If you are arrested and charged with a serious crime, the most important decision you make is which criminal defense lawyer you hire to protect your rights and fight for your legal interests. Making the right choice can mean the difference between going home to your family at the end of the case or going to prison.
At Stechschulte Nell, our lawyers focus entirely on defending clients accused of crimes. When selecting your criminal defense attorney, the most important trait to look for is extensive experience investigating, preparing, and trying criminal cases in real courtrooms before real juries.
As a former criminal prosecutor and long-time criminal defense lawyer, Ben Stechschulte has an extraordinarily wide range of trial experience in Florida courtrooms. His ability to call on his prosecution experience to help design and argue your defense is a powerful asset for you.
Why Hire a Former Prosecutor as Your Criminal Defense Lawyer?
One-time prosecutors who then devote their professional lives to defending people accused of crimes possess valuable insight into the way the prosecutor in your case thinks. Defense lawyers who never worked as prosecuting attorneys can only guess what goes on in the mind of a prosecutor.
Better Insight Into Your Prosecutor —The best chess players are people who correctly anticipate what the opponent’s next move will be. Criminal defense lawyers with prosecution experience have a great advantage because they stood in your prosecutor’s shoes. They know the bureaucratic pressures, the heavy workload, and the limitations prosecutors face. All this inside information makes your criminal defense lawyer a more astute observer of the prosecutor’s tactics.
Former Prosecutors Developed More Skills — Preparing a case as a prosecutor involves entirely different activities than preparing to defend a criminal case. Prosecutors have the burden of proof and must gather, organize, assess, and present a detailed, piece by piece stream of evidence to convince a factfinder of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
When your former-prosecutor-criminal-defense lawyer looks at how your case was investigated and evaluated by the prosecutor, they have a better capacity to identify the items of evidence the prosecutor is worried about, which witness presents the most challenges, and how far the prosecutor will go in negotiations to dispose of your case without a trial.
Prosecutors Handle More Felony Trials — Because of the high volume of felony cases brought against defendants, the District Attorney’s Office front-line prosecutors need to handle more serious cases at a faster rate than defense lawyers who practiced the same number of years. Defense lawyers often serve their clients best by avoiding a full jury trial at which the client’s fate is controlled by a judge or jury. Prosecutors work on cases against dozens of defense lawyers at a time each of whom has only a few cases that might need to be tried.
The former prosecutor’s in-court experience, “in the trenches” as we say, in case after case after case teaches them what works and what doesn’t work much more quickly than another defense lawyer is able to learn.
Former Prosecutors Know Your Prosecutor’s Strategies and Tactics
Only by once working as a prosecutor can a lawyer know how a prosecutor thinks. Although the tactic is not fair, many prosecutors attempt to scare defendants into pleading to a criminal charge by “overcharging” the case with extra counts of serious criminal conduct. Their hope is that the extra charges will frighten the defendant and his lawyer into admitting guilt on the main charge to avoid risking a trial on all of the extra charges that will be dismissed when the defendant takes the deal.
Criminal defense lawyers who prosecuted at one time know what it takes to prosecute every charge and they detect this overcharging tactic immediately. Former prosecutors also know the difference between a prosecutor’s negotiation bluff and when an offer to plead is a genuinely favorable disposition.
With years of experience interacting with hundreds of law enforcement officers acting as investigators or witnesses, a former prosecutor knows which officers cut corners, which departments operate more efficiently, and which officers among them are considered untrustworthy, even by prosecutors.
Well Established Courthouse Relationships — Reputation
Criminal defense lawyers who are former prosecutors have spent years developing relationships with judges, court clerks, sheriffs, police officers, and other prosecutors. With an established reputation as a trial lawyer, everyone knows to take such a lawyer seriously. No prosecutor wants to risk being embarrassed by losing a trial to someone widely known to be a skilled courtroom technician.
Why is reputation so important? Criminal defense lawyers who avoid trials are well known in the legal community. Every prosecutor knows they can make higher offers to those lawyers’ clients, demand more jail, and yield fewer concessions because timid lawyers will always encourage their clients to plead so they can avoid trying the case.
With a courthouse reputation for skilled, aggressive, experienced criminal trial work, prosecutors know that Ben Stechschulte and Amy Nell are willing to take any case to a full trial if it is in their clients’ best interests. When prosecutors know your defense attorney is a veteran trial lawyer who is comfortable in court, prosecutors play fewer games and offer more concessions during plea negotiations because bluffing won’t work.
Former Prosecutor Earned Elite Recognition as Board-Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer
Tampa criminal defense attorney Ben Stechschulte is among only 2% of all lawyers in Florida who earned the honorable distinction of becoming “Board Certified” as an expert criminal trial lawyer.
Ben Stechschulte’s mastery of criminal law and criminal procedure together with his reputation for excellence means you can have confidence when you choose Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law to defend you or one of your family members in Florida’s criminal courts.
You should consider whether the criminal defense lawyer you trust with your freedom has the right qualities to do the best job for you and your family.
Contact Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law for criminal defense in Tampa Bay. Contact us for a case review today; 813-280-1244.