How do I choose a criminal defense lawyer in Colorado?

R. Scott Reisch - Criminal Defense - Super Lawyers

Answered by: R. Scott Reisch

The Reisch Law Firm LLC
Denver, CO
Phone: 303-291-0555
Fax: 720-904-5797

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In many cases, if you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Colorado, your liberty, career or reputation can be at stake. The first element of a potential lawyer’s background you will want to consider is his or her experience level. Do they concentrate their practice on criminal defense law, or is it one of several practice areas that they work in? How long have they practiced criminal defense in Colorado? Your lawyer will need to know defense strategies specific to your charge and should be able to demonstrate to you that he or she has used them successfully.

Finding an experienced defense attorney who has tried cases similar to yours is a great start when you are trying to select the right legal representation. However, other crucial questions include:

  • How many trials do you do a year? You want neither so few that they are clearly inexperienced in the courtroom, nor so many per year that they cannot attend to yours properly.
  • Will you take my case to trial if that is necessary? A good criminal defense lawyer will not force a plea deal on you if that is not your best option.
  • What was the last felony case you took to trial? This can tell you if the lawyer is regularly handling serious charges in areas related to your charge.
  • How many “not guilty” verdicts have you received in cases like mine? Outcomes are impossible to guarantee, but having a significant number of not guilty verdicts says something about the lawyer’s ability to produce positive results at trial.

When it comes to criminal cases, case complexity can vary dramatically. Make sure the lawyer you choose has successfully defended clients in situations similar to yours.

Evaluating A Lawyer’s Expertise And Truthfulness

It is important to note that Colorado does not provide board certification for attorneys. This means “buyer beware” if a potential criminal defense lawyer tells you he’s a “specialist” in this area of the law. A good question to ask to get a sense of their true level of expertise is: “Have you ever been named an expert in criminal defense law by a Colorado judge and asked to testify at a trial?” A “yes” answer tells you that they are considered by a judge to have a deep knowledge of criminal defense law. And just as you must be truthful with your attorney once you hire him or her in order for them to be able to defend you adequately, you need to evaluate your potential criminal defense lawyer based upon how well and how honestly they communicate with you. The attorney you select should be able to clearly lay out the prosecution’s case against you and be able to discuss what your most realistic options are for resolution. No attorney should ever guarantee an outcome for you. That is simply not possible, and if a lawyer tells you that, it is a sign of dishonesty.

When It Comes To Fees, You Get What You Pay For

If you have been charged with a felony, you also may be facing money pressures. However, a quality defense attorney is rarely cheap. Do not go with the lawyer offering the lowest rate or the most favorable payment plan. Consider his or her experience level, expertise and trial experience with the type of charges you are facing before you make a decision based upon cost.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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