Justia 10
Top 40 the national trial lawyers
Rising Stars super lawyers
Avvo Rating 10
Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

What to Look for in Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Law Office of Douglas D. Rudolph
Gavel and Handcuffs

Finding the right attorney can mean the difference between a reduced sentence, dismissal, acquittal, and a conviction. Many criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations to learn more about your case and goals. Not all attorneys are the same, varying greatly in the scope of services they provide. Looking for the right attorney can feel like blindly looking for a needle in a hay stack, especially criminal defense attorneys because people understandably don’t ever think they’ll need one – until they do. Therefore, here are some key points to keep in mind when searching for a criminal defense attorney.

Thorough Evaluation

A good attorney will take the time to listen to you and will ask enough questions to obtain a full picture of the case in order to thoroughly evaluate your potential options. Your attorney should listen to your goals and provide recommendations based on those goals, as well as letting you know how realistic each of your options are. With the right attorney, you should leave an initial consultation feeling like your attorney understands your case, is knowledgeable and well-equipped to handle it, and is moving forward with your best interests in mind.

Upfront and Honest

You want an attorney who is straight with you. That means they don’t paint an unrealistically rosy picture about potential outcomes– they give you both the good and the bad. In discussing your case with a criminal defense attorney, look for someone who gives you all of your options and is realistic about the potential outcomes based on the unique circumstances of your case. Related to the last point, be especially wary of an attorney who guarantees a favorable outcome.  No criminal defense attorney can promise any particular resolution at the outset of a criminal proceeding– a good attorney will aggressively advocate for you, but depending on the facts of a case, he or she cannot force the hand of a judge or jury.

Clear Fee Agreement

With the right attorney, a dedicated and rigorous criminal defense is a worthwhile investment in your future. The cost of criminal defense attorneys varies greatly. Before hiring an attorney, you should fully understand the fee agreement. It is common for criminal defense attorneys to charge an upfront flat fee— however, retainer agreements or monthly installments may also be options. Your attorney should be upfront about the scope of services included in the fee agreement, i.e. whether a trial will cost more than if a case settles, or if any associated license suspension issues with the DMV are included.

Communicative and Accessible

You don’t want to be chasing your attorney down to get a simple update. Your attorney should regularly consult with you, and be accessible to you and responsive to your needs. Be sure to ask about an attorney’s availability. A good criminal defense attorney understands that unforeseen circumstances may arise, which requires immediate action. Your attorney should be available 24/7, day or night, weekend or holiday. If they are going to be unavailable for a particular time, this information should be clearly communicated and emergency contacts should be provided.

Prioritizes Your Case

It is likely that a criminal case is taking center stage in your and your family’s lives. A good criminal defense attorney will work tirelessly on your behalf — giving your case the attention it deserves and treating it with a sense of urgency. You should feel not only feel like a priority to your attorney, but also that your attorney understands your unique circumstances to best advocate on your behalf.

The Right Fit

You want an attorney in whom you have confidence. Attorneys vary widely in their styles and personalities. An attorney who’s the right fit for one person may not be the right fit for another. However, you want an attorney who is generally compassionate and helpful. Your attorney should spend time getting to know your situation and treat you with dignity.

About the Author

Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018.

Client Reviews

It has been my recent personal experience that Attorney Douglas D Rudolph delves into the essence of the situation with skill, diligence and perseverance. I had the benefit of the best comprehensive, strategic defense...


Absolutely phenomenal. Doug knows his stuff and does a great job of explaining everything and making sure you're prepared for anything and everything happening. Very helpful in answering any questions and taking the...


I highly recommend Attorney Douglas Rudolph. I got involved in a domestic case for the first time and was scared out of my mind. I had never been in this situation before and didn't want it on my record. I didn't know...


Doug and his assistant have been outstanding to work with. They are extremely professional and have been very kind and compassionate with me during this extremely difficult time in my life.


I hired Mr Rudolf to represent me in multiple cases and he was magnificent. He was able to procure the best possible outcomes in both case, which was fantastic. He was always available for my questions and never made me...


Get in Touch

Fill out the contact form or call us at (203) 343-7579 to schedule your free consultation.
  1. 1 Proven Record of Success
  2. 2 Free Consultation
  3. 3 Contact Us Today

Leave Us a Message