14 Qualities of a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer


Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer after being arrested or charged with a crime can profoundly affect your case’s outcome. But what qualities are present in the best criminal defense attorneys? Keep reading to learn how to know if you have a good attorney in New Jersey. 

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Consider these factors when searching for a criminal defense lawyer: 

  1. Qualifications Select a lawyer who focuses exclusively on criminal defense. Criminal cases have different procedures than civil trials, and you want an attorney familiar with the rules and judges and prosecutors assigned to your case. Ask whether the attorney is authorized to practice in the court hearing your case, especially if you face federal charges.
  2. Experience You want a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience successfully handling criminal cases like yours. That way, you can feel confident that the lawyer knows the potential penalties you are facing and the best possible defenses for your case.
  3. Client reviews Choosing a lawyer with positive client reviews can give you peace of mind that you are hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney with a proven record of success.
  4. Transparency about fees You deserve to understand how much your defense will cost, so work with a lawyer who clearly explains the fees you can expect to pay.
  5. Connections with the community Hiring an attorney with professional relationships in the community can benefit your case. An experienced lawyer familiar with local law enforcement agencies, legal professionals, and potential jurors will have an insider’s perspective on the best approach to your case. 
  6. Integrity Your defense lawyer should provide straightforward advice about your situation and honest best-case and worst-case scenarios regarding the outcome. 
  7. Strong negotiation skills If you decide to take a plea deal, you want a defense attorney with solid negotiation skills to push for the best possible deal to minimize the penalties you face.
  8. Communication skills Working with an attorney who can break down complex legal issues into plain language will ensure you understand your rights and options. Also, choose an attorney who will respond promptly to your calls and emails — you’ll want frequent updates on the progress of your case.
  9. Persistence Get a criminal defense lawyer who will thoroughly investigate your charges and pursue every lead to find supporting evidence to boost your defense. 
  10. Dedication – Your criminal defense attorney should always have your interests in mind, never pushing you to accept a plea deal unless they believe it is the best possible outcome.
  11. Access to legal resources Prosecutors have substantial investigative resources to prepare their case against you, so you want a lawyer with access to top experts to level the playing field.
  12. Confidentiality A criminal defense lawyer is bound to hold their client’s information in the strictest confidence, so pick one you can be completely honest with.  
  13. Empathy Facing criminal prosecution is a stressful experience. Your attorney should offer a compassionate, personal approach to your working relationship so you never feel alone.
  14. Creativity and persuasiveness A good criminal defense lawyer will think outside the box to identify all possible defense strategies and argue aggressively in court and at trial.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer

Don’t try to navigate New Jersey’s criminal justice system without help from an attorney. Get William Proetta Criminal Law on your side. Our hard-hitting legal team has handled thousands of criminal cases ranging from disorderly persons offenses to murder. We can help you understand your charges and provide strong legal representation to protect your interests and secure a fair resolution. Contact us today for a free consultation. 


With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.