What Are Some Common Mistakes And Errors People Make When They Have Been Arrested That Can Hurt Their Case?
Utilizing the jail telephone system – One of the things that can hurt someone’s case is if they utilize the jail telephone system to discuss the facts of the case with their family. This is why a smart attorney doesn’t take jail phone calls. Those phone calls are recorded.
Talking too much – Another mistake people will make early on in the process is when they are pulled over, they just talk too much. There is a reason that people should limit their communication when speaking with law enforcement officers who are investigating any kind of criminal activity. That’s a mistake people make all the time. They will sit there and say they only had two beers at a restaurant or bar. People do it all the time. They just don’t stop talking to the police officer. There are a lot of prosecutors who routinely sneer when they hear the “two-beer” defense, as they call it.
Not hiring counsel fast enough – Another common mistake people make, is not hiring legal counsel fast enough. The sooner the attorney gets involved, the faster he can help.
Using a public defender – Unfortunately, Florida’s public defender system is just overloaded. It is not recommended that people rely on the public defender’s office because the caseload is so high. With a public defender, it’s very difficult to get the kind of representation you need because the reality is the very people who fund the prosecutor’s office also fund court appointed lawyers. They fund them at such low levels, it’s like trying to cram eighty hours of work into a forty-hour work week – you just can’t do that.
Not preparing written fact pattern reports – Another mistake is not preparing a written fact pattern report. Office chat sessions don’t work for getting the factual information your lawyer needs. Chat sessions are great for emotional comfort, but they have no place in a 21st century law firm. The purpose of any legal appointment is work. The most important work a client can do is to tell the lawyer what happened in writing with a detailed report. Every client charged with a DUI in Okaloosa, every client charged with a DUI in Walton – every client, period, should be given detailed instructions on how to provide a fact pattern report. DUI Defense attorneys are not requiring fact pattern reports and I believe this is a critical error.
Picking a lawyer based on fake lawyer ratings – Another mistake that people make is they pick lawyers based upon fake rating systems. The Florida Bar has had an official rating system since 1982. Here is how it works: If a lawyer passes the Bar and otherwise is admitted to the Florida Bar, they can practice law. However, they are not specialists in criminal law and in a DUI case, it’s very important to hire a specialist because specialists are at the top of their game. That’s the highest level of a lawyer’s experience, competence, reputation and ability that is recognized by the Florida Bar. Our firm’s head office is in Okaloosa County. You know how many DUI attorneys in Okaloosa County are certified specialists? One. That would be me. But most people don’t know the official rating of the Florida Bar from marketing labels such as “Super Lawyer” or an unofficial AVVO rating.
Not choosing a specialist – Florida Bar regulates over a hundred thousand lawyers. Basically, a lawyer is either a member of the Florida Bar or they are a specialist in a particular field. Attorney Stephen Cobb is a member of the Florida Bar but he is certainly not a specialist in family law, personal injury or anything other than criminal law. So, hiring a specialist is absolutely critical and there aren’t very many specialists; he’s the only one in the tri-county area.
A Public Defender Cannot Give Proper Defense, No Matter How Good Of An Attorney They Are
I was an assistant Public Defender from 1990 to 1997, so I can tell you from the inside what people already know. It’s extremely difficult to manage those massive caseloads. Most of them do a very good job and you will find many who are very dedicated but sooner or later, they are either going to burn out or move to private practice like I did. The truth is, there just isn’t the time to handle the cases. Almost twenty years after I left, it’s much worse now. Locally, the State Attorney has a very criminal law specialist on staff. The Public Defender’s Office does not.
If you are Facing A DUI Charge In Florida, It Is Important To Avoid Certain Mistakes. Call the criminal defense office of Stephen G. Cobb for a FREE Initial Consultation at (850) 669-5882 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.