How Should A Military Person Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
There are a few basic steps to consider when hiring an attorney. The first step is to eliminate all of the criminal defense lawyers who are not certified by the Florida Bar as specialists in a criminal law. As a consumer, you don’t know if an uncertified lawyer is just lazy, unable to pass the 2-day certification test, or lacks trial experience.
Florida has over 100,000 lawyers that are regulated by the Florida bar. Searching through and sorting 100,000 lawyers is just not practical. Therefore, the smartest thing to do is to limit the search to certified criminal specialists. This way you know your lawyer is and is someone that the state prosecutor takes seriously. This does affect plea bargaining.
Unfortunately, many have been fooled by fake social media reviews. The Florida Bar was concerned about people puffing up their qualifications decades ago. In the early 1980s, they created a review system known as Board Certification. In order to separate out the real specialists from “popularity contests” online, the Bar created a rigorous 2-day Criminal Trial Law Board Certification test that is much harder than the 2-day bar exam. For example, the last time the board certification exam was given in criminal law, almost 90% of the criminal defense lawyers who took the test failed the exam. Unlike social media reviews that are easily faked, The Florida Bar review process can’t be gamed. A lawyer has to prove specialization through difficult testing, anonymous peer reviews – including from opponents sand trial judges – and jury trial experience with difficult and complex cases.
A review company selling advertising for lawyers isn’t going to require very much in the form of expertise and experience. They are certainly not going to track the attorney’s actual trial skill or require tests that would cost the online review business money. The Florida Bar is not a profit seeking business. The Bar is a professional regulatory agency that takes professionalism quite seriously. The best attorneys and top Florida lawyers are certified specialists.
A large number of people are fooled by the online reviews for uncertified lawyers. Some of the uncertified lawyers’ reviews ignore the fact that the lawyer in question has never taken a major felony case to trial even though they have been practicing for years. Trial experience is critical especially if someone has a bad or dangerous case.
Many people think just the opposite “Oh, I can’t win so I should just go in and throw myself on the mercy of the court”.
That is about as good as throwing yourself onto a pile of broken glass from a 10-story building; a very bad idea. If your lawyer is afraid of the courtroom on jury selection day and fearful of trials, the plea offer will reflect that but a consumer would never know. At the time of this writing, my last two trials were a felony sex offense and a vehicular homicide. The former was reversed on appeal due to an error by the judge during trial and the latter was an acquittal. So, the prosecutor knows that the founder of the Cobb Law Firm can find his way to the courtroom.
Whether it is misdemeanor or felony cases, if he goes to trial, Attorney Cobb’s goal is no less than five days of court trial litigation. In a legal arena such as Florida, many criminal cases are tried in two days or less. A five day trial completely gums up the entire criminal justice system and that is by design. If your case goes to trial, there is no second place. Your defense lawyer should never be rushed to hurry the case up for the convenience of the government prosecutor, the judge or anyone else. Nothing is left to chance. Also, very few state attorneys like a five day jury trial. They are extremely busy with too much to do and not enough time. They’re used to a trial taking a day or less. Two days tops. When they have a five day jury trial, it’s like something out of knife fight. Nobody comes out of the fight saying, “I’ve won!” They feel like saying something more like “Take me to the hospital.”
Does this affect plea bargains? Absolutely! Since military service personnel have so much riding on a criminal case outcome, a criminal defense lawyer’s courtroom reputation is a critical factor to consider.
You want a defense attorney to be one the prosecutor would rather not have a long and painful trial with.
The process should start with hiring a specialist. From there, retain the best lawyer you can find. That’s the most important thing to do when you’re hiring legal counsel.
Can Someone In The Military Still Be Deployed If They Have Pending Criminal Charges?
Someone in the military can still be deployed if they have a pending case. It depends on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the charges. Cobb Law Firm has had many clients who were deployed, PTSD or go on TDY. Many attorney – client consultations have been done telephonically while the military service member was in Afghanistan. In these situations, the client’s chain of command going to have questions about court dates so one of the things that we do is very tight court management.
Tight court management means that if you have a court proceeding coming up and you do not need to be there, the defense attorney then finds a way to excuse them from court; whether it’s a waiver of arraignment or even a motion to continue in some cases. Either way, if someone is deployed, is on temporary duty or has a permanent change of station, it’s very important that the defense attorney is mindful of how military life is different. They are in a different position from someone in a civilian job, in the civilian environment who is five miles from the courthouse.
For more information on Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 850-423-0035 today.
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