5 Tips for Choosing a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted on: May 16, 2019

To properly defend oneself against criminal charges, a Connecticut criminal defense attorney is usually required to not only evaluate the case but also understand the available options. 

1. Ensure the Lawyer is Trustworthy 

Even though it seems like an oxymoron for the legal profession, feelings and intuition can be helpful when selecting a criminal defense attorney.  In other words, when selecting an attorney, it should be someone who is trustworthy, instead of a lawyer who might have a great track record but makes you feel uncomfortable or pressures you into signing an unfavorable deal.

For example, even though lawyers must use legal jargon in their court filings and when negotiating on your behalf, your own criminal defense attorney should speak plainly to inform you of the entire situation – it is your freedom we’re talking about here. When selecting an attorney, using legal jargon instead of explaining the situation might even be a marketing tool, tricking you into thinking they’re smarter than they really are.

Do not be fooled – any lawyer capable of defending your freedom is a person who should be able to communicate clearly, both in the courtroom but also to anybody. Given the seriousness of all the actions, understanding everything is important to making the best choices.  

2. Does the Lawyer’s Practice Emphasize Criminal Defense? 

Intellectual property is very different than criminal law. That seems obvious. Your own freedom is much too important to be gambled on an inexperienced criminal lawyer, who doesn’t fully understand criminal law, practicing it on a daily basis.

Experience in criminal law helps defense attorneys understand the types of arguments convincing to judges and juries, what facts might lower the prosecutor’s charges, and so forth. 

3. Who Will Work on and Assist the Case?  

Regardless of how talented they may be, preparation of a criminal defense usually cannot be handled by one attorney. In most situations, attorneys rely on others when preparing the defense, including legal assistants and paralegals.  Before hiring a criminal defense attorney, make sure and ask who might be working on the case.

Similar to the first point, being comfortable and trusting the people working on that case is just as important as trusting your own attorney. 

4. How Experienced is the Lawyer? 

When hiring a criminal defense attorney, it is usually best to hire someone that has handled a similar case. Though not a requirement, prior experience means the lawyer has already worked on a similar case, either understanding how to approach it or learning from their prior mistake to achieve the best possible outcome. In addition, if the attorney has prior experience in a similar case, they can provide better predictions on possible outcomes.

This professional opinion on the case not only provides an inside scoop to the situation but also provides insight into how trustworthy the lawyer might be. For example, any lawyer that guarantees a specific outcome is lying.  In the legal profession, there are no guarantees and any attempt to make one is a sign to proceed with caution. 

5. Courtroom Experience 

These days, as a practical matter, actually appearing in court is fairly rare.  However, appearing in court always remains a possibility. In the event that trial occurs, a seasoned trial lawyer is important for representation – a good lawyer can prepare the case, a great criminal defense attorney crosses the finish line. 

Call (203) 624-6115 to schedule a consultation with Knight & Cerritelli in our New Haven office. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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