Being arrested or accused of a crime can change your life in a matter of minutes.

Depending on the charge, you could be facing not only fines and jail time, but extensive time away from work, jeopardized relationships, momentous levels of stress, and financial worries. You need a criminal defense attorney who can not only help you navigate the complicated legal processes but also advocate for you to minimize the effect on your personal life.

Even if you've been appointed an attorney by a judge, you may need to seek private counsel to find the right fit for you. The experts at The Carlson Law Firm offer free consultations and support their clients every step of the way. Here are their tips for finding the best criminal defense attorney for you:

1) Think local. You need an attorney who practices in the county in which you were charged, so family and friends might be able to make some recommendations. (The Carlson Law Firm handles criminal cases in Bell, Coryell, Milam, and Lampasas counties.)

2) Do some independent research on attorneys. As you look at attorney websites, you should see that your chosen attorney has significant experience in criminal defense, including cases similar to yours. It's a specialized area of law, so you want an expert fighting for you.

3) Prepare for your free consultation. Gather relevant materials such as text messages, emails, photos, and other potential evidence and write down any questions you have so you don't forget to ask them in that first meeting. After your free consultation, you'll likely have to pay for any additional advice or work the attorney provides, so make sure you leave the consultation with everything you need to understand the next steps for your case and whether this attorney is a good match. (You can contact The Carlson Law Firm 24/7 to schedule a free consultation for any criminal case.)

4) Consider your immediate rapport with the attorney. During your consultation, think about how comfortable you are discussing uncomfortable subjects with the attorney. You likely will be telling your criminal defense attorney things you have told very few other people. In addition, your attorney should be able to explain the criminal process in a way you can understand and quickly articulate specifics about your case. They should speak with confidence and treat their staff professionally.

5) Think beyond the legalities. As you're speaking with your attorney, do they genuinely seem to care about you as a person? Are they able to offer reasonable solutions if you share concerns about how the criminal case could affect your career or your finances? Do you think you can commit to trusting and following the attorney's advice, especially in difficult or emotional situations?

The criminal defense attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm have the resources, experience, and knowledge to get the best resolution for you. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, visit or call 254-526-5688.