Call for consultation 8504379410 8504379410

Selecting an Advocate/ Choosing a Lawyer?

How do I chose a criminal defense lawyer in Pensacola?

There are questions you should ask-

First ask- Do I need a Lawyer?

Some issues are non-criminal and many people will qualify for a the appointment of a Public Defender (PD).  PD’s are licensed attorneys.  They work with the same judge and prosecutor on a daily basis.  Sometimes that can work an accused’s advantage.  Sometimes clients ask what extra benefit the “private” lawyer brings to a particular case.  The general advantage is the individual attention I can give to the person charged with a crime, but I do not discount the value of public defenders.  I was a public defender from 1992 through 1995, and know the commitment PD’s bring into the courtroom.  Some great lawyers have spent their careers representing folks who could not afford a private attorney.
One last consideration is that money is occasionally better spent on obtaining a valid driver’s license (and taking it to court) or in making restitution than hiring a lawyer.

When you decide to hire a lawyer – choose wisely.  Pick a lawyer you can communicate well with and trust, who will fight for you and give you the best chance at winning.  You are not buying windows or comparing prices on televisions.
You are hiring an advocate.

Here are some quick questions to help you decide on a lawyer, you are looking to hire:

FIRST – How many years has the lawyer you been in practice. Some newer lawyers know little about practicing law and how the law and circumstances (Judge, prosecutor, and extenuating facts) will affect your case. If it was someone you love who was charged with a crime, would you want an inexperienced lawyer to handle the case? There is no substitute for experience. Chris Rabby has been practicing law since 1992.

NEXT QUESTION – How many criminal trials has the lawyer had and what were the results? Not all cases go to trial, but ask- Has the lawyer tried a criminal trial this year? Ever? You only want the lawyer who has actually stood up and argued the case. If the lawyer you are talking to has never tried a case, move on to the nest lawyer.  Chris Rabby has tried cases ranging from simple battery to murder.

THIRD – Who in the office will actually handle my case? Your freedom is too valuable to explain everything to investigators, paralegals, an associate who will not be trying the case and lack the trial experience to determine what is crucial to your defense. Can those assistants and associates help and make your case a winner? Yes, but there is no substitute for experience. So if the lawyer you are hiring is not going to be personally involved and responsible – Move on.

FOURTH – How will the lawyer keep me informed about my case? You are buying advice and you are paying for someone to keep you informed about how the case is going and where it is going, so how will you get information? Some lawyers are “not in” more than they were “in.” at least when it came to talking to them. It is our office policy to return all calls within 24 hours and provide clients with copies of all pleadings and discovery. Chris Rabby’s intention is to keep all clients informed. Get a lawyer who is going to take your calls and be around to talk when you need to talk. Just how will the lawyer you are speaking with get information to you?

LAST QUESTION– How much will the case really cost? That is sometimes a tough question to answer, because a “simple” DUI case might cost you $3,500 or $10,000 depending on how the case is handled, how much time is spent, the expenses (court reporters, depositions and subpoenas) involved and expert witnesses. Will you be charged a “flat fee” covering all the work or will you pay by the hour? There are options that you should decide. Deciding how the case will be handled will also help you decide how much it will cost.

If you have been charged with a crime, find someone you can communicate with, that will explain the system works and what to expect. Hire the best lawyer you can find, your liberty is at stake.

Call Christopher L. Rabby, P.A.
(850) 437-9410


The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely on an advertisement. You have the right to request free written information about the education, experience, and qualifications of any of our attorneys before hiring them. No attorney-client relationship exists prior to the execution of an attorney-client contract.