of jail time. Misdemeanors are usually punishable with a fine, probation, jail time, or a combination including of all these. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies but more serious than infractions.  

What Crimes are Misdemeanors?

What’s considered a misdemeanor varies by jurisdiction. Generally, crimes like vandalism, public intoxication, trespassing, theft under $1,000.00, DUI, and disorderly conduct are misdemeanors.

Related topic: Three Reasons to Hire a Defense Attorney When Charged with a Felony

Misdemeanor Charges in Tennessee

In Tennessee, there are three classes of misdemeanors: A, B, and C. A misdemeanor in Tennessee carries these penalties:

  • Class A: Up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or fines up to $2,500. Examples include domestic assault, DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Class B: Not more than six months in jail and/or fines up to $500. Examples include prostitution and reckless driving.
  • Class C: Not more than 30 days in jail and/or fines up to $50. Examples include speeding and public intoxication.

Although misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, misdemeanor charges do go on your record for life. They can affect your ability to land a job, buy a house, or get licenses you need. Employers are generally less concerned with misdemeanors than with felonies, but that can vary. It depends on the employer, the nature of the crime, and how recently the crime was committed. For example, a public intoxication conviction that’s 15 years old may not be an issue, but a recent prostitution charge could keep you from getting a job.

A misdemeanor charge is something to take seriously, because a conviction typically can’t be expunged and will forever stay on your permanent record. That’s why it’s important to quickly hire a criminal attorney with experience handling cases like yours.

Related topic: How Arrest Warrants Work

Even if you’re not convicted, simply having a dismissed charge or an arrest for a misdemeanor can negatively impact your job prospects, so it’s always a good idea to work with a criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer may work with you to get your record expunged.

Facing Misdemeanor Charges in Tennessee? Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal charges often result in fines, jail time, stress, and even job loss. If you need help addressing your Class A, B, or C misdemeanor charges, contact our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys today at 423-531-2800 for a free consultation.

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what-to-do-if-charged-with-a-dui

There are many occasions to have a few drinks, but you must drink responsibly. The impact of a DUI charge can affect your rights, record, and future. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI/DWI in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to hire a trustworthy criminal attorney to handle your charges. With the right attorney, you improve your chances of receiving diminished charges, an acquittal, or dismissal. Regardless of the number of offenses, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are about to be arrested or have already been charged with a DUI.

Know Your Rights

In the event that you are arrested, it is important to know your rights. The primary right you have, under the Fifth Amendment, is to remain silent. If you are being charged, it is true that anything you say can and will be used against you by the prosecution. Remain calm and polite, and do not answer any questions until your lawyer is present. Professional law enforcement should respect this right. If you feel pressured to speak without representation, make sure to take note of the name of the officer and any actions they took that made you uncomfortable.

Know Your Charges

There is no room for error when your freedom is at stake. From the moment of your arrest, you should be attentive to every interaction or test that is asked of you. Even the best trained officers and analysts can make mistakes and inaccurately conduct your breathalyzer or blood sample. Various physical indicators are also used to look for alcohol impairment. However, showing any number of these indicators does not mean this is the result of a DUI. Having an experienced criminal attorney review your arrest details as soon as possible will maximize your chance at a strong defense.

Know Your Attorney

The most detrimental decision you can make is to hastily hire a general practice lawyer not familiar with the specific charges in your case. To receive the best outcome, it will take an experienced criminal lawyer well versed in DUI charges within Tennessee. As with many life-altering decisions, take the time to familiarize yourself with all the necessary resources and requirements that will give you the positive results you need. Having a skilled attorney that handles DUI charges in Tennessee will be your best fighting chance for winning your case.

Hire a DUI Attorney

At Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk, we provide the experience and knowledge to give you the best possible outcome. Call us at 423-531-2800 or contact us online for a free consultation if you are ready to discuss your options.

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