Finding a good criminal defense attorney in Colorado is harder than it seems.
Any lawyer can talk a big game. They can tell you about trial experience, previous cases they’ve won or settled, and that they’ll ensure you’ll get acquitted. But that means little without a key ingredient – trust.
If you have a pending criminal defense case in Colorado and you need an attorney, these are the qualities for which you must search.
1. Actual Trial Experience
There’s no getting away from the statistics – most criminal cases that go to trial result in the defendant being found guilty. In 2022 alone, only 0.4% of the 71,954 defendants in federal criminal cases who went to trial were found “not guilty.” That amounts to just 290 people.
The odds of success are low.
And they’re even lower when you hire a defense attorney who’s never been to trial. That may seem like an odd thing to point out until you realize that the vast majority of criminal cases never reach the trial stage. They’re either settled out of court, the defendant pleads guilty, or a plea bargain is negotiated.
If none of those is an option for you, always ask for examples of a lawyer’s work when they’re at the bench. If they can’t show you trials that they’ve won, and you intend to go to trial, they’re not the attorney for you.
2. Look for an Explanation of What You’re Facing
Whether it’s your first time facing a criminal charge or you have several with which you’ve contended in the past, you need information.
What sentence does the charge carry if you’re found guilty? Are there financial penalties? What is the best-case and worst-case scenario for your defense?
These are questions that your attorney must answer. You’re looking for somebody who knows your case and knows the specific charges you face. But more importantly, you need an attorney who can explain the technicalities of the case without resorting to jargon-filled dialog that you don’t understand.
3. Ask About Costs
Money is the main reason that a defendant’s legal needs aren’t met.
About 80% of low-income people can’t afford legal help, forcing them to rely on state-provided assistance. And the picture doesn’t get much better for those in the middle-income bracket, with as many as 60% saying they struggle to meet all of their legal needs because of the cost.
Unfortunately, money has to change hands if you have a criminal case. But a good lawyer minimizes your costs through their efficiency, knowledge, and, in some cases, by providing payment plans that help you spread the charges out over time.
Don’t be afraid of asking the question – how much is this going to cost me? Whatever the figure may be, ask the lawyer about their plan for your case before moving forward.
Find a Defense Lawyer You Can Trust
Trust is everything when working with a defense lawyer.
Look for trial experience first – a lawyer who doesn’t have it is a lawyer who’s going to struggle when they’re under fire from the prosecution.
Next, pay attention to how the lawyer communicates. Are they layering what they say with jargon you can’t understand, without explanations, leaving you feeling confused? That’s another sign the lawyer isn’t for you.
Finally, the money issue. It affects everybody, and the best you can ask for is an attorney who’s upfront about the cost and willing to work with you on ways to lessen its impact.