Are You About to Suffer Courthouse Surprise?

Most first offenders have no clue about how the legal system works. The problem is, they think that they do or think that they can, with a cup of coffee and a few minutes on the Internet. Here’s the truth: If you were stopped by the police and given a Criminal Summons (a citation that looks like a traffic ticket, but has a mandatory court date on it), or if you were arrested, then you can be sentenced to go to jale. And it doesn’t matter how you spell it if you are there. Yet – surprisingly – many people (especially first offenders) are extremely nonchalant about going to jail. Jane1 was pulled over for speeding six miles an hour over the speed limit and given a traffic ticket with a fine amount on the back. A “forty-something” soccer mom and business owner, she was also given a second citation for No Valid Driver’s License. There was no fine amount, and the nice officer gently explained that she shouldn’t worry, just to go to court on time so an arrest warrant would be issued. He also assured her that although it was for a criminal matter, it was “just a misdemeanor” and that “she would be alright.” The officer’s words reassured her until she looked it up online and found out that the charge carried a maximum penalty of sixty (60) days in jail. Naturally, this concerned her. But two of Jane’s friends had been arrested before and neither went to jail, plus the officer had been so reassuring. “First offenders never go to jail,” one of her friends...

The #1 mistake people make after the Arrest

When lawyer advertising was first allowed by the Florida Bar, the public was confused by advertisements which overstated attorney qualifications. In 1982 the Florida Supreme Court established legal specialization to help consumers identify specialists in different areas of law. Criminal law is one of twenty-four (24) areas of legal specialization recognized by the Florida Supreme Court and regulated by the Florida Bar. Legal specialization is known as Board Certification. Lawyers who are actual, recognized experts are known as Board Certified Specialists. In criminal law, lawyers who wish to become specialists have to go through extremely rigorous testing over two full days, have actual trial experience (as opposed to just entering pleas of guilty or no contest) and each trial is then picked apart by legal experts in order to determine the candidates actual ability. Fake lawyer rating services are common Fake rating services providing “attorney reviews” do not require trial experience, testing or expert review of the uncertified lawyer’s legal work. They are not the official Florida Bar rating and lawyers who use these website rating services may not claim they are experts, specialists or use the Board Certification logo unless they have been certified by the Florida Bar. Instead, fake rating services rely on easy to rig “peer reviews” and “clients satisfaction” reviews. Common rigging methods include fake testimonials posing as client reviews, and cutting deals with other lawyers in different practice areas to puff up each lawyer’s ratings on the fake ratings review site. As one specialist put it: “A big, fat advertising fee inflates a lawyer’s rating and hides the professional failure to do the work...

How to Become a Board Certified Criminal Lawyer

The choice of an attorney is an extremely important decision, particularly for people who are facing a criminal case. The potential consequences of a criminal conviction can include significant fines, probation, restitution, and incarceration, as well as significant damage to your reputation within the community. As a result, anyone facing allegations of criminal misconduct in Florida should retain the best Florida criminal attorney that they can find, which can often be a confusing task for people unfamiliar with the legal industry. For a legal consumer searching for a criminal defense attorney, the options can be overwhelming.  A cursory internet search for “Florida criminal defense lawyer” will provide you with hundreds of attorneys from which to choose, all of whom are vying for your business. Many lawyers include a number of credentials in their advertisements, including their membership in organizations that designate them as “Top Attorneys” or having a certain “Rating.” While these credentials may seem impressive, they are almost always awarded by for-profit organizations that have a financial incentive to create directories of attorneys and have attorney members utilize their advertising options. Though these organizations do have standards and are often not simply open to any attorney who can pay, they are not necessarily looking out for the best interests of the general public. Board certification is awarded by the Florida Bar The Florida Bar is the state agency that is responsible for the regulation of lawyers and the legal profession. It has extremely strict criteria for admission, including successfully passing a two-day examination and an extensive background check. In order to help consumers identify attorneys who specialize in...

The Importance of Florida Bar Criminal Law Certification

As a person seeking a Florida criminal defense attorney, one of the most difficult tasks you can face is evaluating the credentials of the thousands of lawyers that are available to represent you. After all, if you are looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you may be facing serious legal sanctions, including probation, fines, restitution, or even jail time. As a result, you obviously want to retain the best attorney available. A good lawyer can help someone facing a criminal case in many ways, and can often have a significant impact in the ultimate outcome of a case. Not all endorsements are created equal Many practicing attorneys list their accolades on their websites and other promotional materials. Between the the National Association of Trial Lawyers, “Superb” Avvo ratings, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and The National Advocates, it can all get a bit confusing. While these distinctions have merit, the reality is that they are awarded by private organizations that exist in part to create attorney directories and provide a forum to promote their members. A Highly Regulated Profession Every attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Florida has undergone a thorough background check conducted by the Florida Bar Association. The bar regulates a variety of issues regarding the practice of law, including requirements to practice, ethics, attorney’s fees, and advertising. In addition, in the state of Florida, in order for lawyers to call themselves criminal law “specialists,” they must become certified by the bar. In order to become certified as a specialist in criminal law, a lawyer must meet the following criteria: Have practiced law for...

Florida Criminal Law Guest Articles – by the best criminal law specialists

Five ways to increase your suffering AND Five ways to help your Florida criminal defense lawyer help you! by guest author, Stephen G. Cobb, BCS People don’t know what they don’t know. As a result, many people charged with a crime (and their family members) unknowingly do things that increase the risk of criminal conviction and a harsher sentence. Here are the top five time tested methods to increase your risk of conviction, harsher sentencing and overall suffering: 1) Fail to follow instructions, from failing to complete a Fact Pattern Report to daily use of support materials to cope with stress. Classic example: dressing “nice” for court instead of exactly as instructed. Did you know that a defendant wearing an expensive, nice, gray or black suit is more likely to be convicted than one wearing a navy blue one? This is precisely why we give EXACT instructions on what to wear to criminal court, how to cope with stress and numerous other things. TIP: the support materials from Coping With Stress During Criminal Prosecution have been tested for over twenty (20) years, and clients who use the materials experience less stress and better case outcomes. 2) Pointless meetings and multi-part emails, especially “hand holding” appointments due to the failure to control criminal case stress. Pointless meetings are defined as any office or phone appointment a client wants to schedule with the lawyer without a specific purpose related to the outcome desired. Pointless meetings are the single biggest obstacle to productive work. Lawyers only have so much time each day, and pointless meetings take time away from productive work on...