have all heard the lawyer jokes. However, if you or someone you know
has been charged with a crime, a solid criminal defense attorney will
become your best friend. If you are facing fines, imprisonment or
probation in Pensacola, you need a Pensacola criminal defense attorney
with the experience, knowledge and tenacity to win your case or get a
plea bargain. You also want a lawyer who is extremely familiar with the
local Pensacola courts, Pensacola judges and Pensacola prosecutors who
may be seated beside you.
many people don’t know good criminal defense attorneys, since up until
this point, there was no need. Then a desperate search begins. We’ll
address some of the characteristics to look for in a good criminal
defense attorney and the do’s and dont’s of navigating the path. There
are many issues to be considered including ability, price, experience
1. Choose a criminal defense attorney who
specializes in the area of defense that you need in the state in which
you are being charged. State criminal defense attorneys are
licensed to practice in certain states. If you are facing a Florida
conviction involving drugs or alcohol, for instance, find a good Florida
DUI attorney. If you are in a custody battle, hire an excellent Florida
attorney who specializes in Family Law.
Referrals are a good source for finding a criminal attorney. Maybe you
have an accountant who works regularly with law firms. Or maybe you know
a Florida civil attorney who can recommend a competent Florida criminal
attorney. Remember, this is not the time to hire your uncle who once
got your nephew off on a speeding ticket. If you are charged with a
crime that involves criminal law, this is not the time to choose someone
who is inexpensive or inexperienced.
3. Determine what you want in a lawyer.
Not enough can be said for rapport with a criminal defense attorney.
You don’t have to “like them”, but you should respect their criminal
defense skills. Do you want someone who is young and eager or older and
well established? Will the criminal defense attorney be working the case
himself or will you be relegated to a junior executive or law clerk?
Young attorneys can be great for misdemeanor charges or traffic
offenses. Felony cases are a different matter and should be handled by a
criminal attorney with at least a couple of years experience. Find out
what percentage of time your lawyer will be spending on the case (this
can dramatically effect the fees as well) or what would happen if that
attorney suddenly had a family emergency. Find out how many court
appearances the attorney has made. For instance, if you have committed a
crime In Pensacola how many cases has he/she tried in that
4. Professional Organizations.
At the very least, a criminal attorney should belong to the County and
State Bar Associations. Many of these organizations offer referral
services you can use to find a defense lawyer in your area. Has the
lawyer you are considering published any books, articles or treatises?
If so, they have already been subjected to the most brutal audience
possible (other lawyers) and probably are a subject matter expert in
that field of criminal law.
5. Investigate whether the attorney has a Martindale-Hubbell rating.
“AV” is the highest ethics ratings based on the opinions of lawyers and
judges. “BV” and “CV” rated lawyers are good as well. Know that not
every criminal attorney participate in the Martindale-Hubbell rating
After you have located a criminal defense attorney, call
them to schedule an appointment. Many Pensacola criminal attorneys offer
a free initial consultation. If possible, talk to the defense attorney
on the phone before you meet to ask about his/her specific experience
with criminal cases such as yours. At this time talk about hourly rates
or retainers, so you know the fees to defend your case.
Choosing the right criminal attorney is a big decision. Your freedom and future could be at stake!