Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

How To Recognize a Good Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, my job is to represent those who have been charged with committing a crime in the state of Georgia. A prosecutor represents the state of Georgia in a criminal case. Any given prosecutor has hundreds of active cases and has likely dealt with thousands during their career.  They see many different lawyers and generally know which ones will seriously litigate cases.  Much of this comes down to reputation. 

The prosecutors' offices know which defense attorneys have a track record of arguing motions and getting good results at trial.  These are the aggressive litigators who file serious motions and are prepared to back them up with case law. Conversely, they know which attorneys are just bluffing to try and get a better deal.

A good criminal defense attorney will always approach the prosecutor in advance of trial and initiate plea negotiations.  They will make a detailed presentation to the prosecutor that includes mitigating factors about the case and relevant legal arguments.  Short of trial, the best possible outcome will result from speaking and engaging with the prosecutor.  Some amount of persistence is often required but the good defense attorneys are able to consistently reach out without appearing to be desperate.  A prosecutor can usually tell the difference between a defense attorney who is confident in his position and one who is simply desperate for a result.  When it comes to plea bargaining, prosecutors will expect the defense attorney to negotiate in good faith.  This means not making misrepresentations and honoring any deals that are made.  A defense attorney can quickly develop a bad reputation by going back on deals and even making misrepresentations to a judge about what was said in plea negotiations.  Clients represented by these attorneys are at an unfortunate disadvantage because prosecutors are less likely to take them at their word and they cannot benefit from open and honest negotiations.  Good defense attorneys are always cognizant of their reputation among prosecutors and strive to keep a good working relationship with the other side.

A good criminal defense attorney also conducts him or herself professionally both in and out of the courtroom.  This includes not making arguments that they know to meritless or ingenuine.  Defending a criminal case presents the potential to file any number of frivolous motions but a good defense attorney will not do this.  Arguing frivolous motions does the client a disservice as it only frustrates both the judge and the prosecutor.  Once an attorney has developed a reputation for trustworthiness, they actually have a better chance of prevailing on a close question of law that might otherwise have failed.

To sum up, a good defense attorney has a reputation for being an aggressive and effective litigator.  They are confident in their arguments and willing to compromise but never want to appear desperate.  They are honest in their dealings and do not bring frivolous motions.

Practice Note

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About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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