First, look for someone who knows what the hell they’re doing. Many attorneys who handle criminal cases handle a variety of other cases, as well. About 90% of the cases handled by The Urbanic Law Firm are criminal cases. Most of the other 10% involve cases that have some relation to criminal matters, such as victim protective orders or deprived child cases. We represent people on many different types of criminal cases. This variety of cases and our focus on criminal defense benefits all of our clients because we are constantly refreshing our knowledge on criminal law.
Find someone who is passionate about what they do and cares about getting a great outcome in your case. We love practicing criminal defense and find it very rewarding to help people through challenging situations. This should be apparent by the high percentage of criminal cases we take. We deeply care about getting great outcomes for clients. Not only is the best outcome in a case the best thing for a client, but it makes us look good too. The better outcomes we have, the more we are seen as a leading Oklahoma criminal defense firm. Our record speaks for itself. We post our wins on the Wins page on our website. It has many dismissals, deferred sentences, and reductions to lesser offenses. We’re very proud of our record, and we want everyone to know about it.
We’ve had great success with our three-pronged approach to cases. The first prong involves finding legal issues in your case in the hopes of getting it dismissed or reduced to lesser charges. This requires us to research the statutes, review evidence, and research previously decided cases. The second prong is mitigation. We collect information about our clients that we present to the prosecutor so the client isn’t thought of merely as a number associated with a crime. We try to humanize our clients by showing evidence of what they do for a living, if they go to church, if they volunteer in the community, if they go to school, and any other great things they’re doing. We put our clients to work in our third prong. If it makes sense, we have our clients start the classes and/or counseling they would have to do if they were to plead. This doesn’t mean they will plead, but getting these things started early helps in two ways. First, it gets the plea requirements knocked out ahead of time in the event someone does plead, so they can’t be hauled back into court after pleading for having not completed those requirements. Second, completing those things ahead of time usually improves the plea offer. Some of the other things we may recommend our clients do include submitting to drug tests, performing community service, or going to drug rehab. With all three prongs of our approach to cases working together, we are usually able to have great outcomes in our cases.
A good criminal defense attorney should stay current on laws and constantly educate themselves. One way we do this is by writing books, blog posts, and content for our website. Each of those involves a considerable amount of research and thought. We write our own content here—no ghostwriters. This requires us to get into the statutes and cases and really understand what’s going on. Then, we publish content in a way that makes the law easy to understand for someone who is not an attorney. Another way we stay educated is by frequently attending continuing legal education. We place a high value on education in The Urbanic Law Firm. Attending conferences, legal education, and special training are encouraged. We travel all around the country and state to attend the best training possible. We bring that knowledge back to the firm and save it in our knowledge management systems to improve our representation.
What Qualities Should Someone Look For When Retaining An Attorney?
What you should look for in hiring a criminal defense attorney is somebody who is passionate about what they do. They should enjoy their job and like getting positive outcomes for their clients. There are some attorneys who are “bleed ‘em and plead ‘em” attorneys, who basically just string clients along just to get a plea deal at the end. You want somebody who is going to work hard on your behalf and advocate for you. You don’t necessarily know that your attorney is going to do that until you actually hire them.
One thing to do when hiring a criminal defense attorney is find out what that attorney is going to do for you. When talking to potential clients, I tell them what I plan on doing for them—how I’m going to earn the fee. For example, I get my hands on as much evidence as possible and do a thorough investigation. I will go through police reports, videos, audio, pictures and witness statements. I’m going to read the statutes, read cases that legal or factual issues that are similar to my client’s cases. I will visit the scene of the crime, talk to witnesses, and consult with experts as necessary.
Another thing is pay attention to is how your potential attorney is going to set you up for success. One thing I do is give my clients to-do lists. Particularly in crimes such as a DUI and domestic violence, in any plea deal there are certain classes and evaluations that the defendant has to take. So, as soon as representation begins with me, I give my clients these to-do lists with people to call and classes to start taking immediately. That does two things. One, it sets them up for success. If they do ultimately decide to plead, they already have some of their plea requirements complete. When the time comes that to start following the court-ordered requirements, some of them are already done. That leaves time for them to focus on other things that they may not be completed. Two, it often helps improve the plea offer from the prosecutor.
If you can tell the prosecutor that the defendant has completed some of what the prosecutor’s already asking them, then maybe they will knock off a year or two from that deferred or suspended sentence. They may also change the plea offer from a suspended sentence (automatic conviction on record) to a deferred sentence (no automatic conviction and case can potentially be eligible for expungement).
What Sets You Apart In Handling Criminal Cases In Oklahoma?
A couple of things set me apart. First of all, I place a heavy emphasis on the use of technology in my law firm. I manage my firm and my clients’ files through a secure cloud-based system. So that means I am able to access my clients’ files from anywhere in the world. I can practice law all around town as long as I have my tablet with me. I never run into the issue telling someone, “Sorry, I can’t talk about your case right now because I don’t have your file in front of me. Wait to talk to me when I get back to my office!”. I always have my clients’ files with me.
Another way that I am different than other firms in criminal defense is that I have a strong background in business. My undergraduate degree is in business, and I earned a MBA from OU, so I’m able to take proven business practices and methodologies and implement them in my law firm. I’m able to deliver higher-quality products and services to my clients, which will enable me to be a more effective advocate on their behalf.
Also, my life experiences differentiate myself and my firm from other attorneys. I spent almost ten years in the Air Force. I apply much of the philosophy and mentality that I learned from the military to helping my clients. It also helps me relate to my clients because Oklahoma has many military members and veterans. I understand what a significant portion of this community goes through.
Additionally, I’ve been on the other side. I’ve been arrested, handcuffed, and spent time in the Harris County Jail. I was eventually released because I was wrongfully arrested. So, I absolutely know what it’s like to go through the system on a certain level. Had the cops not realized early on that I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, then it could have potentially been a very bad situation. I would have needed to have hired somebody who would have had to fight for my rights and make sure that I received a positive outcome. Thankfully it didn’t get to that, but that was certainly something that was going through my mind as I was sitting in jail. I definitely understand on some level what many of my clients are experiencing.