Best Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyers

Finding the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale

Getting arrested can be scary. Even if you’re innocent, the legal system is complicated. Having the right lawyer by your side makes all the difference.

I did a ton of research to find the top criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale. I looked at experience, track record, client reviews, and more. Below are my picks for the best of the best.

David Edelstein – Edelstein Law Firm

David Edelstein is one of the most respected criminal defense lawyers in South Florida. He’s been practicing for over 35 years and has a long list of big wins under his belt. His firm specializes in federal cases like money laundering, RICO, wire fraud, and drug trafficking.

Clients say David is a legal “pit bull” who works relentlessly to get charges dismissed or reduced. He’s known for his creative legal strategies and gift for connecting with juries. David handles cases in both state and federal courts.

His past clients include CEOs, politicians, celebrities, and professional athletes. But David also believes everyone deserves a vigorous defense – not just the rich and famous. He’s helped countless “regular people” beat serious charges.

Learn more about David Edelstein at his firm’s website.

Bradford Cohen – Cohen Law Group

Bradford Cohen is a bold, brash attorney who knows how to put on a show in the courtroom. He’s a former prosecutor who now exclusively represents the accused. Bradford is a regular legal analyst on CNN, Fox News, and other major networks.

His specialty is DUI and drug cases. Bradford is famous for picking apart breathalyzer results and getting damning evidence thrown out on technicalities. He also leverages his media connections to swing public opinion in his clients’ favor.

While some find Bradford’s style “too aggressive,” he has the track record to back it up. He’s gotten outright acquittals for hundreds of clients facing drunk driving, drug trafficking, weapons charges, and more.

Learn more about Bradford Cohen at

Jason Kreiss – Kreiss Law Firm

Attorney Jason Kreiss spent years as a public defender before founding his own practice. He’s compassionate yet aggressive and known for his mastery of forensic evidence.

Jason has gotten “not guilty” verdicts in several high-profile murder and sex crime trials. He’s also skilled at getting charges reduced and working out favorable plea deals. His clients often praise Jason for his responsiveness and for clearly explaining their legal options.

In addition to criminal defense, Jason handles post-conviction relief (appeals, early release, etc.). He’s helped many inmates get their sentences reduced or get out of prison years early.

Learn more about attorney Jason Kreiss at

Mark O’Mara – O’Mara Law Group

Mark O’Mara gained national fame as the lead defense attorney for George Zimmerman in 2013. Before that, he served as a prosecutor for years, so he knows both sides of criminal law.

Mark excels at dissecting the prosecution’s theories and exposing reasonable doubt. He’s known for his calm, respectful demeanor in court which plays well with judges and juries.

His firm handles cases ranging from DUI to murder. Mark is especially skilled at getting charges dropped before a trial ever begins. Clients appreciate his straight talk about their options and chances of success.

Learn more about Mark O’Mara on his firm’s website.

Michael Dutko – Dutko Criminal Law

Attorney Michael Dutko is a former prosecutor and police officer. He knows how cops and district attorneys work from the inside, which gives him a strategic advantage for clients.

Michael has a phenomenal track record getting serious felony charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial. He also excels at plea bargaining to minimize penalties like probation, fines, and license suspension.

Clients describe Michael as aggressive yet compassionate. He’s helped hundreds of people in Broward and Palm Beach counties beat DUI, drug possession, domestic violence, and other charges.

Learn more about Michael Dutko’s defense strategies at

What Makes a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer?

When searching for a criminal defense attorney, there are a few key qualities to look for:

  • Trial experience – You want a lawyer who’s spent a lot of time in front of judges and juries.
  • Former prosecutor – Ex-prosecutors understand how the other side operates.
  • Negotiation skills – The best lawyers know how to craft plea bargains and get deals.
  • Investigation skills – Digging up evidence and finding witnesses helps win cases.
  • Courtroom presence – Lawyers need confidence, quick thinking, and public speaking skills.

But most importantly, you need an attorney who listens and truly cares about your case. Their job is to be your voice in a complex legal system.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Cost in Fort Lauderdale?

Costs vary based on the lawyer’s experience, case complexity, and other factors. Simple misdemeanors may start around $1,500 – $3,000, while serious felonies cost $15,000 and up. Federal cases are most expensive. Ask potential attorneys for a free consultation and case estimate.

When Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer After an Arrest?

You have the right to an attorney as soon as you’re arrested. Police are required to inform you of your rights. Call a lawyer immediately to help with bail, evidence gathering, and reducing charges.

What Can I Expect at My First Meeting with a Lawyer?

The first meeting allows the lawyer to review the facts of your case, explain your rights, discuss defense strategies, and give a price quote. Come prepared with all relevant documents. Be honest about what happened so they can best advise you.

How Can I Beat a DUI Charge in Fort Lauderdale?

Skilled DUI lawyers know how to challenge breathalyzer accuracy, invalidate field sobriety tests, and exclude prejudicial evidence from trial. They can often get charges reduced or dismissed through plea deals. Punishments may involve fines, classes, probation, and license suspension.