Court Appointed Lawyer or Hired Counsel?
If you have been charged in Travis County, you may be weighing your options between going with a court appointed attorney or hiring counsel. No one is ever planning to get arrested, so you might not be ready to pay for representation. Maybe you will have to borrow or put it on your credit card.
If you are in this situation, consider that a single attorney in Travis County was appointed 783 cases last year. And she has company. Many other attorneys represented 500 or more last year. And this is only counting their appointed criminal cases. Some have other practice areas and take on paying clients in addition to their indigent defense work. You don’t have to take my word for it. This is public record.
783 cases mean that, on average, this attorney was assigned more than two cases per day. Now think about your own case. Would it be possible for an attorney with that kind of workload to work your case properly? To examine the evidence, file motions on your behalf, and negotiate your best plea with a prosecutor? I would argue that it’s not likely.
I hear the stories. Attorneys who do not return calls. Attorneys who haven’t even met with their clients or communicate what is happening with the case. I have heard of clients who got warrants issued because their attorney did not let them know about their court date.
It isn’t right. Justice should not be reserved for those who can afford it. But it is the unfortunate reality. And when a warrant issues, it isn’t the attorney who spends the night in jail. It’s his client.
So, if you’re considering whether to hire counsel, remember that what you are fighting for lasts much longer than today. It could mean the difference between having a criminal history for the rest of your life, and getting it expunged. It could mean spending less time in jail, and it could mean spending less on fines and court costs that can often equal or surpass the costs of representation. How much is your life worth? How much is your permanent record worth?
If you are considering your options, call 512-677-5003 today for a consultation – it’s completely free. And if you decide to hire me, I accept credit cards and payment plans are available. Don’t give up without a fight.