Best Jacksonville FL Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These Jacksonville Criminal Lawyers?

We help connect consumers with top-rated criminal defense attorneys in Jacksonville. To determine which are the best of the best, we scored each criminal defense attorney or law firm across a half-dozen metrics covering three categories. Each firm or attorney’s results were analyzed to bring you a handpicked list of the very best criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville.

  • Attorneys reviewed: 18
  • Top picks: 5

If you or a loved one have been arrested, do not delay seeking the assistance of an attorney. The sooner an attorney can get involved in your case, the better your chances of having a strong defense.

The attorney you hire may start right away, studying the authorities’ against you, doing legal research, and preparing legal motions. That’s why the sooner they begin, the better, as they work to chip away at the prosecution’s case against you.

Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Jacksonville handle everything from DUIs to simple misdemeanors to white-collar crimes to violent felonies. Get the best legal defense in Jacksonville by choosing from this list of best criminal defense attorneys.

Read the profiles below and choose the attorney or law firm that best aligns with your needs.

Best Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers

Here are the best criminal defense law firms and attorneys in Jacksonville:

  1. Monroe & King
  2. Smith & Eulo
  3. Victoria Mussallem
  4. Janet E. Johnson
  5. Law Offices of Kate Mesic

Best Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

If you or a loved one are looking for an outstanding criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville, these lawyers are the best of the best.

Monroe & King

2258 Riverside Ave.

Jacksonville, FL 32204

Phone: (904) 474-3115

The two partners at Monroe & King each have prosecutorial experience that gives them a unique perspective on what it takes to successfully crack the state’s case against their clients. They have each been honored by The National Trial Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and SuperLawyers, and the firm maintains a 10.0 Avvo rating.

While they handle criminal cases outside of traffic violations, Monroe & King’s biggest practice area is helping those accused of driving under the influence. That includes preventing license suspension, which occurs automatically after an arrest, as well as representing those accused of underage DUI, multiple DUIs, and drug-related DUIs.

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Fallgatter, Catlin & Varon

200 E Forsyth St

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: (904) 353-5800

The three attorneys at Fallgatter, Catlin & Varon have a combined 80-plus years of criminal defense experience, and the firm has been honored as one of the best criminal defense law firms in Jacksonville by Partner Curtis S. Fallgatter is a former federal prosecutor, bringing unique insight into every case the firm takes on.

Their primary criminal defense practice areas include drug crimes, burglary, theft, sex crimes, fraud, domestic violence, DUIs, porn cases, and white-collar crimes, and they specialize in helping clients get their records sealed or expunged.

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Victoria Mussallem

5801 Philips Hwy #A

Jacksonville, Florida 32216

Phone: (904) 365-5200

Attorney Victoria Mussallem is a Jacksonville native who spent the early part of her legal career in the state public defender’s office. That experience inspired her to focus on aggressively defending those accused of criminal offenses, and she has spent the past 14 years in private criminal defense practice.

Mussallem’s practice portfolio is vast, and she takes on cases for those accused of offenses like domestic battery, DUI, assault, criminal mischief, robbery, resisting arrest, trespass, weapons charges, drugs, and more.

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Janet E. Johnson

3219 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, FL 32207

Phone: (904) 634-8991

In addition to being a skilled trial attorney, Janet E. Johnson is such an expert in legal matters that she’s regularly invited on local and national news programs to provide commentary on cases that have garnered media attention.

She has been repeatedly honored by legal organizations like Martindale-Hubbell, The National Trial Lawyers, and many more. Her primary practice areas include DUI defense, white-collar crimes, drug charges, domestic violence, robbery, burglary, probation violation, and more.

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Law Offices of Kate Mesic

6550 St. Augustine Rd., Suite 305

Jacksonville, FL 32217

Phone: (904) 615-8950

Founding attorney Kate Mesic is a former assistant state attorney who now leads a firm of two lawyers focusing mostly on criminal defense. Attorney Alex Gilewicz joined the firm after completing multiple tours of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Primary practice areas for the Law Offices of Kate Mesic include domestic battery, drug charges, DUI, theft, underage drinking, filing false police reports, juvenile crimes, resisting arrest, and selling alcohol to minors. They serve clients throughout Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Putnam, and Clay counties.

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What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in Jacksonville?

About 36,000 crimes were reported in Jacksonville in 2019, the most recent year for comprehensive national crime data. Nearly 85 percent of those crimes were property crimes like burglary or motor vehicle theft, and larceny-theft accounted for 62 percent alone. Like the rest of the U.S., in Jacksonville, property crime is considerably more common than violent crime.

Those figures equate to a population-adjusted property crime rate of about 3,300 per 100,000 residents and a violent crime rate of about 647 per 100,000. In both cases, those rates are quite  a bit higher than national rates overall. Property crime occurs in the U.S. at a rate of about 2,100 per 100,000 residents, while violent crimes are reported at a rate of about 367 per 100,000, and in both cases, Jacksonville’s rates are much higher, though that is typical for a major city.

Crimes in Jacksonville, by number and per 100,000 people

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 5,886 647
Murder 129 14
Rape 554 61
Robbery 1,294 142
Aggravated assault 3,909 430
All property crimes 30,088 3,309
Burglary 4,906 540
Larceny-theft 22,373 2,461
Motor vehicle theft 2,809 309
Arson 82 9

Comparing Jacksonville to other major Florida cities, it’s clear that the city’s rates tend to be on the high side, though it’s important to note that excluding greater metro areas, Jacksonville is by far the biggest city in Florida. Still, it ranks in the top half for all crime types but one (larceny-theft), and Jacksonville has the highest population-adjusted murder rate in Florida. Among the biggest cities across the country, Jacksonville ranks in the top half for most crime categories. Its highest position is 11th for its murder rate, and it ranks 16th for its overall property crime rate.

Jacksonville saw overall crime rates fall over the course of 2020, bucking a national trend that has seen most major cities post increases in crime rates. Crime fell by nearly 10 percent in Jacksonville and Duval County, though murders rose slightly and aggravated assaults climbed by about 25 percent. 

It’s important to note that police- and FBI-reported data does not cover closed cases or incidents for which a person was convicted.