The Duffy Law Blog

Articles of Interest for Criminal Defense Attorneys and Their Clients, College Students and Their Parents, Athletes, and Title IX Advocates

What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Someone Who Finds a Solution for Every Problem

When life doesn’t go as planned and the immediate reality of the situation in no way matches the vision you imagined for yourself, take a breath and remember nothing is perfect. If you’ve been arrested and find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance keep in mind a criminal defense attorney has built a career around the premise of finding solutions. It is what they are trained to do. A criminal defense lawyer is a problem solver.


A Defense Lawyer Is a Tenacious Advocate

Advocacy is a vital part of a defense attorney’s skillset. They are experts at determining the best course to take. A defense lawyer can effectively become the voice of each client, and they are adept in protecting and preserving the constitutional rights of the accused.


Advocacy is a skill that can be acquired over time and honed with experience. A defense attorney is a mechanism by which the accused can present a defense argument to a judge and jury that will shift their perception toward a favorable outcome. As your advocate, a defense attorney will analyze your case, develop compelling arguments, interview and cross-examine witnesses, and present a persuasive case.


A Defense Lawyer Is an Experienced Strategist

The details of an alleged crime are important and need to be heard. A legal strategist can collect every pertinent fact and review every scrap of evidence—then use the information to develop the most beneficial, accurate, and verifiable version of your story.


A strategist may elicit sympathy from a judge and jury simply by showing the facts in a different way. A stellar defense attorney can explain the accused’s actions in a logical and believable fashion. A story can be presented in several different ways.  A strategic attorney will craft your story in a way that is designed for maximum effect with the audience, whether that is a prosecutor, judge or a jury. Presenting the evidence and your circumstances in a different light can sometimes lead to a reduction in the charges, or a dismissal. This is what a strategist does best.


Working closely with his or her client a defense attorney can develop a case strategy:

  • Based on truthful facts
  • With the ability to gain empathy and understanding from the prosecutor, the judge or the jury
  • That explains and proves the defendant’s story


A Defense Lawyer Is a Fierce Courtroom Contender

When a dispute cannot be resolved any other way a defense lawyer takes on the trial by jury system with resolve and determination. Handling a case from beginning to end is a huge endeavor, one that a defense attorney take on with the confidence of his or her convictions. He or she will stand their ground in all pre-trial hearings or conferences, and leave no stone unturned during a discovery process.


A criminal defense lawyer leverages experience and education to present a client’s case to the jury in a way that will result in the best possible outcome. A criminal defense attorney is trained to focus on the potential weak areas of the state’s case and lead the jury to view things from a different perspective. A defense attorney never lets the jury forget that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and uses the best available defense options to give their client the best possible chance. 


A defense lawyer stands with his client until every option is exhausted. If things do not go as planned in court, he or she can file and handle an appeal to correct any erroneous outcomes. 


A Defense Attorney Is a Top-Notch Negotiator

Every defense case presents challenges.  When an attorney assesses that success at trial is unlikely or highly uncertain, a defense attorney is trained and prepared to negotiate with the prosecutor and judge.  An experienced negotiator will use any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to leverage the best possible plea offer. He or she will also use your unique circumstances to demonstrate you deserve to be treated more leniently.  The important thing to remember is that a criminal defense attorney will know when to negotiate and when to do battle at trial. 


A Criminal Defense Attorney Is Empathetic

A criminal defense attorney understands fear, confusion, embarrassment, and even anger are common emotions among those who have been accused of crimes.  A defense attorney knows empathy is a virtue – he or she has helped hundreds who have been in your shoes. An attorney may not know exactly how you feel, but he or she will know that you are in distress and that the attorney is there do their best to alleviate you distress. The right lawyer for you is the one whose confidence gives you a measure of comfort. The right lawyer for you is the one who answers all of your questions the first time and then answers them again. Trust your gut – you will find the right advocate.


What a Defense Lawyer Does Not Do

A criminal defense lawyer does not judge you and does not take clients based on guilt or innocence.  In criminal justice, it is not a matter of whether you actually did something or not, but rather, can the state prove you did. Proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard.  A criminal defense attorney holds the prosecutor to account and can demonstrate all of the factors that support a reasonable doubt and therefore a not guilty verdict. A defense attorney does not rush to judgment and takes the time necessary to be certain the jury does not either.


If you’ve been arrested, accused of a crime or are under investigation, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  

Felice Duffy

Attorney Felice Duffy

Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.
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