criminal defense FAQ
What are your legal fees?
The legal fees will ultimately vary depending on what type of matter is at hand. Typically, they are several different ways of dealing with legal fees. I will discuss each at length below
The first is what is referred to as the FLAT FEE ARRANGEMENT. With this arrangement, we will offer a singular flat fee for our client. The fee will not be contingent on how many hours we work, or any other factors. Typically, these type of arrangements will be limited to the trial court level and will not cover any appeals or expungements thereafter.
The second arrangement is referred to as STRAIGHT HOURLY. In these cases, our client will pay per hour worked towards your case. We will generally require an advance on the fee, to cover cost. In such a scenario, you will pay in advance a sum of money. As we work your case, we will bill against that advance. Any money that have not been earned at the time of resolution of your case will then be returned to you. Likewise, if we exhaust the advance at any given time, we will request additional monies going forward.
It is generally impossible to list legal fees for Criminal Defense. Every matter is different. Every individual is different. Factors such as age, education level, prior criminal history, evidence, admissibility of such evidence all play a factor into the case. Sometimes it would be advisable to do a STRAIGHT HOURLY fee arrangement while other times it'll be in your interest to do a FLAT FEE ARRANGEMENT.
The only way to really figure out the legal fees that it would cost you in your criminal defense is to set up a consultation with us (FREE OF CHARGE) so that we can discuss the various factors that going into making a sound decision on legal fees.
Do you handle expungements?
Expungements are a way to clean your record to help with employment and education. Expungements are only available in certain instances. To determine if your charge is ultimately one ripe to be expunged, you should set up a Free Consultation with me so that we can discuss your case and the fees involved.
Why should I hire an attorney when I can defend myself or get free counsel?
Statistics show that a criminal defendant representing himself is less likely to get favorable plea offers, favorable rulings on motions and ultimately favor jury verdicts. I strongly encourage everyone who is faced with the daunting legal system to consult with an attorney, free or paid.
The difference between a paid attorney and a court appointed attorney isn't necessarily related to skills, experience or ability. The number one issue faced by court appointed attorneys is time. Time is valuable. An attorney needs time to listen to your story, request from the prosecution discovery (all evidence in their possession), read over the discovery materials, draft motions, argue motions, and ultimately prepare for trial.
Those tasks are plentiful alone. When you take those tasks and multiply them by 100 or even 300, sometimes 1000 cases, it becomes more likely that YOUR CASE gets lost in translation. A private criminal defense attorney manages his caseload himself. He is not forced to represent everyone the judge throws at him. I spent time clerking at the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defenders Office during my time in Law School at LSU and I saw the challenges faced by an office with so much to do but such little resources to do them with.
Going with a court appointed attorney is much better than representing yourself. With that, going with an attorney who can listen to your story and fight for you is even better.
What should I do when I am arrested?
The first thing you should do is retain an attorney.
You have very important legal rights when you are arrested. The two crucially important rights are 1) Right to Remain Silent and 2) Right to An Attorney. USE THEM!
I'll state this very plain and simple. DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE ABOUT THE ALLEGED CRIME, EXCEPT FOR YOUR ATTORNEY, EVER! I'll be the first to tell you that if they are talking to you, they don't have enough on you or just trying to get more. Speaking from personal experience only, I have never been a witness to anyone speaking/talking themselves out of a criminal charge. I have heard of plenty who have decided to waive their important legal rights and even the most innocent exchange of words used against them for crimes they ultimately did not commit.
As such, the only person you should speak with about the alleged crime following an arrest is your attorney. That includes family members, friends, or whomever.
So, the first step should be to retain an attorney. The second step is to not waive your legal rights to both an attorney and silence. If you follow these two crucial steps following an arrest, your attorney will guide you through the rest of the legal process.
Do you handle traffic tickets?
Yes. Contact our offices to get help in resolve your traffic ticket matters.
We do represent clients charged with DUI/DWI.
Dealing with DUI/DWI's can sometimes be a two-fold process. There is a criminal prosecution and an administrative hearing most of the times. Call our office for a FREE CONSULTATION to get help with your DUI.
Officer wants to search my car, should I consent?
Whether or not you consent to an officer searching your car is a personal decision.
With that being said, when you consent to a search of your car, person, or home, you essentially give up your right to challenge the legality of the search. If an officer ultimately finds anything illegal from a search, such evidence will be used against you.
If the officer has the legal right (probable cause or incident to lawful arrest) to search your car, whether or not you consent, he will search your car. Sometimes however they are wrong about probable cause. So, if the officer is asking to search your car, there's likely some reason he's asking to do so. They don't search every car they pull over. He's asking usually to avoid any challenge to his probable cause determination or lack thereof. Not consenting to their search is a great way to go. If you don't mind them searching the car or not, they'll likely search it anyway once you refuse to consent, so same result. The important thing with refusing to consent is that you keep your 4th amendment right to be free from illegal searches and seizures.
Sometimes you are in a hurry and just want to prove their suspicions wrong and get on about your day. Consenting can speed that process up. Remember the risk. Someone could have dropped something illegal in your car when you gave them a ride home, your family member who borrowed your car may have left something illegal in there, or many different other scenarios. Before consenting, just remember these important considerations
Will I have to go to trial?
Most criminal cases rarely go to trial. The vast majority are settled before that time comes. They could be settled either by plea arrangement or by dismisial or even pre-trial diversion. It's not possible to determine whether your case will be the one which makes it to trial.
We ultimately would love to resolve cases favorably for our clients before trial. Sometimes however the opposing side don't see things the way we do. When that happens, usually one must take the case to trial or enter into a guilty plea of some kind.
As it is impossible to predict the nature of your case without reviewing the different sides thereto, what we do at The Law Offices of Dwayne Burrell is to discuss the probable outcome when retained and once a thorough review of the case has been done, discuss with the client what we can anticipate will happen and give him sound advice so they can ultimately make a decision.