When should I hire a defense attorney?
In order to allow your attorney ample time to gather the facts and prepare to defend you, it is important that you hire an attorney as quickly as possible after an arrest. If you have been arrested and cannot afford the bond that has been set for you, an attorney is needed to file a motion to reduce the bond amount.
How do I select my criminal defense attorney?
Gather the names of several attorneys and make a list of questions you would like to ask him or her. If the law office has a website, you can check the answers to many of your questions before meeting with the attorney. Once you have some answers, narrow your list down and decide on a few attorneys to interview. You should arrange meetings with at least a few attorneys to make sure your personalities are a good fit (many attorneys, including David Kiatta, do not charge for this initial meeting). Some key points to look for in an attorney might be:
- Does the attorney specialize in what you need? For example, in a criminal matter, you will want a board-certified attorney who specializes in criminal defense, such as David Kiatta.
- How experienced is the attorney in defending crimes such as yours? The attorney can make no guarantees to your outcome, but knowing how many other cases like yours he/she has had should be noted.
- Does the attorney bill by a flat fee or hourly? If flat fee, what is that fee? If hourly, what is the hourly rate? What additional costs must the attorney discuss with you prior to accumulating? Will the attorney work with your financial situation and spread out payments?
- Is there a written contract explaining the agreement, including cost and services included?
- How will you reach the attorney in the event that you have questions? What is his/her policy for returning calls and emails? What if you have questions after hours or on weekends?
What should I expect from an attorney?
- Honest, straight-forward advice, including both the good and bad points of your case. Note: Any attorney who assures or attempts to assure a particular outcome to the case should not be hired.
- Your interests first, above all else. He/she should never make agreements or deals without your input or approval.
- Clear and prompt communication. He/she should share information about the case without waiting for you to ask.
- Copies of all documentation related to your case.
- The attorney should follow your directions, unless you have asked him/her to do something unethical. Remember, you are the client and the one who is paying for representation.
What are my rights if arrested?
A few of your basic rights are:
- The right to remain silent ( It is rarely in your best interest to talk to police with out talking to an attorney first)
- The right to an attorney (if you cannot afford one, you have the right to request that one be appointed to you)
- The right to have this attorney present during any questioning by law enforcement or the prosecution
- The right to end any questioning at the time of your choosing
- The right to a fair trial
- The right to not make any statements; any statements made can be used against you in court
How is Bail Set?
Many things are considered when determining the amount of a bond, such as:
- The charge against the accused
- Prior record of the accused, including any history of sexual related or family violence charges
- Whether the accused is at risk for leaving the country
- Whether the accused is considered a threat to the community
How do I arrange for a bail bond?
A family member or friend wishing to aid an arrested individual should first contact a criminal defense attorney, such as David Kiatta (713-822-8887), or a bail bond company for help. The attorney or the bonding company can check the status of the arrested individual. When the processing is complete and the arrested person is eligible to make bond and be released, the bonding company or the attorney will contact the family member or friend and let him/her know the details of the bond, including costs, which court, and when the person should be released.
If the bond amount is high, be sure to discuss it with a criminal defense attorney prior to posting to see if he/she can get the amount reduced.
What do I do after the bond is posted?
If a person is released on bond, it is crucial that he/she follow the rules of the bond and also arrive on time to all court appointments. If any of the regulations are violated, the bond can be revoked, and the person will be returned to jail. It is also important to hire a criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected throughout the process.