Hiring an Attorney
When you’ve been arrested, or are suspected of a crime, you need to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
I have helped thousands of individuals and families work through their legal issues.
I have guided my clients and their families through the complex criminal justice system with sensitivity and with direct, honest, skillful advice.
I have thoroughly prepared my clients' cases, zealously advocated their defenses, and — with more than 26 years of experience and determination — I have routinely achieved the best results possible.
It’s been said that the best way to avoid a criminal conviction is to not get arrested in the first place. Simple as that seems, in any criminal case, promptly contacting an attorney after being accused of a crime may be the difference between being arrested or not. Valuable pre-arrest advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney may also favorably impact how your case is ultimately resolved.
+ When do I need an attorney?
If you have been charged with a serious traffic offense, a DUI, misdemeanor or a felony, you should consult with an experienced, reputable criminal defense lawyer. Both misdemeanors and felonies have the potential for jail time and/or probation, as well as other life-time consequences. Misdemeanors are generally regarded as less serious crimes, but nevertheless require an aggressive defense. Felonies are the most serious category of crimes which usually carry a presumptive jail sentence following a conviction.
+ Can I effectively represent myself?
It's important for you to understand the seriousness of the charges that have been brought against you, the consequences of a conviction, and the possible defenses to the charges. Shortly after a person is arrested, a judge or magistrate will explain the maximum jail sentence and the maximum fine. You probably will not be told about other possibilities, such as: the loss of driving privileges, the loss of the right to own or possess a firearm or deadly weapon, loss of employment opportunities in certain professions, registration under a sex offender or child abuse registry, required completion of certain treatment programs, and restrictions in travel and association with others. In today’s day and age, any criminal conviction can have devastating financial and social consequences. If you choose to represent yourself, know that you are on an uneven playing field and at a distinct disadvantage. It's unlikely that the average person could represent himself or herself effectively in court against an experienced police officer or prosecutor. On the other hand, if I think the case is simple and straightforward, I’ll tell you as much.
+ Do I need an attorney for a misdemeanor?
Representing yourself puts you at a major disadvantage, and the consequences could be life-long. For example, a misdemeanor conviction could affect your future educational and employment opportunities. Most applications for school and jobs now ask about criminal backgrounds. For the best possible outcome of your case, and to minimize any future consequences, you should consult a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney before making this decision.
+ Do I need an attorney to fight a traffic ticket?
If you are facing a minor motor vehicle infraction, it's sometimes safe and cost-effective to represent yourself. Motor vehicle infractions, for example, subject a person to points, court costs and a monetary fine. However, be aware that some traffic infractions could affect your driver’s license. I review cases every week and I candidly advise people to handle certain matters themselves, particularly where it is not cost-effective to hire an attorney.
+ How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
The total cost for legal representation depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of the case, and not necessarily on the nature or number of the charges. Keep in mind that anyone charged in a criminal case has the legal right to represent themselves. Also, keep in mind that, if your income is below certain guidelines, you can request that an attorney be appointed by the court to represent you.
Delaware’s criminal justice system is fairly complicated and, while many cases may be successfully resolved without the need for a formal trial, it’s nearly impossible for an untrained person to successfully navigate their way. In most criminal cases, your initial contact with the police may impact how your case is resolved. After an arrest, you’ll need to make a decision about what court you want your case to be heard in and whether you want a jury trial or a non-jury trial. You’ll need to conduct pre-trial discovery, interview police officers, prepare witnesses, file appropriate motions, communicate with the prosecutors and, generally, formulate an overall defense strategy. Informed decisions need to be made as to whether or not to explore the possibilities of a “plea bargain” and, if so, at what point in the proceedings should a “plea bargain” be considered. These are the types of decisions that affect the outcome of your case and, accordingly, they should be made under the guidance of an experienced attorney.
I charge a reasonable legal fee based upon the complexity of the case, the potential consequences at stake, and the amount of time that I’ll devote to your defense. You’ll never have to write a “blank check.” Everything that I do is up front and in writing. Depending on the complexity of the case, I sometimes enter into a written fee agreement with you. Most initial consultations with me are free; afterwards, you’ll have as much time as you need to make an informed decision about whether you need an attorney, whether you can afford an attorney and, finally, which attorney you’d like on your side.
The Right Criminal Defense Attorney Makes All the Difference
If you, your spouse, your child or your friend has been arrested, you will need to retain an experienced, reputable criminal defense lawyer. Choose wisely. My office has an excellent reputation among legal colleagues, members of the judiciary, court staff and former clients. In any criminal case, having an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled attorney on your side will minimize the consequences of an arrest, will reduce your chances of going to jail and, in many cases, will result in a flat-out dismissal of all charges.