How do I choose the right criminal or DUI attorney in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida?
There are many differnt types of lawyer ratings out there that recognize attorney excellence. Some good ones to look for: Martindale-Hubbell awards, AVVO ratings, SuperLawyers, and National Advocacy type awards for the practice area, such as DUI or Criminal Defense.
Reading about the experiences of former clients will give you a good idea of who the attorney is, how well he treats his clients, and how he handles his cases. I recommend checking out reviews on Google - you can usually find them on the law firm's Google Business / Google Maps profile.
In addtion to reviews - check out the attorneys' websites to see if they have case results posted. This will help give you an idea of if they can handle tough cases, if they've gotten good results on a case that sounds similar to yours, and can help you see what the law firm considers as a good outcome.
LOCAL EXPERIENCE AND PRACTICE AREAS
Local Attorneys are definitely something we recommend. The attorney will have a better understanding of the local players - including police, law enforcement, state prosecutors, judges, and more - which will greatly benefit your case.
It wouldn't make much sense for someone in Orlando to hire us on a DUI case there - sure, we're fantastic DUI attorneys and get great results, but we dont't know the local system well so although we get great results on DUI cases in South Florida, we likely wouldn't be able to get as great of results in Orlando as we have NO knowledge or experience with the local players.
Related to this, make sure that the attorney has some sort of experience in the type of crime you've been charged with in South Florida. For example - we obviously handle criminal & DUI defense (and home insurance claims!) -- but we'd never agree to represent someone in a divorce, we'd have no idea what we're doing.
Not all lawyers are created equal, and while we specialize in DUI and many different types of criminal defense - some Florida attorneys may only handle theft criminal cases, or something super specific, for example. You want someone with experience in what you're charged with - BUT - you also don't want a 'general criminal defense' attorney who says they handle all criminal defense charges but don't have any specific crime information on their website. A good place to see what a lawyer has knowlede on is on thier practice area page.
Once you’ve found a couple of highly rated attorneys in your area, definitely set up an initial consultation to discuss your case. During this consultation the lawyer should be focused on educating you about the process and coming up with a solid plan of attack for your defense.
*TIP: There shouldn't be anything hiding behind the curtain. The best lawyers will lay out the full plan of attack right away instead of just giving you a sliver of information and then trying to pressure you to hire them on the spot.