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Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Making A Responsible Choice

by H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Lawyer

As a Colorado Criminal Lawyer for three decades – and having spent my life on one or the other sides of the courtroom – it is clear to me that few have any experience in retaining a criminal defense law firm. This article focuses then on some of the issues you may face in making a responsible choice – whether you hire our firm or not.

Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer
Choosing A Colorado
Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Real Meaning of 24-7

I represent – and it is true – that I am available 24-7.  The reason for this is that often the need for a Colorado criminal lawyer is urgent – someone in your family was just arrested, or there is a warrant out for your or a family member’s arrest. At times like these – there can be almost a panic to hire a lawyer.

Making What May Be The Most Important Decision In Your Life

First – Do NOT Bargain Shop

If on the first call from a stressed individual charged with a crime – the question – before we get into the facts and circumstances of their case is – “How much do you charge?” I know that it is unlikely that person will retain my firm.  I know that because this inquiry to see who quotes the lowest price, and then retain that firm, is the worst way to make what may be the most important decision in one’s life.

It is not a good idea to retain any professional based on the lowest or near lowest fees – I spend a lot of time “unworking” bad plea bargains or poor trial results from individuals who have made their decision solely on the fee charged.  Our fees are average in the Denver, Colorado area and we are careful to make certain they always fall into that category. We believe our fees are reasonable for the client-service, experience and ability we provide. One thing you will not receive for the fee ..you will not get some young associate learning the law on your case..

I represent ALL of my clients personally and never farm cases out to another lawyer in my firm…. ever.

Sometimes we can fix the results of our less expensive colleagues but if an inexperienced attorney handled a case poorly from the start – some things are simply not fixable.

We know that our firm’s fees are the best value in the long run a given our experience and personal service.

The Role of Experience – There is No Substitute

Experience… There is nothing important than going to court every day.  I spend about 10% of my time in my office.  The rest of my professional time is spent in the trial courtrooms of the Denver Metropolitan area and the Front Range of Colorado. Yes I am always learning on the job – smart lawyers never stop studying the law and working in the courtroom trenches.. There is no “finish line” in the quest for experience and knowledge in this constantly changing field of law.

I constantly scour the web for new ideas and strategies in criminal law.. Never resting solely on my experience and understanding – everysingle day – even as I type these words at 5 in the morning on the Saturday before Christmas 2012 – that learning the law never ends..

Finally if you re retaining a criminal defense attorney – determine you need to know how much of their practice is dedicated to criminal defense. If criminal defense is one of several practice areas listed on their website, you may want to choose an attorney with a more specific and specialized practice.

What Kind Of Experience?  – How many years of experience does this lawyer have in Criminal Defense Law?

While the skills and strategy of prosecuting criminal cases are not completely identical to those for defending criminal matter having prosecution skills is a great training ground for a Colorado criminal defense lawyer. We all know this. It is also worth finding out how many years an attorney has defended the accused.

The transition for a prosecutor to learn how to defend cases and to learn the specialized techniques criminal defense lawyers use regularly takes time.  My experience – as of 2012 – is over 30 years – nearly evenly split between prosecution and defense. 

Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Prior Experience In Prosecuting Cases? 

My opinion is that the best training ground for criminal defense attorneys is being a former prosecutors. Lawyers with this type of experience learn what techniques prosecutors use, it makes it easier to counter those moves. Prosecutors are try many cases in a short period of time – the best lawyers have spent that time in the “trenches”of the criminal law courtroom. Experience in front of a judges and juries.. and there is no substitute for going through the prosecution experience. Working as a career District Attorney for Arapahoe and Douglas County has given me insight on how the process works from the prosecution’s perspective

Certainly there are some excellent criminal defense lawyers that have never prosecuted cases, but it may be hard to identify them or discover whether they’ve even received the basic training that most prosecutors receive. There are Colorado criminal defense attorneys may actually advertise that “we have never been on the prosecution side,” to me that’s counter productive and a little ridiculous – it is like saying having insights into the tactics of how your opponent (the enemy) thinks is somehow a disadvantage. …not to mention the line of communication that ex-prosecutors have that are just not there for those unfamiliar with the DA’s thought patterns and agendas that become part of every case they are responsible to prosecute. 

The Role of Personal Service – The Small Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm

Our law firm is small – and our success is NOT based on the volume of cases we can churn out. I handle every case personally and do not bring the case in and then farm it out to a young and inexperienced associate lawyer.  I AM my law firm and as a DA or as a defense lawyer – every move – every decision I make is mine and mine alone in consultation with other professionals at times and of course – my clients. Every case received the custom attention it needs. Every case is important…and even what may at first appear to be “small” convictions may stay on your record forever.

While I Do Free Consultations By Phone – I Personally Meet  And Handle Every Case With Every Client

Out firm strongly recommends that you meet your lawyer in person at the time you hire them, including us. Sometimes this is impossible due to unfortunate circumstances – a late arrest – family or friends are doing the hiring because you are in jail. However, you must be clear on this – your lawyer is your personal representative, he or she is the person who engages with judges – prosecutors and juries. He or she is your voice and you must feel comfortable and confident in your lawyer and that he or she is not only professional and experienced but is the person who you trust to take on your case and is vested in getting the best possible results in your case… This is most often a “visceral” reaction.

Not A Hand Holder

I have been told by almost everyone I have ever met – that while I am there for my clients and I am completely supportive of them in every respect  – I am blunt – direct – and not a “hand holder.” My clients tell me they like that approach – but some possible clients do not like that approach and often I will not take their case for that reason alone.

It has been my life experience that some things are too important for there to be a lack of “focus.” Illness is one – being charged with a life changing criminal offense – is another. I never “code” my communications to save feelings – most have family and friends for that – my responsibility is to tell my clients the unvarnished truth – “how it is” – in words they will understand here and now.. Open communication is the key to a successful defense.

Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Take Hiring a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Seriously

Choosing the right lawyer for your case is not only important… it is critical. Life is not fair – the criminal justice system is not fair – sometimes “justice” ends up being which side had the better lawyer … – no – this is true not just someof the time but rather MOST of the time. The process of trying to figure out which lawyers are actually good at what they do is difficult. 

Some Key Points On Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your lawyer should have:

• Experience, not only with Colorado criminal law, but also with the kind of specific Colorado criminal charges you are facing. Be aware that the federal criminal system is different than a state’s criminal system. If you are facing federal charges, you will want to hire an attorney who has federal criminal defense experience and a thorough understanding the federal criminal system

• A good working relationship with the prosecuting attorney in your case or at least others in the same office

• A strategy for you that you believe will get you positive results

•A fair legal fee in the State in which they practice.

Then ask yourself before the decision:

•Which lawyer seemed most trustworthy?

•Which lawyer earned your confidence the most?

•With lawyer was the most direct and honest and which one were you most comfortable?

Some Questions You To Ask Others Who Have Retained The Lawyer You Are Investigating

•Did your attorney work hard for you?

•Did your attorney seem to have the respect of the prosecuting attorney?

•What did you like about your attorney?

•What did you not like?

•Would you rehire your attorney if you ever needed a criminal defense attorney again?

Legal Fees – Payment Terms

 Our law firm understands the current difficult economic times and we DO accept credit cards for payment. However do not delay. Early representation by a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney may result in a much better conclusion to your case.

I hope this kind of information helps you, whether you hire our firm or not.

A criminal defense attorney understands criminal law and can do a number of things to benefit your case. A criminal defense attorney can:

•Challenge your arrest – did the police have probable cause to make the arrest? The search?

• Determine if the charges were “trumped up” .. Are they supported by the evidence seized?

• Argue in favor of your being released on a reduced bail

•Negotiate plea bargains with prosecutors

•Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case and discuss with you the pros and cons of going to trial

•Go over the advantages and disadvantages of pleading guilty

These are things you should NOT do by yourself.

Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..

Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the First 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior  prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.

In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.  Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277

If you have questions about Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and will also provide quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters.

In the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters as regards Choosing A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
DTC Quadrant Building
5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
Primary Web Site:  http://www.HMichaelSteinberg.com
Colorado Criminal Law Blog:  www.Colorado-Criminal-Lawyer-Online.com
Main:  303.627.7777
Cell:  720.220.2277
24/7 Pager:  303.543.4433
FAX (Toll Free):  1.877.533.6276
Always investigate a lawyer's qualifications and experience before making a
decision to retain that lawyer or, for that matter, any professional ...in any field.