There’s an awful lot at stake when you are choosing a lawyer to handle your case. Criminal cases—whether major or minor— may have severe, long-lasting, and often surprising consequences, and the person you choose may be the only thing standing between you and penalties like incarceration and huge fines. Your attorney may be your most powerful ally in criminal court, working tirelessly to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome for your case.While there are plenty of law firms in Colorado that are run by decent attorneys, not all of them will have the experience, resources, and connections needed to win your unique case. Choosing the right attorney can be an incredibly difficult decision, particularly when it comes to matters of criminal law.
With that said, how do you go about choosing the right lawyer to defend you against your criminal charge? Below, we’ve listed five attributes and characteristics to look for in a Colorado criminal lawyer.
Experience in criminal law. When choosing someone to defend your case, it’s crucial to hire an attorney who is experienced and specializes in criminal law as opposed to civil law. Civil law attorneys typically handle legal issues such as auto accidents or estate planning, while criminal law attorneys focus on defending clients against criminal charges. The best defense attorneys have years of experience working in criminal law and a successful track record.
Experience with local law. It’s important to find a lawyer who has experience working with Colorado courtrooms in your area, since laws and procedures can vary vastly from state to state and even in different jurisdictions. Defense attorneys in your area may also have experience working with local prosecutors, and may have a better insight into what types of strategies and tactics they are likely to use. Similarly, an attorney in your area will be more familiar with local law enforcement agencies and how they tend to operate in court in cases such as yours.
Experience with your particular charge. If possible, you should try to find a lawyer who has defended clients against crimes that are similar to your particular charge. For instance, if you are facing fraud charges, you’ll ideally want a lawyer who is experienced in defending white collar crimes. If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, you’ll want an attorney with experience in drug crimes.
Resources. Your attorney should be backed by a team of paralegals and support staff, and have connections with investigators and local experts. Your attorney should be able to invest extensive resources into preparing your case, collecting evidence, and gathering witnesses.
Comfort level. Since you’ll be working very closely with your attorney throughout the duration of your case, it’s important to choose someone who you feel comfortable with and can talk openly to. You’ll want an attorney who treats you with integrity and involves you in decision making, and who will invest all his or her time, energy, and resources into your case. Your attorney should demonstrate a genuine interest and concern in your case, and be able to explain your charges in an option in a clear, upfront, non-judgmental manner.
How to Find an Attorney
So now that you know what a good Colorado criminal defense attorney should look like, how do you go about finding one? It’s a good idea to start by seeking referrals from friends, family, and colleagues, and by conducting research online through reputable databases such as Avvo. When you have a candidate in mind, be sure to review their credentials and online reviews closely. You may also want to contact your state bar association to find out whether the attorney is in good standing.
The next step is to contact your attorney for an initial consultation. When speaking to your attorney, you may want to consider asking the following questions:
- Have you ever defended a case that is similar to mine?
- How many jury trials have you litigated?
- Will you be handling my case personally?
- Can you provide references from past clients?
Above all, you should choose an attorney who seems dependable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable, and who has a track record of success to support this. There is too much at stake in your criminal case to gamble with a criminal defense attorney who is anything less than excellent. Regardless of the type of charge you are facing, the right lawyer can make the difference between heavy penalties and walking free.