Most people searching for an attorney aren’t aware of the significant advantage of hiring a local attorney. Although sometimes hiring a local attorney may not impact your case and is dependent on the type of legal matter, great care should be taken in selecting representation. The attorney that you hire will absolutely make a difference in the results of your case!
A local and well respected attorney is familiar with the often times very specific court procedure, and has had the opportunity to develop relationships with the Judiciary, court personnel, and the prosecutors. I’ve been retained to assist clients outside of The Central Florida area and, in those instances, I routinely associate local counsel. The outcome of your case depends, not only on your attorneys legal ability, but also, their reputation in the community and the relationships that they have developed over the years of practice.
Getting the best result for your case is most likely when you enlist the help of a lawyer who spends significantly more time within the courts they visit most often. I’m very fortunate that I have earned a reputation of compassion, honesty and integrity. I served on the Florida bar grievance committee and, have obtained an AV rating by Martindale Hubbell.
WHAT ARE MARTINDALE-HUBBELL® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™?
The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. The first review to establish a lawyer’s rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the bar.
The Ratings Explanation
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. A threshold number of responses is required to achieve a rating.
The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities. Those lawyers who meet the “Very High” criteria of General Ethical Standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process – Legal Ability.
Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:
- Legal Knowledge – Lawyer’s familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)
- Analytical Capabilities – Lawyer’s creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge
- Judgment – Lawyer’s demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue.
- Communication Ability – Lawyer’s capability to communicate persuasively and credibly
- Legal Experience – Lawyer’s degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)
The numeric ratings range may coincide with the appropriate Certification Mark:
Subsequent to peer review, I am very proud to have obtained an AV Preeminent® (4.5-5.0) rating which is a significant accomplishment – a testament to the fact that my peers rank me at the highest level of professional excellence.
What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is the body of law that relates to so-called “public wrongs.” Criminal law does not only concern itself with disputes between individuals, but also offenses against the public order. The federal government, along with cities and states, define and prosecute people who commit crimes that range from minor traffic violations to serious, violent offenses, like rape or murder.
Individuals who are charged with a crime are called defendants, and they are represented by criminal defense attorneys. The governmental body that pursues the charges against the defendant is represented by a lawyer called a prosecutor. If you find yourself charged with a crime, you should contact a qualified and respected criminal defense attorney immediately. Protect your rights now and in the future.
Every lawyer involved in the criminal justice system must adhere to a complex set of rules of procedure to ensure a fair trial. The rules apply to both prosecutors and defense attorneys. This complicated procedure means that the criminal justice system is best dealt with by an experienced criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney should get involved in a case at the earliest stages, even before interrogation, if possible.
The arresting officers have the obligation to inform the person in custody that he or she has the right to an attorney and the right to have an attorney appointed if he or she does not have the resources to pay for an attorney. Most of us are familiar with these warnings – called “Miranda” warnings.
Crimes committed by children are handled by a separate criminal justice system, known as the juvenile justice system. Juvenile courts typically have less formal procedures and a less formal manner of adjudicating cases. While many defense lawyers handle both juvenile and adult cases, some focus their practices on only one type of representation.
Negotiating a Plea Agreement
Some criminal charges are dropped after a defendant’s defense attorney negotiates with the prosecutor. In some cases, the defendant pleads guilty or “no contest” to a less serious charge in exchange for the prosecutor’s agreement to drop the more serious charges. The final decision on whether to accept a proposed plea agreement always rests with the client.
Depending upon the severity of the crime committed, a defendant who is found guilty may be sentenced to serve some period of probation, to pay a fine, perform community service, make restitution or pay for the monetary losses caused by the crime, or to serve some time in county jail or prison. In some states, the most severe crimes are punishable by death.
A veteran criminal defense attorney will know how to work with a prosecutor to fashion a deal that provides for the least severe punishment possible. If no deal can be made, the attorney can mount an aggressive defense in court to convince the jury that the accused is innocent or that the prosecutor cannot prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the crime was committed.