– Attorneys and Counselors at Law –

Brevard County Florida

What are the Different Types of Criminal Lawyers

Michael Kelley, Criminal Lawyer in Brevard County Florida

September 19, 2022

The court system can be intimidating and overwhelming if you are charged with a criminal offense in Florida. Rather than face your case alone, work with an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you achieve the best outcome. The criminal lawyer you choose should have experience with complex criminal law issues related to your crime.

However, choosing a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney requires knowledge of the various types of criminal lawyers available. A criminal lawyer’s experience and the specifics of your case will be essential in determining whether they are a good fit for your case. 

What are the Types of Criminal Lawyers?

There are district attorneys, also known as prosecutors, and criminal defense lawyers in criminal law. 


Prosecutors try a case on behalf of the government. They must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt with sufficient evidence. According to the American Bar Association, a prosecutor’s primary duty is to obtain justice within the law. 

They must act ethically to protect the interests of the public. In this regard, they must pursue appropriate criminal charges according to the details of the criminal case. 

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers represent defendants accused of crimes. They must establish their client is innocent until proven guilty by arguing there is insufficient evidence to suggest guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

A defense lawyer will also protect and defend your rights at every stage of your case. For instance, they can object to the prosecution asking inappropriate questions or introducing irrelevant evidence during the trial. 

What Are the Subtypes of Criminal Lawyers?

A criminal defense lawyer may be classified into one of the following categories based on their specialization: 

Public Defender

Whenever you face criminal charges, get arrested, or first appear before a judge, you have a right to have a public defender represent you. The court can appoint a public defender if your income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines or you cannot pay for a private attorney. 

A public defender is a licensed attorney working on behalf of the state to represent criminal defendants in court. Their duties include providing effective legal representation for all clients and advocating on their behalf. They work on cases involving felony or misdemeanor charges and municipal, county, and traffic law violations. 

Panel Lawyer

A panel lawyer is a lawyer who registers with the state to handle clients with criminal charges whenever the public defender’s office cannot represent them. Florida’s Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel appoints these lawyers on a rotating basis to clients for different criminal cases.

Legal Aid

Lawyers working in legal aid services and non-profit organizations offer legal advice and guidance for those involved in civil cases. People who qualify can receive free legal assistance from most legal aid offices. The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service offers low-fee panels for those with low incomes.  

However, legal aid lawyers cannot represent clients accused of criminal charges who cannot afford private attorneys since Florida provides public defenders in those cases. 

District Lawyer

A district lawyer works for the government to prosecute defendants in serious cases when the government is suspicious of their involvement in the crime. They can decide which charges go to court and what penalties defendants can face for their crimes. 

Private Criminal Lawyer

Private attorneys represent clients who have been charged with criminal activity and need legal representation in court. They can offer personal attention to your case by educating you about the legal consequences of your charges. They manage all steps of your case, from deciding your best defense or plea deal to upholding your rights if you are convicted.

What Types of Cases Do Criminal Lawyers Handle?

Most criminal lawyers deal with cases that fall into one of these practice areas: 

Property Cases

Taking or destroying property without the owner’s consent is considered a property crime. These property crimes are usually non-violent. They may include burglary, vehicle theft, shoplifting, and arson. 

Drug Abuse Cases

Drug abuse offenses include possession, use, and sale of controlled substances under Florida’s Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The drugs are listed as controlled substances within five schedules under the regulation of the state and federal governments. 

Any person found in possession of controlled substances can face felony charges, depending on the type of drug in their possession. 

Alcohol-Related Cases

These cases include drunk driving charges and public intoxication. Driving under the influence is defined as operating a motor vehicle above the blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08%. Public intoxication is being under the influence of alcohol in public places and causing a public disturbance. 

Violent Crime Cases

Criminal lawyers often represent those accused of violent crimes such as robbery, aggravated assault, manslaughter, murder, and sexual crimes like rape. In Florida, a violent crime is an illegal activity that results in intentional or unintentional harm perpetrated on another person. 

Fraud Cases

According to Florida law, fraud can result in First, Second, or Third-degree felony charges. Depending on the type of fraud and amount of financial loss incurred by victims, it can also result in misdemeanor charges. Fraud encompasses multiple illegal actions, including identity theft, defrauding investors, or perpetrating a lottery scam. 

Family Cases

Many criminal defense lawyers handle cases regarding family matters. These cases include the endangerment of a family member by physical, emotional, or financial abuse. They may also include domestic violence against spouses or children or sexual crimes, such as sexual battery, against family members. 

Contact Mario Gunde Peters & Kelley for Your Criminal Case

If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, it is vital to seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can ensure you receive fair treatment in the Florida criminal justice system and work on your behalf to defend your rights. 

Depending on the details of your case, they may help you get acquitted, have your case dismissed, or reduce your charges. 

Michael Kelley will represent those accused of criminal activity in Florida to ensure fairness and justice are served. Contact Mario Gunde Peters & Kelley to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and learn how our legal team can help you.

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