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What to Look for in a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
October 6, 2022

Finding and hiring the right federal criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between freedom and years behind bars. You need someone who specializes in federal criminal cases. That’s because penalties associated with federal offenses are much more severe than state-level crimes. If you cannot find an experienced lawyer with a background in federal crimes, you risk losing everything.

Here’s what to look for in a federal criminal defense attorney.

1. Find an experienced federal criminal defense attorney

You need to hire an attorney specializing in federal criminal law—the reason is that in federal criminal cases, the stakes are usually much higher. Federal criminal charges generally have high statutory maximum sentences and hefty financial penalties that can involve fines and forfeiture. In addition, federal prosecutors want to win high-profile cases. And unlike state defense attorneys, federal prosecutors can afford to spend a significant amount of time and resources working on a single case or investigation.

Federal judges expect both sides to be prepared for a trial and not cause excessive delays. Choosing a lawyer who does not know what they are doing can cause significant problems for your case.

When searching for a federal criminal defense attorney, ask them questions about their experience and background. Questions can include:

  • How often do they appear in federal court?
  • How many trials have they had in federal court?
  • How many sentencing hearings have they had in federal court?
  • What types of cases have they represented in federal court?

2. Look for a federal criminal defense attorney with a successful record

When speaking with an attorney about potential representation, do not hesitate to research the attorney’s record with prior cases. You should ask them about their previous experiences and outcomes with particular types of cases similar to yours to gauge whether they can give you the help you need. If the lawyer you speak with begins to dodge questions, you may want to cross them off your list. You shouldn’t work with a lawyer who is not transparent and honest about their background and prior experiences.

3. Choose a lawyer who will be honest about your case

Another critical characteristic you will want to look for when searching for a federal criminal defense attorney is openness and honesty. You need an attorney’s straightforward assessment of your case to make decisions about your life. Here are some things to consider when interviewing a lawyer to represent you.

  • Is the lawyer making promises that are too good to be true? Criminal defense attorneys cannot control how certain aspects of the prosecution or trial will proceed. They should be able to tell you the likelihood of winning a trial or the likely sentence you will receive if you are convicted at most. If your lawyer promises a guaranteed win or that the prosecution will drop the case, it may be too good to be true.
  • Does the lawyer claim to have a relationship with the judge? Look out for lawyers who claim to have a special relationship or bond with a prosecutor or judge. An attorney may tell you that they have worked with a particular prosecutor or had extensive experience with certain judges. But this should never be mistaken for more than it is.
  • What if an attorney is pessimistic about my case? Sometimes pessimism can easily be misunderstood for honesty and a sincere effort to provide you with an assessment of your case and where you stand. You can always ask the lawyer for clarity of your situation or if they are giving a candid option and plan of action to help get you the best outcome.

Get the federal criminal defense attorney you need in Tampa

Setting yourself up for the best defense possible is key to ensuring a sound trial. I have tried nearly 300 appeals and can help you get the trial you deserve. Reach out to me today to begin building the strongest case possible.

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