How a Second Opinion Could Help Your Criminal Case

November 30, 2021 Criminal Defense

When someone hears the phrase “second opinion” the first thing they think of generally is the medical field. There, a second opinion refers to ensuring a diagnosis is correct by asking another doctor or physician to confirm the first practitioner’s findings. In the medical context, second opinions can be critical since they can bring about novel treatment options, open up discussions regarding other diagnoses that might be more appropriate, and even save a patient’s life.

However, the importance of second opinions is not reserved solely for the medical field. A second opinion can be equally lifesaving when it comes to your criminal case. It can even be the difference between fines, jail time, and freedom. Protect yourself and your loved ones by seeking out a second legal opinion from Don Pumphrey and the team at Pumphrey Law Firm.

What is a Second Legal Opinion?

Second legal opinions are independent, unbiased legal opinions from a legal professional other than your current attorney that encompass your best interests and are based on the careful analysis of the facts and law applicable to your case. Second legal opinions can differ in detail and scope depending on the specific factual situation, but generally, they will involve you speaking with a second attorney about your case, the second opinion attorney reviewing your case and how it has been handled so far, and providing recommendations on defenses, strategy, and options available.

Why Second Legal Opinions Are Necessary

Second opinions can make all the difference between a conviction and an acquittal. Constant communication, attention, drive, and effort must be put into representation. Not only is that the ethical standard, but it is completely necessary to ensure that you or a loved one are afforded the most bulletproof and complete defense possible. Second opinions can be necessary to ensure a foolproof and comprehensive defense because many attorneys are juggling multiple clients and are not putting enough attention into ensuring you or a loved one’s defense leaves every stone turned.

A client who seeks a second legal opinion can more thoroughly understand their case after they receive the second opinion. It can improve your confidence in your current attorney’s handling of the situation or open your eyes to any deficiencies in your defense. It can be an excellent resource for clients who cannot retain private counsel but want the particular attention private counsel provides.

Do not leave your case to chance or unanswered questions. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm and fully understand your situation and your options by getting a fresh set of eyes on your case.

Duties Owed to Second Opinion Clients

Ethical rules regarding second opinions are not widely known or discussed within the legal community. The most recent ethical opinion discussing such matters was the Florida Bar’s Ethics Opinion 02-5 from March of 2003. While this Ethics Opinion is not legally binding, it is helpful in providing guidelines on what is ethical concerning a second opinion legal relationship, and what duties are owed to second opinion criminal clients. In sum, this opinion states that “[a] lawyer may give a second opinion to a person who is represented by counsel on how the person’s current lawyer is handling the case or give information on the services the lawyer may provide. The lawyer should not solicit the person who is represented.”

In more detail, the opinion discusses second opinion communications, meaning when a represented person contacts another attorney for a second look at their case, and whether such communications violate Rule 4-4.2 of Professional Conduct:

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer.

However, this prohibition does not apply to second opinion advice since a second opinion lawyer is generally approached by the represented person who merely wants an outside perspective on their case, or who may be interested in hiring the second opinion lawyer in the matter. Importantly, these communications are permissible primarily because the second opinion does not represent someone in the matter already.

Now, what duties do second opinion attorneys owe their clients? The duty is very similar to the one obligated to a regular client. A second opinion attorney must “give competent advice, and in doing so, should carefully consider any limitations with which the lawyer is faced.” This stems from Rule 4-1.1 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. Furthermore, the second opinion attorney should “scrupulously avoid improperly soliciting [second opinion clients].” The lawyer may discuss their services only if the second opinion client requests such information regarding the attorney’s availability and qualifications.

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm for a Criminal Defense Second Opinion

Second legal opinions can be an incredibly helpful option for clients who might not be able to afford private counsel to help resolve their case but want the advice of a seasoned criminal defense attorney to give a second opinion on the case so far, the sufficiency of the evidence, the nature of the charges, the judicial process, the defenses, as well as any outside strategies. Even those with private counsel can benefit from second legal opinions in order to get a fresh perspective on their case. Whether you or a loved one cannot afford private counsel and are being given the run-around by their appointed or public counsel, or you think you might benefit from a new look into your case, a second legal opinion can only help your chances at acquittal. Take as much stress out of the process as possible and contact Don Pumphrey and Pumphrey Law Firm for a second opinion by calling (850) 681-7777 or by sending an online message.

This article was written by Gabi D’Esposito

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