What does a criminal defense lawyer do for me?
Hoping for the best is not a strategy. Getting the right lawyer in your corner is. My mission is to make your experience easier by – at every step of the process – explaining the process, your rights, the evidence, and your possible outcomes.
If you, a friend, or family member is facing criminal charges –– you need someone not only with professional experience but someone who is on your side, fighting for YOU. Now, if you’re here you may have already started the process of figuring out how to find the absolute best criminal defense lawyer for you. You might, however, be wondering what value having the right on your side can really bring. Sadly, many people don’t realize how serious their case is until it’s too late and the damage is done. You don’t know what you don’t know, but the right criminal defense lawyer knows or can find out everything you need to know about your case. The right criminal defense lawyer can help navigate the criminal justice system and find the best resolution that fits your goals and needs. Please find a summary of some of the things my team and I can do for you.
- Evaluate your case & charges
This is the step where we break down your criminal charge, the evidence against you, investigate to find evidence in your favor, and mount the best criminal defenses. Putting all this together provides you with a realistic evaluation of the case prospects so you can decide how to move forward. All information you provide us is 100% confidential and cannot be used against you in any way by the police or prosecutor. You can schedule a FREE case evaluation today.
2. Recommend a strategy for defense
At the Law Offices of Mike Howard, once one of our legal assistants gathers some basic information about you and your case, you will get scheduled for a consultation with Mr. Howard. This is where Mr. Howard will go into what strategy or approach for defense will work best for your case.
3. Educate you on laws and rules that are specific to you and your case
Not knowing what to expect is frightening, especially when a lot is on the line. We explain the law, the process, and possible outcomes. We go over specific laws that may apply to your case that can affect how you decide to handle your case and the possible outcome. At the end of the day, we believe you should fully understand your case and feel as comfortable as possible even when dealing with something as uncomfortable as a criminal charge.
4. Give you breakdowns and insights about the process
Your attorney and your legal assistant will act as a team almost as your coaches so that you know what to expect during the process. If you’re facing a criminal charge you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused. Going through the court process for the first time can be frightening. But part of that fear is rooted in uncertainty – what exactly will this process be like? What do you have to do, and what can you expect? The best defense attorneys can and will update you with assessments as the case proceeds throughout its stages as well as what is likely to happen next and whether it makes sense to accept a prosecutor’s plea bargain, to reject it, or to push for something better.
5. Stop charges before their filed
Many times a good criminal justice attorney can meet with the District Attorney or federal prosecutor after an arrest, but before charges are formally filed. A lawyer can present evidence and witness statements that may give prosecutors the whole picture, not just what the police or alleged “victim” has said. This approach can lead to the prosecutor rejecting the case outright, or the grand jury dismissing the case. Sometimes prosecutors can decide to file lesser charges such as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
6. Represent you and your case in court
We literally stand for you in court, standing between the full power of the State of Texas and you. Every court and jurisdiction is different and it pays to know the local rules and practices to be able to get things done. Go here for more information on the court process.
7. Compile any evidence and witness statements
You have the right to get full discovery of all the evidence the prosecutor has against you. This includes all evidence: police reports, witness statements, video/audio, pictures, scientific evidence, et cetera. Your lawyer requests discovery and the prosecutor must provide it within a reasonable amount of time (how much time varies based on the case, type of evidence, et cetera). A good lawyer then reviews all the evidence and goes over it with you so you can fully understand your case. You should not be in the dark about what the evidence against you is! Before showing you any evidence, however, your lawyer is legally required to redact any sensitive information (like social security numbers, home addresses of witnesses, et cetera). The law does not allow you to have copies of the evidence other than your own statement and anything publicly available.
8. Negotiate sentencing or alternative sentencing options you may have
If the case strategy is to negotiate charges, your attorney will negotiate with the district attorney to reduce charges, reduce potential sentencing or consequences, or even a case dismissal.
9. Explain & Understand Plea Bargain Process
In almost every case, after reviewing their file, the prosecutor will make some sort of plea bargain offer. This is the sentence they would recommend to the judge if you pleaded guilty instead of going to trial. Your lawyer is legally required to communicate any and all offers to you in a timely manner. Your lawyer should discuss the offer with you so you can decide whether to accept, reject, or attempt to negotiate a better deal. Depending on the strength of the evidence and the strength of the defense investigation and legal defenses, that initial plea bargain offer may be just a starting place and may lead to a drastically reduced sentence.
10. Prepare you for Court Hearings & Trial
Whether your case goes all the way to trial or goes before the judge in a plea hearing, you need to know what to expect and how to handle yourself properly. Your lawyer will prepare you by letting you know what to expect and what role you may play in the proceedings. Usually, this involves some practice testifying so you communicate clearly and effectively. Again, at the Law Office of Mike Howard, we do everything we can to take the anxiety and fear out of the experience so you can be yourself.
When you are facing a criminal accusation, above all else you need to feel confident that you’re in the right hands. The process within itself can already be stressful, your defense attorney is there to help you in all the ways we listed above.
At the Law Office of Mike Howard, we bring together a unique blend of experience, legal knowledge, and a reputation for both integrity and vigorous defense of our clients. We approach our clients and their cases differently than a lot of criminal lawyers. We get to know our clients as people. We make sure they understand every aspect of their case. Respect, empathy, and compassion drive us. We are responsive and use technology to ensure we meet our clients where they are. All of this not only leads to happier clients but better results. If you or someone you know needs assistance with a criminal justice case, take the next step and schedule a case evaluation so my team and I can help.