Key factors that make a successful criminal lawyer

Key factors that make a successful criminal lawyer

Many people believe that a good criminal defense attorney is one who is aggressive and perhaps even pushy with the prosecutor or judge. This belief may even include the idea that a successful criminal lawyer uses theatrics and deception to win in court. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

No doubt, this perception is influenced, at least in part, by the many American prime-time television programs featuring cunning lawyers who torture the eyes of judges and juries or aggressively pressure the prosecutor to “cut a deal.” However, in real-life practice in Canadian courts, there are four factors that a good criminal lawyer needs to successfully defend a client against a criminal charge.

1) Knowledge and experience in law;

2) Thorough preparation of the facts of the case;

3) Ability to eloquently argue both;

4) Persistence (not aggressiveness) to achieve a successful outcome.

Knowledge and experience in law

This is perhaps the most important factor. A thorough understanding of the various aspects of the law applicable to a particular charge is necessary in order for a good criminal lawyer to think quickly and deal with any issues that arise in court or questions that the judge may have. The ability to answer these questions effectively not only satisfies the judge that the lawyer has an answer, but also gives him confidence that the lawyer knows what he is doing in defending the client against criminal charges. Also, a solid legal argument at the end of the trial can make the difference needed to win the case.

Thorough preparation of the facts of the case

Knowing what police, expert and civilian witnesses will testify about, as well as any other evidence against a client facing criminal charges, not only allows a good criminal lawyer to prepare effective cross-examinations, but also provides the advantage of being able to react quickly to a situation , in which a witness contradicts what he or she has stated to the police or in previous statements. A good lawyer can take advantage of conflicting evidence, which could be helpful to the client if the factual details are practically memorized. Thorough preparation of the facts of the case is an essential factor in the successful defense of a client facing criminal charges.

Ability to eloquently argue both

Knowledge of the law and the facts is an important foundation for any defense. The ability to bring the two together in an eloquent argument is what makes a good criminal defense attorney successful in court. It is never profitable to try to bully the prosecutor, the judge, or the jury in an attempt to achieve a successful outcome. A winning argument is one that is knowledgeable, eloquent, and persuasive.

Persistence (not aggressiveness) to achieve a successful outcome

It’s easy to confuse persistence with aggressiveness. There is a big difference. Aggressive behavior, whether in or out of the courtroom, only makes people defensive and ultimately alienates the judge and jury. However, being consistent in presenting the defense position at every reasonable opportunity can be very effective, in combination with the three factors listed above, in achieving a successful outcome at the end of the day.

With these four factors in place, an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can take advantage of a number of opportunities to successfully represent a client through all phases of a criminal case.

Copyright © 2011 Stephen Tress, Attorney and Advocate. All rights reserved worldwide.

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