Here are a few questions to ask when you are interviewing to hire a federal criminal lawyer:
1. Does he/she have a PACER CM/ECF number? If the answer is “what’s a PACER CM/ECF number? Hang up the phone and call the next lawyer on your list.
2. Does he/she have a subscription to the publication ‘Florida Law Weekly Federal’, it’s expensive and most lawyers won’t pay the $500.00 yearly cost, but if he/she doesn’t read it weekly then he/she is definitely NOT on top the law and federal criminal law IS CONSTANTLY changing.
3. How many federal cases are active in his/her office? Most competent and active federal criminal lawyers have, at a minimum, five active cases in federal court. Don’t bother to ask their success at trial because most federal trials end up in conviction because federal courts have become famous for railroading defendants into convictions.
Winning in a federal criminal prosecution is only a possibility if your federal criminal lawyer is a wiz on procedure, can nail evidentiary issues hard and fast, and has earned the respect (and fear) of Assistant United States Attorneys in the local federal criminal courts. Power in Federal court is earned by fighting and winning motions and procedural issues. Federal court can be a sinkhole if your Florida criminal lawyer isn’t a real federal criminal lawyer, and that means in court, in front of judges and dealing with federal court cases in a significant number of cases. At a minimum it should be 30% of a criminal lawyer’s practice before they can be a real federal criminal lawyer and not a local lawyer trying to grab-off a case that is beyond their capabilities.