Best Florida Criminal Lawyers

Finding the Top Criminal Defense Attorneys in Florida

If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime in Florida, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be critical for achieving the most favorable outcome possible. This comprehensive guide will aid you in identifying and retaining the best criminal lawyers in Florida to advocate for you.

Overview of Florida Criminal Law

Florida has a wide range of criminal statutes covering both misdemeanors and felonies [1]. Some of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in Florida include:

  • Drug offenses – Possession, trafficking, distribution
  • DUI and drunk driving
  • Theft/larceny/robbery
  • Burglary and trespassing
  • Assault and battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Weapons charges – Illegal possession/use
  • Sex crimes – Rape, statutory rape, solicitation
  • White collar crimes – Fraud, embezzlement, forgery
  • Homicide – Murder, manslaughter, vehicular homicide

Penalties for conviction vary based on the felony or misdemeanor classification. Sentences can include fines, probation, imprisonment, and other consequences.

Having an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney assist you can be crucial for mounting an aggressive defense against criminal charges and achieving the most favorable outcome possible.

Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The key advantages of retaining legal counsel when facing criminal prosecution include:

  • Expertise on Florida criminal law – Substantial knowledge of Florida statutes, case law precedents, criminal procedures and law enforcement methods. Can identify defenses.
  • Guidance on legal rights – Advise you on your constitutional and legal rights throughout the criminal justice process. Prevent rights violations.
  • Defense strategy skills – Construct an effective theory of defense by exploiting flaws in the prosecution’s case. Locate witnesses, gather evidence.
  • Negotiation abilities – Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or dismissal of the case through savvy plea bargaining.
  • Courtroom presentation skills – During evidentiary hearings and trial, skilled criminal trial lawyers can argue before judges and juries.
  • Sentencing advocacy – Fight to minimize penalties upon conviction by presenting mitigating circumstances.
  • Objective counsel – With emotions running high when facing criminal charges, a lawyer provides clear-headed guidance focused on the legal scenarios.

Resource Advantages

Larger law firms have more resources to dedicate to developing the strongest possible defense:

  • Funds to hire expert witnesses, private investigators
  • Whole teams of lawyers, paralegals, assistants
  • Access to critical legal databases for research

Finding a Top Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

Conducting thorough research and due diligence is key to identifying and retaining the best criminal lawyer for your needs in Florida. Key credentials to look for include:

Focused Criminal Defense Experience

  • Years of specific criminal defense experience
  • Handling similar charges to yours
  • Familiarity with your jurisdiction’s prosecutors and judges

Trial Skills and Record

  • Strong negotiation skills to secure plea bargains
  • Ability to argue motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges
  • Proven track record taking cases to trial and winning

Legal Background

  • Criminal law education, training, specializations
  • Excellent knowledge of Florida criminal code and procedures
  • Strong litigation skills, continuing education


  • Solo practitioner vs law firm with a team of attorneys
  • Financial resources to hire experts, investigators
  • Access to current legal research tools

Client Reviews

  • Testimonials and reviews from former clients
  • Criminal defense lawyer ratings on legal directories
  • Overall reputation in legal community

A combination of impeccable credentials, skills, and resources indicates a top criminal defense firm.

How to Find the Best Criminal Lawyers in Florida

Use the following approaches to locate qualified candidates for legal representation:

  • Florida Bar Association directory – Search listings by practice area and location.
  • Legal advice directories – Sites like Avvo and list lawyer profiles, ratings, and reviews.
  • Individual law firm websites – Browse attorney bios, case results, client testimonials.
  • Referrals from professionals – Ask colleagues, business advisors or family members for recommendations.
  • Courtroom observations – Watch various lawyers arguing cases to evaluate skills firsthand.
  • Consultations – Interview multiple attorneys in person before deciding on who to hire.

Vetting multiple candidates thoroughly will aid in finding the ideal advocate for your criminal case needs.

Evaluating a Criminal Defense Lawyer During a Consultation

To choose the right criminal attorney, use initial consultations to probe the following:

  • Number of years focused exclusively on criminal defense
  • If they have successfully handled charges similar to yours before
  • Typical case load and ability to devote sufficient time/resources to your defense
  • How they keep up to date on Florida criminal laws and case law
  • If they have taken many cases to trial previously
  • If they have positive working relationships with local prosecutors and judges
  • Strategies they would use to build a strong defense in your case
  • What the full legal fees would be through trial

An in-depth consultation provides insights on qualifications beyond a website bio. Take time to find the best fit.

10 Steps to Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida

Follow these essential steps when retaining a criminal defense lawyer in Florida:

  1. Act Quickly to Preserve Rights

    Contact lawyers immediately after arrest or charges are filed. Evidence and witness memories can fade over time.

  2. Research Lawyers Handling Your Charges

    Search listings and profiles to identify attorneys with experience specifically handling your charges.

  3. Review Credentials, Experience, Case Results

    Verify licenses, education, years of experience, and case outcomes. Look for relevant expertise.

  4. Schedule Consultations

    Interview lawyers in person to discuss your case and evaluate qualifications.

  5. Ask Detailed Questions

    Beyond credentials, probe into case strategies, fees, negotiation skills, trial abilities, resources.

  6. Compare Options

    Weigh factors like experience, track record, communication style, resources, fees.

  7. Make a Final Decision

    Choose the lawyer that best fits your needs and personality. Be certain you can form an effective team.

  8. Formalize Engagement

    Sign an attorney retainer agreement outlining the relationship, fees, rights.

  9. Provide Case Details

    Brief lawyer on all relevant facts of your case. Withhold nothing – full disclosure assists your defense.

  10. Stay Organized

    Keep copies of all information supplied to your lawyer should you need to share again.

Following these key steps will aid you in retaining the best criminal defense counsel for your case needs.

Average Costs of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Retaining private criminal defense counsel in Florida involves costs and fees, which can vary substantially based on factors like:

  • Reputation and experience level of the lawyer
  • Complexity and seriousness of the criminal charges
  • Time required to perform defense preparation
  • Whether the case goes to trial vs a plea deal

Typical fee arrangements include:

  • Hourly – Rates from $200 to $500+ per hour, billed periodically as work is performed.
  • Flat fee – Preset, fixed cost for full case representation. More common for minor misdemeanors.
  • Retainer – Upfront lump sum payment to initiate work, supplemented by additional hourly fees as required.
  • Payment plans – Lawyers allow clients to pay costs in installments over time. Full payment still expected.

Be sure you understand precisely what you will owe before entering a fee agreement. Significant costs can be involved but a top criminal attorney may yield the best outcome.


Successfully navigating the Florida criminal justice system and achieving the best resolution involves having an experienced, skilled criminal defense lawyer fighting for you every step of the way. Do diligent research and take time interviewing multiple attorneys before choosing who to entrust with your defense. Vet credentials thoroughly. The right criminal lawyer can make a tremendous difference in how your case progresses and concludes. With an exceptional advocate by your side, you can pursue the most positive outcome possible.


[1] Florida Statutes. Title XLVI. Crimes.