Filed under the “any publicity is good publicity” school of thought, a Florida lawyer’s marketing plan backfires when his mug shot is featured next to his legal ad.
According to a blurb in the aba (American Bar Association) journal, Florida DUI Lawyer Thomas L. Edwards was arrested on multiple charges including Driving Under the Influence, Reckless Driving, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage among others.
In an ironic marketing twist, the lawyer’s mugshot ended up next to his Gainesville law firm ad where he is seen smiling (though in a nice suit instead of jail garb). Making matters worse, this same attorney was interviewed by The Gainesville Sun back in 2007 when the subject of bad-looking mug shots came up.
Mr. Edwards was quoted as saying:
“Mug shots, unfortunately, are never good pictures. They’ve usually got people who are in compromised positions,” said Gainesville defense attorney Thomas Edwards.
“They arrest you and you’re not looking so good. They’re not going to give you a plastic comb. They are not going to concern themselves if you look like crap.”
Short of someone turning themselves in at the jail, most people can’t prepare for getting their mug shot taken, Edwards said.
Legally, he added, there’s nothing a defense lawyer can do about a bad mug shot except make sure it doesn’t prejudice a jury that will hear the case.
Based on his calm, smiling mugshot, this DUI attorney might have practiced looking good for the camera.
LEGAL ANALYSISWhile it is common to read articles about celebrities and politicians getting special treatment when breaking the law, the reality for lawyers, doctors or other professionals is often different. While most people assume that the “good old boys” club protects its own, that is usually not the case.
Here in Pinellas County, if an assistant state attorney or public defender gets arrested, many times the case will be transferred nearby (such as Hillsborough) to avoid the appearance of impropriety. These same lawyers, rather then getting kid glove treatment are often judged harsher then others would be. This is because the media is sure to report on these arrests and the aftermath.
In this case, it is too early to guess what may happen. Mr. Edwards was asked to comment and through his assistant gave the following statement: “Under the American criminal justice system all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
Have you or a loved one been arrested for a DUI or a traffic offense? Then call the Pinellas DUI defense lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys who handle all criminal and auto accident cases throughout the Gulf coast of Florida including Pinellas county, Hillsborough, Pasco, Sarasota, Manatee, Citrus and Polk.