Getting charged with a crime in Denver can be one of the most stressful, confusing, and overwhelming times in your life. But it doesn’t have to be. With the help of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney, the chances that your charges will be reduced, dropped, or dismissed will increase greatly.
A criminal lawyer can use their in-depth knowledge of Colorado laws to help in all kinds of ways:
- Crafting the strongest possible defense
- Explaining your charges and penalties
- Guiding you through the judicial process
- Keeping you informed
- Ensuring that your rights are protected from beginning to end
It’s important to find a defense attorney quickly if you want the best possible outcome, but you also have to make sure you work with the right person. Someone you feel comfortable with and who has had success handling your particular charges.
The best thing you can do is to contact several different criminal lawyers and assess whether or not they would be a good fit. How do you do this? By asking the right questions.
Here are the top 5 questions you should ask before deciding on legal representation.
1. What kind of experience do you have? This is a great question to start with because you want to make sure they have experience with your particular charges and have successfully handled similar cases. You can do a lot of research on a lawyer’s background online. Look at their website. Check their credentials on respected legal sites. See where they went to school. Find out if they have always been a criminal lawyer.
This information will help you narrow down your choices. When you meet with someone, ask about their experience with your charges and what kind of results they have gotten in previous cases. If you’re facing fraud charges, you most likely won’t want to go to a DUI lawyer with your case. And you want to make sure you choose a fraud lawyer who has been successful in a lot of fraud cases.
2. What is your honest opinion of my case? Although a criminal attorney can’t and shouldn’t guarantee any specific outcome, they should be able to give you an honest assessment of your case and present a few different options that are available to you. They can tell you if you should plead to a lesser charge, whether a trial would be favorable, what is helpful in your case and what could cause a potential problem, and what their defense strategy might be. You want the person you choose to be honest and straightforward so you don’t have to deal with any surprises.
3. Do you have time to take on my case? Your case is important, so you should find someone who will devote the appropriate amount of time to building your defense. If they have a great track record but are incredibly busy, they might not be able to give you the time you’re looking for.
Other firms may have a bunch of different lawyers working on a single case. You need to know who will be the primary lawyer on your case. And if more than one lawyer will be handling your case, you should meet all of them. There’s no right or wrong answer here. It just comes down to what feels right to you and what will get you the results you’re looking for.
4. What legal fees will I have to pay? Money is a crucial topic to discuss with a potential lawyer before deciding whether to hire them. Legal fees can be competitive, expensive, and quickly drain your wallet. That’s why you should be upfront about what you are able to pay, and find out if your attorney will be charging you an hourly fee or a flat rate. Then you need to see what is and isn’t include in those fees and what other legal expenses you may end up being responsible for. Your lawyer should be truthful when discussing the overall cost of handling your case and explain any financial concerns and questions you may have.
5. How often do make plea agreements? When we think of lawyers, we always picture them in a courtroom during a trial, but many criminal cases never go to trial. Instead, they are settled through plea bargains and negotiations.
You want to know how often your lawyer uses plea deals, whether a plea deal would work for your case, what the prosecution might offer you, and how your lawyer can improve upon that offer. And, naturally, which course of action would be more favorable to you – taking a plea bargain or going to trial.
When you’re facing criminal charges, you want the best legal representation possible. That’s why you need to ask the important questions to determine the best Colorado criminal defense attorney to fight those charges.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.