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What Does It Take to be a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal defense is not an easy job. There are over 6,000 lawyers in Palm Beach County and less than 1,000 of them specialize in criminal law. A criminal defense attorney is a unique breed of lawyer – unlike anyone else.

I have been practicing criminal law for a while and there are many things I have learned over the years. You need a commanding knowledge of the law and you need to be able to apply it to each case. You need to argue each case convincingly. You have to read minds and you have to be able to persuade a judge or jury. You have to think fast on your feet and you need a reputation as a fighter and a man who will go to bat for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a DUI, drug, assault, fraud or weapons charge – only a good criminal attorney can give you the representation you need if justice is to be done.

Here are a few ingredients that make up a good criminal defense lawyer:


A criminal lawyer has to gather information from witnesses. These witnesses are often reluctant to speak for fear of reprisal. A criminal lawyer also needs an investigator on the team to track down pertinent evidence for a case.


A criminal lawyer has to make deals with prosecutors and sometimes plea bargain for reduced charges and lesser sentencing.


A criminal lawyer needs to have an objective outlook if the case goes to trial. This is critical if the defendant is going to accept a plea bargain from the prosecution, because a person’s freedom – and life – is at stake.


A criminal lawyer needs to be familiar with all the nuances of the law. Law isn’t black and white – it is grey. Many laws are court interpretations of state and federal constitutions.


A criminal lawyer needs to know the courtroom and the behind-the-scene procedures that are not written down in a book. The prosecutor with the “real” authority is the person you have to convince.

There are almost 1,000 criminal defense attorneys in Palm Beach County. If you are charged with a DUI, drug, assault, fraud, weapons or any other serious crime, make sure you hire a lawyer who has at least some of these qualifications. Criminal defense is not an easy job. But the rewards are great when you win the case or if it is dismissed.

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