Being accused of a crime can be embarrassing, stressful, and emotional. You may be feeling frustrated, scared, confused, overwhelmed, and even helpless.
Feeling these emotions is normal and understandable, but the biggest mistake you can make is to let your emotions get the better of you and react in haste, or worse, not react at all. The truth is that most people who aren’t attorneys are clueless when it comes to their basic rights under the law. Our justice system feeds off of that truth. A conviction and the ensuing penalties can harm your life irreparably, so it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Why do you need an attorney?
Because an experienced criminal lawyer should know and understand the criminal statutes of Florida. They should have experience – and success – dealing with cases similar to yours. And they will always understand how a conviction can devastate your life.
In short, a skilled defense attorney is your best chance at getting your charges reduced, dismissed, or in some cases, dropped.
It’s important to note, however, that not all lawyers are created equal. You need to know what to look for – and what to expect – so that you can be sure you get the best attorney for you and your case. With that in mind, here are several things you should look for in a Florida criminal defense attorney.
Your lawyer should have experience successfully handling cases similar to yours.
While all cases are different, you will want to find a lawyer who has dealt with the charges you are facing before and has a track record of success and satisfied clients.
Why? Because it shows that your lawyer is effective and knows what he or she is doing. With experience comes knowledge. If your lawyer has successfully taken on similar cases, you know that he or she is versed in Florida law and understands what type of defense strategies will work best in your situation.
Your lawyer should be honest.
We’ve all heard the joke that you can “tell when a lawyer is lying because their lips are moving.” While there are certainly plenty of lawyers out there that are less than forthright with their clients, honesty is an important quality when choosing a defense attorney to represent you. You need a lawyer who will tell you the truth about your case and your chances of receiving a positive outcome – regardless of what that truth is. An honest lawyer will tell you what is helpful AND hurtful to your case, as well as explain how he or she can defend you to obtain the best possible outcome.
Your lawyer should explain all of your options.
When someone hires a defense attorney, they often assume their case will end up in trial. But while your case may go to trial, that’s not always the best OR only option.
Lawyers often negotiate plea bargains for their clients to get charges reduced or dropped –without ever having to go to trial. Your lawyer should discuss the potential deals he or she might be able to make on your behalf. And if you don’t like the deals and want to go to trial, your lawyer should discuss your case’s chances when presented to a jury.
Your lawyer should spend time on your case.
Your case is important to you, so it should be important to your lawyer. Before hiring an attorney, ask them about their caseload and if they will have the time to take your case on. You want to make sure your case receives the necessary attention in order to get the best results. The more time they spend on a case, the more a lawyer will know and understand that case, which ultimately leads to a better defense.
Hiring the right representation is the first step to ensuring the most positive outcome in any criminal case. If you have the resources, do your due diligence and take advantage of the fact that most criminal defense attorneys will offer you a free and confidential initial consultation.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.