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What Questions Should I Ask My Criminal Defense Lawyer?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP February 12, 2022

If you are facing criminal charges in Colorado, your choice of a criminal defense attorney in Boulder could make or break your case. With such an important decision – one that could permanently affect your future – it is critical to take your time researching and examining all of your options for legal representation. Part of this process is knowing what questions to ask a potential criminal defense lawyer.

What Is Your Experience in Criminal Law?

The criminal defense lawyer that you choose should have ample experience representing clients in your practice area. While every criminal case is unique, your lawyer should at least have a history of successfully handling similar types of cases. If you are facing drunk driving charges, for example, ask the attorney about his or her experience specifically with DUI cases. Look for a lawyer with years of experience in criminal defense law in general, as well; you do not want to be a green attorney’s very first client.

What Is Your Success Rate?

You will have greater confidence in the capabilities of your criminal defense lawyer if he or she has a long history of successfully defending past clients. While success looks different to different criminal defendants, the lawyer that you choose should at least have positive client testimonials from people who were happy with their case outcomes. Your lawyer should have the power to effectively guide you through the legal process, pursue your case goals, negotiate a plea bargain and/or represent you during a criminal trial for the best possible results.

How Much Do You Charge?

The cost of criminal defense legal services is always something that you should discuss upfront with a potential attorney. You do not want to be blindsided by exorbitant fees after it is too late. A criminal defense lawyer could charge a considerable amount for his or her services, depending on the amount of work your case requires. It is important that the quality of the services offered matches what you pay, and that the lawyer is transparent and honest about the fees from the beginning. Be wary of hidden fees or tacked-on charges that are left unexplained.

How Often Do Your Cases Go to Trial?

Ask the criminal defense lawyer how often his or her cases go to trial in Colorado. In general, avoiding a criminal trial is desirable for a defendant. Reaching a plea deal or – better yet – having the charges dropped before going to court can save considerable time, money and stress. It can also keep your attorney in control of the outcome of your case, eliminating the uncertainty of a criminal trial. This can give you greater peace of mind during a difficult time in your life. Find an attorney with a history of settling outside of court as well as the ability to go to trial, when necessary.

How Long Will My Case Take?

Ask your criminal defense lawyer how long he or she thinks your case will take to resolve. Until your criminal case ends, you cannot move forward with your life. You will be stuck in limbo, waiting to find out what your future will look like according to the decision made by the prosecutor or a judge and jury. Your lawyer should be able to give you a basic idea of the timeline of your case. Then, your lawyer should create a strategy for handling your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Based On the Charges, How Do You Think My Case Will Turn Out?

Although no criminal defense attorney should ever guarantee results, you can get a better idea of the possible outcomes of your case by asking an attorney how he or she believes it will turn out. Your criminal defense lawyer should have the experience and legal knowledge to analyze the facts of your case and present an accurate estimation of what will happen. Then, your lawyer should have the tools and drive to pursue the best possible case results on your behalf.


If you’re ready to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Boulder about your legal case, contact Dolan + Zimmerman LLP for a free 10-minute consultation.