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 a particular field of law, the Florida Bar certifies lawyers in certain fields, including criminal trial law. Board certification represents the highest level of evaluation conducted by the Bar and is currently held by only 7 percent of all eligible members of the Florida Bar. The requirements for becoming board certified in criminal trial law are as follows:

  • At least 5 years of experience practicing law
  • At least 30 percent of the lawyer’s practice must have been in criminal trial law in the 3 years preceding application
  • The lawyer must have handled at least 25 contested criminal cases, 20 of which must have been jury trials, 15 of which involved a felony, and acted as lead counsel in at least 10 of these
  • 45 hours of continuing legal education approved as criminal trial law education in the 3 years before application
  • Extensive peer review
  • Passing a written examination

Becoming a board certified specialist is not an easy task. As a result, consumers who retain a board certified criminal trial law expert can be sure that they are retaining an attorney who is among the best in the state. To view our list of Florida board certified criminal trial law experts, please visit our directory listing.