Eric J Dirga, PA, was established in 1998 after I left the Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida where I was a felony prosecutor. I began my prosecutorial career in 1995 directly out of law school. I soon became disillusioned with the activities of government and opened up my own law practice in 1998. In 2001, after a dispute with a partner, I returned to the State Attorney's Office with the knowledge I had learned from defending people. At first it seemed as if I would truly be able to achieve justice in my job and attain some level of peace with what I was doing. Unfortunately, this was not possible. I again left the State Attorney's Office in 2002 and opened up my private legal practice again - this time for good.
We practice criminal law with an emphasis on traffic crimes and serious violent felonies. We represent people accused of all criminal acts including all misdemeanors and felonies. We also represent people involved in catastrophic car accident injury cases.
When I first started practicing law it was at the Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida. At the time I was naive about justice and our legal system. I soon realized that many people accused of crimes had not committed a crime or were being overcharged. It was at this point that I decided to leave the prosecutorial career and seek employment defending people. I did this by opening up my own office where I felt I could best pursue justice for my clients.
As time progressed I came to another disappointing conclusion - automobile insurance companies were ripping-off people. This came to light with a conversation I had with a former client. He had been involved in a car accident and was immediately contacted by his insurance company that wanted to cut him a settlement check for a paltry sum. His insurance company was trying to have him waive their contractual obligations that he had paid policy premiums on for years.
Due to Florida Bar Rules I will not be able to answer this question.
All our consultations are free.
Criminal cases are charged on a flat-fee schedule. This means that after the consultation a single fee amount will be told to the client as the amount of money necessary for me to represent them in their case. Because even the same offense can be committed several ways no set fee schedule is available. The amount is based on offense, complexity, anticipated costs, and anticipated actions by the prosecutor.
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Additional hours upon request.
Criminal law and personal injury litigation put me in the courtroom more than any other legal field. This is why I chose to be a criminal lawyer initially. I wanted to be in the courtroom. Criminal law also deals with Constitutional Rights more than any other field of practice. These rights are based on the principles that keep us free and are powerful defensive weapons for the criminal defense attorney.
Ultimately, it is in the area of criminal law practice that the attorney gets to come in contact to where justice is determined, in the courtroom with juries, judges, and verdicts.
I think it is a benefit for clients to educate themselves in the law, especially when the law is pressing down on them. I try to teach my clients about the law, the mistakes they may have made, how to approach their situation, and how we are going to defend their case. The benefit is twofold; I want them to know the law so that I won't see them again in the same situation and I want them to understand what I am doing for them. All my clients are free to call me with questions at any time before, during, and after the case is closed. I do not advise any client or potential client to ever represent him or herself in a criminal case. The criminal justice system is not for the faint at heart and it is something no one should ever wish to come in contact with. My goal is to extricate my clients from this system and, with any luck, never see them here again.
Anything prepared by my clients I review. I do not advise my clients to ever file any type of document or letter on their own with the court system and I explain to them that the reason they have hired me is so that I will file all the necessary documentation for them.
The main reason that clients should not file any documents with the courts is that most do not know or understand the rules of evidence and what can and cannot be used against them. Most clients see the court system as a paternal system - all they need to do is confess with head hung down in shame and the judge will understand. This is not how the system works. Prosecutors want to put people in jail. A judge cannot stop their prosecution of my clients. Confessing or simply saying the wrong thing may make the prosecutor's job that much easier and we definitely do not want to do that.
I do not "coach" clients. I want my clients speaking from the heart or not at all. I will point out certain things such as word phrases that should be substituted so that the meaning cannot be argued the wrong way and "how" to answer questions but other than that I want my clients to be able to answer questions without hesitation.
Often times this means I advise my clients to remain silent - meaning that they will not testify. Again, this is a situation where clients do not understand the system. Most clients want to talk and explain everything not realizing that it is the prosecutor's job to "explain" everything. It is my job to cast doubt upon the prosecutor's evidence. I cannot secure doubt with a jury when my client seems to be lying or is confessing while on the stand.
I became a prosecutor immediately out of law school. I was hired by the Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida which comprised both Orange and Osceola Counties. While there I was a misdemeanor/traffic prosecutor, a juvenile prosecutor, an appellate attorney, and a felony prosecutor.
Prior to entering law school I was a member of the United States Army Military Intelligence Corps. The years I spent in the military service provided me with my core principles of integrity through honesty and responsibility. I strive to keep those core principles present with me in every case I defend.
I have spent four years as an assistant state attorney, prosecuting the cases I now defend. This gives me firsthand experience with the point of view of a prosecutor in all of my cases. The benefit of this is that I have a better grasp on whether or not the prosecutor has a solid case against my client unlike the attorney that has never been a prosecutor.
Moreover, in the past 15 years I have worked with many very good attorneys that I have the utmost respect for and with these relationships I have learned and continue to learn better ways to defend my clients. The criminal defense bar is a small circle and I have maintained connections to my legal brethren as the years have passed and made new connections. As an attorney, continuous learning is always part of the job.
My strength is that I take my responsibilities seriously. When I represent someone I know it is my responsibility to defend (in criminal cases) my clients to the utmost. I understand that they are depending on me. I also study the law. Knowledge is power. Knowing the law and the rules of court is a distinct advantage and one that should be maintained by every attorney.
As for my style, I rely on the law. Dealing with prosecutors can be a rewarding experience or a complete waste of time. A diligent attorney will utilize the prosecutor for the benefit of his or her client every time. I do this and I also know when to cut-bait and avoid the prosecutor when that person is unreasonable. There are alternatives to dealing with a prosecutor. I know my clients' cases are not wholly dependent on the actions of an unreasonable person. I have the knowledge and experience to utilize the law and the court to my clients favor.
When I am not in my attorney role I try to get outdoors and exercise through running, hiking, swimming, or camping. My favorite outdoor activity is scuba diving. I am a certified scuba instructor, I love to teach others, and I love being underwater - even in the murkiest of places. However, clear blue water with lots of life is preferred.
I do desire to return to the range and engage in competitive shooting. While serving in the military I enjoyed my success at firing at pop-up targets out to a range of 300 yards. I'm not sure how I would do now but I think it would be fun to try although my time now does not allow for much effort in this endeavor.
Indoor activities include playing fchess; however my skills at chess have been far surpassed by subsequent generations. Other activities include family and friends and, business. I maintain my own web presence for my law office. Maintaining that takes a lot of free time. Thank goodness I enjoy it.
* Nolo has confirmed that every member attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with the state agency that licenses lawyers. Any past disbarments and suspensions (with possible exceptions for minor violations or nonpayment of dues, in our discretion) will be indicated accordingly in the badge. Member attorneys are required to notify Nolo immediately if they become the subject of any disciplinary action by any state licensing agency.