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Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney


Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law

florida-criminal-trial-expert-board-certifiedDean Galigani is board certified as a specialist or expert in the field of criminal trial law, a distinction he has maintained since 2009. Board Certification is the highest level of recognition awarded by the Florida Bar.

Out of all attorneys in the State of Florida, less than 5,000 are board certified. The Florida Bar has estimated that only 6 percent of all Florida Bar members achieve this important distinction.

As of November 22, 2019, only about 443 attorneys are certified as a specialist in criminal trial law. Out of that small group, only a handful of those attorneys practice criminal defense in Gainesville, Alachua County, and the surrounding areas in Florida.

When looking for the best criminal defense attorney for your particular case, it is important to ask, "Are you board certified in criminal trial practice?" Not all qualified criminal defense lawyers are board certified, but those who are board certified have taken the extra step to have their competence and experience independently evaluated.

Why Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney who is Board Certified?

The Florida Bar has created a series of strict requirements to become Board Certified in the specialized area of criminal trial law including:

  • being a practicing attorney in good standing with the Florida Bar for at least five years;
  • being focused on criminal trial law and demonstrating substantial involvement in that specialty practice area;
  • showing experience in taking criminal cases to trial before a jury including at least 20 jury trial, at least 15 felony trials, and at least 10 jury trials as lead counsel; and
  • completion of at least 45 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) courses focused on criminal trial law and related fields.

The attorney must also pass a written examination demonstrating knowledge, skills, and proficiency in the field of criminal trial law to justify the designation of special competence in the field of criminal law. To maintain the designation the attorney must submit to recertification every five years.

Specifications for Certification Examination in Criminal Law

The purpose of the exam tests whether the attorney possesses the judgments, ethics, abilities, skills, and knowledge that are common to specialists in criminal law as a trial lawyer or appellate practitioner. Only attorneys that pass the exam can become a “Florida Bar Board Certified Lawyer." The exam includes both multiple choice and essay questions covering procedural and substantive law in federal and state court.

Topics included on the examination include:

  • Attorney-Client privilege;
  • Ethics;
  • Examination and confrontation of witnesses;
  • Fifth Amendment issues;
  • Grand jury, immunity, and investigations;
  • Jury selection;
  • Postconviction, federal habeas, preservation of error, and appellate practice;
  • Pretrial motion practice and discovery;
  • Probation violations;
  • Rules of criminal procedure (state and federal);
  • Rules of evidence (state and federal);
  • Search and seizure;
  • Sentencing practices and guidelines;
  • Statutes of limitations;
  • Statutes which define crimes;
  • Trial situations; and
  • Sixth Amendment issues. 

The examination does not cover juvenile delinquency law or issues specific to death penalty cases. Attorneys who are currently Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law will only be required to take the Criminal Trial multiple choice question portion of the exam. 

History of Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law

The board certification program was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1987. The program is operated by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education under the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida.

Attorneys who are designated as board certified in the area of criminal trial law have demonstrated superior experience and specialization in investigation, evaluation, pleading, discovery, taking testimony, presenting evidence, and argument of jury trial and non-jury trial cases.


Additional Information about Attorneys who Specialize in Criminal Trial Law

Attorney Directory of Board Certified Specialist Attorneys - Visit a nationwide attorney directory that allows the viewer to narrow their search to board certified attorneys in all state and national board certification programs. Search by keyword, name, location, or specialty area of the law, including the specialty area of criminal trial law. The Lawyer Legion online attorney directory also provides information about the attorney's membership and leadership in specialty bar associations, speaking engagements, and publications.

Find a Florida Board Certified Specialist Attorney in Criminal Trial Law - Use the Lawyer Legion directory to find other certified specialist in criminal trial law in Florida. The Lawyer Legion directory also provides other important information about membership and leadership in specialty bar associations focused on criminal defense such as the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the Florida Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), the National NORML Legal Committee (NORML NLC), the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), and the DUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA).

Criminal Trial Law Board Certification in Florida - Visit the website of the Florida Bar for information on choosing a criminal defense attorney, including the requirements to obtain certification as a specialist in criminal trial law. Find the definition of "criminal law" for specialty certification purposes. Find the steps to become board certified and a summary of the requirements. To be eligible for the 2022 exam in May, the filing period for the initial application opens on September 1, 2021. Applications must be postmarked by October 31, 2021. The rules regulating the Florida Bar 6-8 explain the standards for certification of a board certified criminal lawyer. 

This article was last updated on Monday, March 15, 2021.