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What to look for in a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

Legal Services

When you’re facing criminal charges, one of the most important decisions you make is who you choose to represent you in court. With all of the options for legal representation out there, it can be overwhelming knowing what to look for and how to choose an attorney you trust. A criminal defense attorney is a lawyer who handles criminal cases, usually in a specific geographic area and works on their own or in a smaller firm or partnership. 

Choosing the right attorney can make a huge difference in your experience during the trial and the outcome of your case. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on the right criminal defense attorney to handle your situation. 

Factors to consider when hiring a criminal defense attorney 

Knowledge of local laws

Every state has its own laws and legal processes. This makes it extremely important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the proceedings and legal structure in your area. In some states, laws even vary from one courthouse to another. So hiring a local attorney will give you an advantage at navigating the specific requirements of your county. Each district also has its own District Attorney. A criminal defense attorney who is familiar with your area may have familiarity and rapport with the D.A. and can work with them to negotiate plea deals in advance. They will also be more familiar with local law enforcement and will be able to give you more local insight into how cases like yours are typically handled in your areas. 

Areas of expertise 

IN addition to finding an attorney who is familiar with local laws, choose an attorney with experience representing people with charges similar to yours. Different attorneys have varying expertise in different offenses, and the more experienced an attorney has represented defendants with your specific charges, the more knowledge they’ll have on the complexities of those particular cases. When meeting with an attorney for the first time, make sure to ask them specifically what kind of cases they have worked in the past to make sure they have experience that aligns with the type of representation you are looking for. 

Trust and Rapport 

You will have to work closely with your attorney as they sort through the specific details of your case to give you the most favorable outcome possible. You need to build and maintain strong communication during this process which requires a great deal of trust between the two of you. In the initial meeting with a potential criminal defense attorney, pay attention to the general vibe you are feeling when talking to the attorney. Be wary of a lawyer who is feeding you blanked assurances or promising too much or asking you to sign any contracts or documents before giving you time to review them. You need to be able to have a transparent and trusting relationship with your attorney so that you both remain on the same page. A trustworthy attorney will be honest with you about the probable outcomes of the cases and will work with you to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get to know a potential attorney before making a final decision. 

Finding the right criminal defense attorney can change your entire experience during your trial. Make sure to do your research and speak to attorneys in person. What you read online isn’t always the best representation of the information you need to know to make an informed decision. Make in-person consultations with possible attorneys to find the right fit and get your questions answered in regards to your specific case. 

If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges and are looking for an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney, call Christopher T. Gore to find out more about how he can help represent your case.

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Why NOT Hiring a Lawyer Will Cost You

Meeting with your Houston Lawyer

It’s not a secret that lawyers can be expensive. Attorneys have to navigate the very complicated world of the legal system. Since no two cases are the same, it extremely important to hire an attorney that knows how to handle your unique situation.

When you’re facing criminal charges, there are a lot of important decisions ahead of you. One of those decisions is choosing representation for your day in court. You have the option of hiring a paid attorney or being assigned a public defender.

A public defender is a court-appointed lawyer that will handle your case at no direct cost to you. Court-appointed lawyers are better than no attorney at all, but they still come at a cost. It might be tempting to choose a court-appointed attorney to avoid paying high legal fees. But the truth is, even if you go the court-appointed route, you will still end up paying in one way or another.

The cost of not hiring a qualified attorney can result in more significant consequences down the line. So what is the cost of NOT hiring a lawyer?

The real cost of choosing a public defender

When you choose a public defender over hiring a paid lawyer, even if you enter a plea, you will still end up paying for a lawyer. The cost will come in the form of additional fees included in your court costs. Many states, including Texas, make defendants repay a portion or all of the fees for their court-appointment attorney through a process called recoupment. In 2016, the state collected more than 11 million dollars from defendants who were represented by court-appointed attorneys.

In addition to the monetary amount you may pay for a court-appointed attorney, you will spend much more of your time and wellbeing when you opt-out of paid legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the inner workings of the justice system surrounding your crime. They will have connections and know how to communicate with the prosecution to get you the best deal.

When you choose a court-appointed lawyer, you will not be able to select the attorney you are paired with. They might not have experience dealing with cases like yours. They also have a much more significant caseload. Because of the high volume of cases they represent, their primary motivation is to move cases through the system as quickly as possible. They are less likely to take cases to trial than a hired attorney. When you work with a court-appointed attorney, you will have much less input into how your case is handled than you would with an attorney you hire.

The best course of action is to hire a lawyer that has experience handling complex cases like yours and will have your best interests in mind. It’s tempting to try and learn the logistics of your case yourself online, but online advice is no replacement for an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you are looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, or need advice on legal issues including domestic violence, DWIs, shoplifting, or other misdemeanors, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can represent your case.

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What Information Will Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Share With You

Criminal Defense Attorney CHRISTOPHER T. GORE

When you’re convicted of a crime or pending an investigation, it may seem like you rights are being stripped away. It can be a stressful time if you don’t know what to expect and how you can prepare for the future. Your lawyer wants to help you feel confident in the course of action you’re taking, and that includes educating you about your rights moving forward.

In addition to asking you questions about what happened, there is important information that your attorney will share with you information about your legal rights. There are certain things you need to do, or not do, to avoid waiving your legal rights and compromising your defense. 

The right to remain silent 

Upon arrest, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and if you forfeit that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. It’s critical not to speak to anyone about the charges against you. Anything you say to family or friends during this time could end up being presented in court if those people are asked to testify. If you’re worried about how to approach this topic around friends, here are a few responses you can turn to if you are asked about the case: 

  • “My lawyer said I’m not allowed to talk about the case to anyone”
  • “If I tell you anything, the prosecution could subpoena you, and you will have to testify.”
  • “If you don’t believe me, call my lawyer and ask.”

Your right to attorney-client privilege 

Everything that you talk about with your attorney is confidential and will remain between the two of you. While nothing you tell your lawyer in private will be revealed, this only applies to situations when the two of you are speaking privately. If a third-party is present or someone else overhears the information legally, then that information may no longer be confidential. Similarly, if you are communicating with your lawyer from jail, be cautious of other people listening in on those phone calls. If possible, request a line that is reserved for confidential attorney-client conversations. 

Your right to refuse unlawful search and seizure 

If you’re part of an ongoing investigation and haven’t been arrested yet, at some point, the police may search your home or workplace in an attempt to find evidence. To do this, they need a search warrant signed by a judge. If they have a warrant, by law, you must allow them to enter. If they do not have a warrant and you do not consent to a search, tell them that and them contact your lawyer as soon as possible. 

Once your lawyer has explained your rights, now is the time for you to ask any clarifying questions you have about what they’ve told you. Ask questions about the specifics of your case and what you should expect moving forward. 

It can be tempting to search online for information about similar cases to see what to expect. However, advice on the internet is not reliable and should not be used as a replacement for advice from your attorney. 

If you are facing criminal charges in Houston and need a criminal defense attorney, find out how Christopher T. Gore can help represent your case. 

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What Information Will Your Lawyer Need To Assist Your Long-Term Defense?

Important legal information for Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

What Information Will Your Lawyer Need To Assist Your Long-Term Defense? 

When you’re accused of a crime, your lawyer needs specific information about what happened so they can prepare for your longer-term defense. This includes preparing suppression motions, preparing for the trial, negotiating plea deals, and preparing for sentencing. Usually, the facts will be enough to refuse a false story from the prosecution. This makes it even more crucial to tell your lawyer exactly what happened and be forthcoming from the start. 

Here is a breakdown of the information your lawyer will need to build the best case for your defense. 

What happened on the day of your arrest?

Give your lawyer a timeline of where you went, who you saw, and what you did that day. Try to remember specific details like when you woke up, how much you slept, what you ate, and any medications you took. 

What were the circumstances surrounding your arrest? 

Your lawyer will need to know how you approached by law enforcement. Did they have a warrant for your arrest? Recall at what point the police told you were under arrest or if there was a moment when you felt you were not free to leave. After the initial encounter with the police, what restrictions were immediately places on your freedom. Recall when and what time you were arrested, how you were physically restrained, and whether you were taken to jail. Try to provide as much detail as possible about your encounter with the police. 

What happened immediately following your arrest?

It’s common for law enforcement to transport you to their stated for further questioning following the arrest. Try as best you can to remember what questions they asked you and let your lawyer know how they interrogated you. If possible, recall how long you spent talking to the police, who was present during the questioning and if the interview was recorded. YIt’sour attorney needs to know if the officers took notes during the interrogation or if the session was recorded. They will also need to know what questions were asked, whether or not you signed any documents. Give your lawyer details about what you discussed with the officers while you were in their custody. 

What evidence and witnesses did the police obtain?

If the event took place somewhere with witnesses, it’s likely the police have identified them for potential questioning. Try your best to remember if there were any witnesses at the and scene if you saw them. A witness can also be someone who heard about the crime or anyone you spoke to about the crime. Your lawyer will ask you to provide names and contact information for these witnesses that you know personally as well as the status of your relationship with the witness. In addition to witnesses, think of any potential evidence the police collected from the scene. Was there any evidence that could have been left behind that the officers did not see?

We hope this article sheds some light on the information you should be ready to share with your attorney to get the ball rolling on your defense. While we hope you learned what to expect, remember that content online is not to be interpreted as legal advice. You need to speak to a qualified defense attorney who can provide the best information on how to move forward. 

If you’re looking for a defense attorney in Houston to represent your case, call the offices of Christoper T. Gore to learn more about setting up a consultation.

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What to Expect at Your First Meeting With Your Criminal Defense Attorney

Coffee Meeting with Criminal Defense Attorney

It’s common to feel a bit nervous or anxious before meeting with your attorney for the first time. You should know that your attorney is here for you, and wants you to feel comfortable talking to them about the sensitive information in your case. The more information they have, and the more comfortable you feel talking to them, the better they will be able to represent you. 

The first meeting is an opportunity for you to get to know each other and for you to tell your story. This is also when your attorney will ask f for the information they need to begin crafting your defense.

Regardless of why you’ve hired a criminal defense attorney, there are a few things you can anticipate will happen during this initial meeting. 

Come prepared with necessary information

During this meeting, your attorney will ask you for all of the essential information about yourself. This information can include, but is not limited to: 

  • Contact information including name, address, date of birth, email and social security number 
  • Your current Immigration status
  • Education history and status
  • Your arrest record including what happened with the case and if you served any jail time, probation, or fines you paid. 
  • Past and present employment status and work history
  • Marital status
  • If you have any illnesses or recent hospitalization 

Having this information ready for your attorney will save time during the meeting and allow you to spend more time discussing the case and asking questions. 

Come ready with specific questions 

To make the most out of your time on this first meeting, begin thinking of questions, you want to ask your attorney before you arrive at their office. Ask questions about how frequently you will meet with or hear from your attorney, and what you can expect moving forward. 

Listen to your lawyer and ask clarifying questions

It’s important to ask questions you have about your case and trial, but remember to listen to what your lawyer has to say. They will likely have done a bit of their own research. Now is the time to listen to their findings and ask any clarifying questions about things that may be confusing or new to you. Lastly, make a note of important dates or events you need to prepare for that will affect your trial. During this meeting, take note of the timeline of your case and any other proceedings. You will need this information to know how to prepare for what’s to come.  

Depending on your situation, what happens during your first meeting could vary. 

It’s smart to research what to expect, but always remember that what you read on the internet is not to be confused with actual legal advice. A qualified Houston criminal defense attorney knows the latest Texas state laws and is there to support you throughout your trial. 

If you are facing a criminal offense in Houston, call the offices of Christoper T. Gore and learn more about how he can represent your case. 

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How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

Criminal Defense Legal Team Can Help

Depending on your crime and charges, you may be facing severe consequences and penalties. Despite what you know about your case, you need a qualified attorney to put you in the best position to move forward. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands your state’s system and can speak the language of the prosecutors trying your case. An attorney who is familiar with your situation and has handled similar cases will help level the playing field and make a case for your defense.

Here are just some of the ways you will benefit from having a criminal defense attorney represent you. 

Analyze the charges against you 

Sometimes, it can be challenging to know how the charges against you were decided, and what those charges mean. Your lawyer will be able to look into your specific circumstances and make sure that the case against you aligns with what actually happened. They will be allowed to visit the scene of the crime and interview witnesses in your case. Your lawyer will also have access to official reports, documents, and physical evidence that the prosecution may use against you. They will be able to identify if there are any holes in the evidence or gaps in proof that could help prove reasonable doubt in your case. 

Investigate arresting officer’s conduct 

There are times when the offices involved in charges against you did not follow protocol when collecting evidence. This is a violation of your constitutional rights, and an attorney can help determine if this happened in your case and how unlawful evidence can be dropped from the case. 

Help you understand what is happening

The legal system contains many moving pieces and can seem complicated if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Your attorney can help you understand what’s happening with your proceedings. Beyond that, they will protect you from being taken advantage of or being tricked or coerced into saying things you don’t want to say. 

Build a case for your defense

Perhaps you have an alibi for the crime or acted in self-defense before your arrest. Your lawyer will gather your case’s information to build your defense in a way that weakens the case against you. This could mean finding holes in the evidence or determining the reliability of the witnesses. 

Help you make decisions

Once your attorney gathers all of the information they need on your case, they’ll be able to give you advice on which choices to make moving forward. They can foresee what may or may not happen at trial.  Your attorney will advise you on whether or not you should take a plea, whether you should testify, or any provide strategic solutions that could help the outcome of your case. 

Represent you at your trial 

Your attorney will work and speak on your behalf in front of the judge or jury. A seasoned criminal law attorney will know the right things to say to present your defense. 

At the time, it may seem like a good idea to get advice from the internet and attempt to represent yourself. However, online information should not take the place of real legal advice from a qualified attorney. Every case is different, and you need an attorney that can help you make the best choices to benefit your future. 

If you’re looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, call the offices of Christopher T. Gore. Tell us about your case, and we will let you know how we can best represent you moving forward.

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Court Appointed vs Pro Bono vs. Paid Attorney – What is the Difference?

Houston Criminal Lawyer

When facing criminal charges, there are a lot of decisions you need to make before your day in court. One of those decisions is choosing whether to hire a private attorney, use a court-appointed attorney, or accept help Pro Bono.  In this article, we are going to outline the differences between a court-appointed lawyer, a pro bono lawyer, and a lawyer you pay for out of pocket.

Court Appointed Attorney  

If you’re charged with a criminal offense and don’t have money or resources to find legal representation, the court can appoint a public defender that will handle your case at no cost to you. The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution gives every citizen the right to an attorney for criminal proceedings. To qualify for a court-appointed attorney, you have to meet specific low-income criteria and prove you are unable to afford a lawyer on your own.

While court-appointed attorneys are more helpful than no representation at all, most public defenders handle many cases at a time. This means that they have limited resources to dedicate to each client. They may not have the time to dedicate substantial attention to your case depending on their existing workload.

To qualify for a court-appointed attorney, you may need to reference any current financial documents that prove to the court that you don’t have the funds to hire a private lawyer. Your financial situation can be calculated in different ways, including, your income to expense ratio, the state or county you live in, and the cost of private lawyers in your area.

Pro Bono Attorney

A Pro Bono Attorney agrees to take on your case, either the entire case or a significant portion, at no cost to you or any other third party. Compared to a court-appointed attorney who gets paid by the government or a legal aid organization, pro bono lawyers volunteer their own time with no expectation of repayment.

Sometimes attorney’s take Pro Bono cases for specific press or marketing opportunities, or if it is a case that has a significant personal meaning to them or their area of law.

While it may seem like a great idea to accept free council, it’s important to remember that the attorney is volunteering their time. It’s likely that they’ll set very definite boundaries of what they will do and when they will be available to you during the case. You may have limited access to them if they are handling other cases, and it may be more challenging to get exactly what you want out of the agreement.

Paid Attorney

If you can afford it, it is always recommended that you hire a private attorney to represent you. Many lawyers will give you options to make payments in installments, or pay off your balance over time.

Hiring and paying an attorney is the only way to guarantee that all of your specific needs are met and that the attorney will be working for you directly throughout the process. Especially in criminal proceedings, when the stakes are high, you want someone on your side that is working for you, without any other external agenda.

Every case is different. Be sure to contact an experienced attorney to guarantee that your questions are answered and you are on the right path moving forward.

This article is not intended to replace actual legal advice, specific to your situation. While information online is useful at helping you understand specific laws and manage your expectations, you should always consult an attorney in person before making any decisions regarding your case.

If you are looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, or advice on legal issues including DWIs, domestic violence, shoplifting, or other offenses, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can best represent your case.

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Finding the Right Houston Criminal Lawyer

Finding the Right Attorney

Just like choosing any other service, choosing the right Houston criminal lawyer is a big decision to make. Before committing, it’s essential to do research and know what you’re looking for to make an informed decision. So how do you choose the best Houston lawyer for your needs?

It doesn’t matter if you need a criminal defense lawyer, DWI attorney, assault lawyer, marijuana attorney or another type of representation. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when choosing which lawyer will represent you during this time.

Open communication

One of the main things you need to pay attention to your relationship with your attorney is how the two of you communicate. Potential red flags to look out for is your lawyer telling you what you need, rather than asking you what it is that you want.

Not every lawyer is going to be a good candidate to represent you in the trial. Your attorney should also be transparent with you and let you know if they think you are a good fit for your case. Not everyone can handle the pressure of a trial. Lawyers are used to this type of stress, but they are not the ones that will have to live with the outcome, you are. That’s why it’s crucial for your lawyer to list to you and your needs.

Also, pay attention to the rapport you keep with the attorney. You should be able to speak to them comfortably and easily without feeling judged or attacked. Ultimately, you need to choose someone that you feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with order for them to help you as best they can. The more your lawyer knows, the more they can help you.

Communicate your needs

A lawyer should present you with all of the possible outcomes, and never make promises of guaranteed results that they cannot control. Your defense lawyer should lay out the pros and cons of each option for your case. Remember that you are their client. Therefore you should be the one setting the expectations of what you want. Be open with your lawyer and tell them your expected outcomes. They should respond with facts and advice based on what you’ve told them and what they anticipate might happen based on the details of the case.

An attorney who doesn’t listen to your needs doesn’t have your best interests in mind. You want to choose a lawyer that cares about you and is not only in it for the money.

Come prepared

The first conversation when meeting a new attorney can say a lot about your potential relationship. That first meeting should make you feel comfortable and answer questions that you have about the process. Come prepared with questions about their cost, and know what your budget is. This meeting is an excellent time to talk about payment options and make sure that you can both comfortably move forward on the same page.

In Houston, certain crimes carry much more weight than others. If you’re looking for a shoplifting attorney, marijuana attorney, sexual or aggravated assault lawyer or domestic violence attorney, you need to make sure that you find someone that has experience handling these specific cases.

If you find yourself in a situation such as this or have questions about white collar criminal defense in Houston, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can help you with your specific case.