Selecting a Lawyer
Like every other profession, there are numerous attorneys who are dedicated to charging fair fees and zealously representing their clients. On the other hand, there are numerous attorneys who are either not qualified in certain matters, but will become involved if 'the price is right,' or who are not dedicated to putting the interests of the clients first. If you are charged with a criminal offense, there will be several considerations before you can select an attorney who is truly committed to giving you the best representation possible.
Criminal Defense Lawyer or Personal Injury Lawyer?
First, do you want an attorney who practices exclusively criminal law? Whether or not you choose to retain Broden & Mickelsen, we strongly recommend hiring an attorney whose practice is almost entirely dedicated to criminal defense. Criminal defense is a highly specialized field of law and it is very difficult for an attorney who practices in several areas of the law to have the knowledge necessary to provide the type of representation that a person who is charged with a criminal offense deserves. Do you want an attorney who writes a will on Monday, represents a plaintiff in a car accident case on Tuesday, appears at an immigration hearing on Wednesday, represents a client for a speeding ticket on Thursday, to represent you, when your liberty is at stake, on Friday? Review the website of any attorney that you are contemplating hiring to determine how much of his or her practice is dedicated to criminal defense. At Broden & Mickelsen, both partners practice exclusively criminal defense. In addition, both Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen are members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. Membership in these organizations represent a commitment to the practice of criminal law and you should be extremely wary of hiring a lawyer that is not a member of both of these organizations.
Second, do you want an attorney that is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization the ("Board") as an expert in criminal law or do you want an attorney that is not board certified as a specialist? All Texas attorneys are required to post on their websites whether or not they are board certified. Approximately ten percent of attorneys are certified by the Board as specialists in a particular area of law. In order to obtain a certification as being specialized in criminal law, an attorney must, among other things, submit an application to the Board setting forth the trials and appeals he or she has handled in both state court and federal court as well as the continuing legal education he or she has received in the field of criminal law. The Board obtains evaluations about the attorney from judges, prosecutors and other criminal defense lawyers. Finally, the attorney must pass a rigorous examination testing his or her knowledge of both state and federal law. We suggest that, with your liberty at stake, you hire an attorney who had undergone the rigorous hurdles to become certified as criminal law specialists and, if you are considering hiring a non-specialist, you ask the attorney why he or she is not Board Certified. Both Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen are certified by the Board as criminal law specialists.
A Prosecutor or a Defense Attorney?
Third, do you want an attorney who was a former prosecutor or an attorney that has always fought for the citizen accused? Former prosecutors will argue that experience from "the other side" is a valuable asset. On the other hand, many criminal defense lawyers were trained since the beginning of their careers to develop creative defenses that might not occur to a lawyer with a more prosecutorial frame of mind. Defense lawyers that never worked for the prosecution also have no allegiances and may be more comfortable vigorously challenging the opposition. You want your lawyer's allegiance to be to you and not to a relationship he has formed with the prosecutors. Moreover, you want an attorney who believes in your innocence and does not approach your case as a prosecutor where you have to prove your innocence. Both partners at Broden & Mickelsen are career criminal defense lawyers and will zealously represent YOUR interests. Be very wary of an attorney who tells you that he can get you a "special deal" because he or she was a former prosecutor or "knows" the judge. That is NOT how the system works.
State Court or Federal Court?
Fourth, are you charged in state court or federal court? Generally, federal court is a much more formal atmosphere with strict deadlines and also involves more written "pleadings" than state court. Sentencing in federal court is done using complex sentencing guidelines that the judge is often bound to follow. It is almost impossible to provide effective representation in federal court unless you practice in federal court on a regular basis and understand the sentencing guidelines inside and out. In short, because of the much less structured environment, most Board Certified criminal defense lawyers who practice exclusively criminal defense can provide effective representation in state court. On the other hand, if you are charged with a crime in federal court, always make sure that your attorney has had extensive experience practicing in federal court and does not practice primarily in state court. Between Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen combined, they practiced exclusively in federal court for approximately twelve years and, today, their practice emphasizes representing those accused of offenses in federal court at both trial and on appeal. Combined they have over thirty years of experience defending citizens accused of crimes. Before hiring a lawyer in a federal court proceeding, request that the lawyer show you on www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov PACER (a web site containing all federal cases: www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov) how many cases that attorney has handled in the particular federal court.
Trial or Appeal?
Finally, are you hiring an attorney to represent you at trial or on appeal? Most attorneys practicing criminal law represent people in the trial courts. Only a small percentage of those practicing criminal law also represent people on appeal. At Broden & Mickelsen, we represent people both at trial and on appeal and we believe this to be an important factor when choosing a lawyer. At trial, a lawyer must have extensive knowledge of the decisions reached by appellate courts in order to make sure that your rights are upheld and that proper objections are made at trial in the event you must appeal a guilty verdict. It is difficult for a lawyer to develop this extensive knowledge unless he or she regularly represents people on appeal and continually conducts legal research in order to keep up with the trends of the appellate courts. A substantial portion of the practice at Broden & Mickelsen, therefore, is dedicated to researching legal issues in connection with appeals. As a result, we can offer you excellent representation on appeal and, just as important, at a trial we will know what the current state of the law is in order to offer you excellent representation at trial and to preserve your right in the event an appeal becomes necessary somewhere down the line.
In a 2006 report issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, it was estimated that the Court granted oral argument in 10.5% or criminal cases. In contrast, Clint Broden has obtained oral argument in approximately 50% of the more than sixty federal appeals he has filed. The Report also indicates that the reversal rate in the Fifth Circuit is approximately 8.3% criminal cases. In contrast, Clint Broden has obtained relief for his clients in approximately 25% of the appeals he has filed. For a copy of the report click here Fifth Circuit Report
We firmly believe that, when you consider the various factors necessary to making an informed decision regarding which criminal lawyer you should retain, you will realize why Broden & Mickelsen is one of the preeminent criminal defense firms in the United States.
Please feel free to call us at (214) 720-9552 or contact us to see if we handle your type of criminal matter here >>>