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What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?

What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?The legal industry is much like every other employment sector in the state of Arizona. Some attorneys perform at a high level every day, while others struggle to provide their clients with the level of service they deserve

But how can you tell the difference? What makes a good criminal defense lawyer? Here are 9 things to consider when choosing an attorney to defend you against criminal charges.

Legal Knowledge

The Arizona Revised Statutes contains a multitude of criminal offenses that fit into broad categories, such as:

An effective criminal defense attorney has a detailed understanding of all the state’s laws and regulations. They can then use this knowledge to aid criminal defendants with their efforts to clear their names and avoid going to jail or prison.

Research Skills

research skillsWhile the best criminal defense lawyers in Arizona should have a detailed understanding of local laws, they do not have to be able to recite them by heart. When dealing with a criminal case that requires them to reference a specific statute, however, they should know to look it up. Of course, a lawyer’s research skills don’t just give them the ability to look for precedent and quote obscure statutes. It also allows them to carry out investigations into their client’s arrest.

During inquiries of this nature, defense attorneys can look into:

  • Whether the police violated their client’s constitutional rights
  • What methods law enforcement used during their investigation
  • How and when the police decided to arrest their client
  • Whether there were any witnesses that have not yet come forward
  • Whether the police failed to consider any relevant evidence

When experienced defense lawyers conduct investigations of this nature, they can often uncover evidence or information they can use to persuade the judge to dismiss their client’s case.

Negotiating Skills

The vast majority of the criminal cases that happen in the state of Arizona conclude in one of the following three ways:

Of those cases not thrown out by a judge or a prosecuting attorney, about 90 percent result in a plea bargain deal. The other 10 percent go to trial.

Though plea deals happen with a staggering degree of frequency, they do not come together overnight. They almost always require days or weeks of intense negotiations.

If an attorney is a weak negotiator, they are likely to attain an unfavorable deal for their client. However, if a lawyer has spent years developing their negotiating skills, their odds of securing a lenient deal increase sharply.


When a criminal case goes to trial, defense lawyers must stand up in front of a jury and convince them to acquit their client.

In some instances, the best way to achieve this goal is for the attorney to be loud and theatrical. In other cases, it makes more sense for them to be logical and rational.

At every jury trial, however, a great defense attorney must be persuasive. If they are not, they are unlikely to achieve a favorable outcome for their client.


Defending a client against criminal charges like rape or arson is seldom a straightforward job. During an average case, it is almost inevitable that a lawyer will suffer at least a few setbacks.

However, if the attorney wants to help the client get their case dismissed or their criminal charge reduced, they must continue fighting through this adversity. It is for this reason that the best defense lawyers in the state of Arizona understand the value of perseverance.

Communication Skills

Criminal defense attorneys are duty-bound to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. To accomplish this feat, they must communicate with the individuals they represent on a regular basis. If they fail to do so, they may inadvertently make a choice with which their client disagrees.

Of course, not all defendants want to speak with their legal counsel in the same way. Some like to discuss their criminal case through emails or text messages. Others prefer to communicate with their lawyer through phone calls and in-person meetings.

The best attorneys have the skills needed to converse with their clients in whatever way works best for them.


When Arizona defense attorneys take on a new case, they hope that they will one day be able to tell their client that the court dismissed their case. Unfortunately, lawyers don’t just deliver uplifting news. They also have to give their clients less welcome updates, like:

  • The police found new evidence to use against them
  • The prosecution brought additional charges against them
  • The witness recanted their story

Lawyers never like delivering this type of negative news – and defendants never enjoy hearing it.

Nevertheless, the best defense attorneys understand that they must act with integrity and provide their clients with honest information about their case. They know that they have to avoid sugar-coating negative news and give their defendants the straightforward truth so that they may make the right decisions moving forward.


The primary duty of a criminal defense attorney is to help their client fight back against the allegations of the state. However, this job is by no means the only thing they do to aid individuals who stand accused of committing a crime.

Criminal cases can be physically and emotionally draining for all involved. As such, the best lawyers understand that they must also show empathy and compassion to their clients and their family members.

Quite often, offering a shoulder to cry on is one of the best things a legal professional can do to help the defendant make it through their case with their dignity and self-respect intact.

Analytical Skills

During the course of an average criminal case, defense attorneys have to make hard decisions on an almost daily basis. If they make an error, they may harm their client’s chances of escaping conviction. However, if they can consistently make smart choices, they might be able to improve the odds of the jury acquitting their client.

Given the importance of the decisions that defense attorneys must make every day, it is essential that they have well-developed analytical skills. If not, they are likely to make hasty choices that lead to unfavorable results.

What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer? Call Our Law Firm to See

If you still want to learn more about what makes a good criminal defense lawyer, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Orent Law Offices, PLC. Attorney Craig Orent has all of the positive traits listed on this page – and more besides. Whether you are facing charges of drunk driving or murder, he is always available to help you with your case.

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