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A real criminal defense lawyer is a devoted lawyer who makes his living by defending people who are under investigation or charged with a crime.
It’s important when hiring a criminal defense lawyer to
hire a real “criminal defense lawyer”.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that unfortunately there are a lot of lawyers getting hired on criminal cases who are not real criminal defense lawyers. There are a lot of civil lawyers out there who are , masquerading as criminal defense lawyers.
There are a lot of “Pretend Criminal Defense Lawyers” out there.
A person accused of a crime does not want someone representing them, who is pretending to be a criminal defense lawyer. Having a civil lawyer defend you on your criminal case is akin to having your podiatrist do your triple bypass heart surgery. It’s just not a good idea. In fact, it’s a very bad idea.
Why are civil lawyers pretending to be criminal defense lawyers?
Tort reform made it much more difficult for civil lawyers to make a living. It’s now much harder to sue and collect on accidents and on medical malpractice cases. A lot of civil lawyers have found themselves
Out of work. To make up for their lost income from civil cases, a large number of purely civil lawyers have started taking criminal cases.
To be clear, These are NOT dedicated criminal defense lawyers who also do some civil law. I am referring to purely civil lawyers who who are just recently started taking criminal cases with no qualifications to do so.
In order to get hired on criminal cases, these civil lawyers are pretending to be criminal defense lawyers. For those of us who are criminal defense lawyers, the pretend criminal defense lawyers, are easy to spot.
Having been a criminal defense lawyer for 31 years, I know if not by name, at least by sight, my fellow criminal defense lawyers. We all know each other.
So when I see a 50 year old civil lawyer I have never seen before, bumping into walls at the criminal courthouse, it’s pretty easy to knock him off as a pretend criminal defense lawyer.
The phonies stand out by their actions and their words. I will give an example.
I was in county court not long ago and I heard an obvious pretend criminal defense lawyer talking to an assistant DA. The pretend criminal defense lawyer gave himself away as soon as he opened his mouth.
The pretend criminal defense lawyer asked the county court DA, “Can I get a deferred adjudication for my clients DUI?”
There are two things that gave the pretend criminal defense lawyer away.
First, he referred to the offense as a “DUI”. In some states that is what it’s called; Not in Texas. In Texas, the county court offense is Driving While Intoxicated or DWI. By asking about his client’s “DUI”, this pretend criminal defense lawyer gave himself away. He didn’t even know what his client was charged with. Second, the pretend criminal defense lawyer asked for deferred adjudication on the DUI. I wanted to respond that
” You can get deferred adjudication for your client’s DWI, but you will need a time machine. You will have to go back to the 1980s because that’s the last time you could get a deferred adjudication for a DWI in Texas.”
With one question the pretend criminal defense lawyer educated the Assistant DA that he was a pretender and thus easy pickings.
The dangers in hiring a pretend criminal defense lawyer are surely self- evident. However, it’s worth mentioning at least a few of the downsides to the accused.
Criminal law is complex. There are many different criminal offenses and providing effective representation requires dedication, hard-work, skill, experience, knowledge of the law, the courts and the prosecutors. Pretending doesn’t cut it.
Additionally, a criminal case is an adversarial matter. The Assistant DAs are just as able as the real criminal defense lawyers to identify pretend criminal defense lawyers. If an Assistant DA knows he is dealing with a pretend criminal defense lawyer, there is an increased risk to the accused. An unscrupulous ADA is far more likely to try and screw the
pretend criminal defense lawyer. Why? Because he can. And who suffers the consequence? Not the pretend criminal defense lawyer. The accused suffers the consequence of hiring the
pretend criminal defense lawyer.
So, how does one know if they are talking with a real criminal defense lawyer or a pretend criminal defense lawyer? It’s not that hard to distinguish between the two.
Here are some places to look:
Look at the lawyers website and see how he promotes himself. If his website is all about mediation, bankruptcy, corporations, etc- he may not be a real criminal defense lawyer.
Look the lawyer up with the State Bar of Texas. Look under areas of practice. If the lawyer lists civil law and doesn’t mention criminal defense to the State Bar, he likely isn’t a real criminal defense lawyer.
Ask the lawyer questions:
How long has he been a criminal defense lawyer?
If he is 60 years old and he says he’s only been a criminal defense lawyer for just a few years, you may want to consider that.
What kind of trial experience does he have?
Unfortunately, there are civil lawyers taking criminal cases they are not competent to handle. We all know it’s happening.
A person charged with a real criminal offense needs a real criminal defense lawyer, not a pretender.
The client believed to be facing potential Wire Fraud Charges related to SBA PPP loan applications. Investigation of applications for PPP loans and PPP forgiveness demonstrated that the Client had at all times acted in a lawful manner. Investigation demonstrated no fraud was committed by the client. Case closed.
Client was charged by Federal Indictment with making a social media post that threatened Malicious Damage and Destruction of a Building by Means of Fire and Explosives in violation of Federal law. The Defense showed that Client was a law-abiding citizen. The Defense further showed that the alleged threat was not made with any criminal intent.
The client, a public official with a long history of public service, was accused by a former girlfriend of engaging in non-consensual sexual relations. The Defense investigation and analysis showed through a detailed timeline that the allegation made absolutely no sense. Phone records, including calls and texts, were relied on to help establish an accurate timeline. The Defense met with law enforcement and reviewed a detailed package that exonerated the accused.
Client, a Houston area professional who frequently travels for work, was accused by his wife of assaulting her in his family home. Defense showed that wife’s story lacked credibility and there was no physical evidence in support of the wife’s allegation.
The client, a young Black male, was driving his car when police pulled him over for no apparent reason. It looked to be a profile stop. The client was accused of possessing a controlled substance in his vehicle. The Defense showed that there was no lawful basis for the police to stop the Client’s car. The Defense also showed that there was no lawful basis for the search of the Client’s car. It was a bad search, so the seized evidence was not admissible.
Client charged in Federal Indictment In “Operation Wrecking Ball” with 55 named co-defendants. Client faced seven charges. Client was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. Client was also charged with four counts of Distribution of Cocaine and one count of Money laundering.
Allegations involved client’s alleged use of his home to distribute cocaine. Government’s lengthy investigation involved numerous wiretaps, surveillance, video, pole cams, search warrants, vehicle stops and use of cooperating co-defendants.
Client went to trial with four remaining defendants. After a two-week trial, Judge granted Motion for Acquittal on four of the seven charges. Jury found Client Not Guilty of remaining three charges.
Client charged in Federal Court with two counts of Wire Fraud related to Five SBA EIDL loan applications. The Government alleged the client, a Houston professional, defrauded the Small Business Administration out of over $150,000. The Government also found the intended loss was over half a million dollars. The Client faced up to 20 years in prison on each count. The Defense investigated the case and negotiated a deal that included the Government not opposing a probation. The Federal Guideline calculation was for a prison sentence and the Probation Department recommended a prison sentence. Attorney Fickman submitted a 90 page Defense Sentencing Memorandum asking for Probation.
Client was retired professional. Client was accused of being involved in a road rage incident in 1960 Area. Defense put together a 100 page memorandum that demonstrated complainant was actual aggressor.
Client was accused of touching child. Case involved thousands of pages of psychiatric and Child Protective Services records as well as investigations by multiple police departments. After three- year fight, case dismissed.
Client accused of shoving and knocking down family member causing injury. After investigation, charges were dismissed.
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