I was contacted recently by a prospective client who was looking for a Utah defense attorney to represent him in a criminal case. He was worried about how a conviction would impact his life, and wanted to have the best criminal defense attorney represent him in the case. He had gotten the idea somewhere that I was the best criminal defense attorney in Utah. I had to explain to him that there really is no single “best” criminal defense attorney in the state.
There are thousands of attorneys actively practicing law in Utah. And a significant number of those attorneys devote at least a part of their practice to defending criminal cases. Given the number of Utah attorneys doing criminal defense work, there will of course be some that are better than others. But even among the top tier criminal defense attorneys in Utah, it is probably not possible to name a single “best” attorney.
There are a range of skills involved in defending criminal cases. But each attorney will have his or her own particular strengths. Rather than asking who the “best” attorney is for your case, perhaps the better question is who is the “right” attorney for your case.
High profile cases and television series often highlight the drama of jury trials. Being able to successfully conduct a jury trial requires a criminal defense lawyer to have a thorough understanding of the Utah Rules of Evidence, the ability to effectively cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, the ability to present the defendant’s story through defense witnesses, as well as effective communication skills and the ability to persuade a jury.
But while television series and news media coverage may indicate otherwise, the reality is that jury trials represent only a small part of an effective criminal defense practice. Legal research, motion practice, and negotiations along with a thorough understanding of the overall criminal process from police investigations through potential sentencing hearings and probation all contribute to a criminal defense lawyer’s ability to achieve the best results for a client.
Finding the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah
If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, choosing the right criminal defense attorney to represent you may be the most important decision you make. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard represents clients in criminal cases throughout Utah. His experience ranges from defending clients charged with aggravated murder to DUI, and virtually everything in between. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.