Criminal Defense

Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorneys

How an Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

State and federal criminal matters are complex. They require a sound understanding of the law and court rules and procedures. A Birmingham defense attorney can provide legal assistance at all stages of your case.

Examples of the tasks they will take care of for you include:

  • Investigating the case: They will speak with witnesses and experts, review photos and videos, and examine documents and other pieces of evidence. They will also review the prosecutor's case to identify weaknesses in proof and determine how to counter their arguments.
  • Develop your defense: Challenging criminal accusations requires building a compelling legal strategy. Your criminal attorney will know how to apply the law to your case and point out holes in the opposition's arguments. They will also listen to your side of the story and ensure that your voice is heard.
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor: Most criminal matters in Alabama are resolved out of court through a plea agreement with the prosecutor. A defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and seek a favorable outcome without going to trial. They can also advise you of the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal.
  • Present your case in court: If your case is not settled out of court, it will be taken to trial. Here, your criminal defense attorney in Birmingham will work to cast doubt on the prosecutor's arguments.

Because so much is involved in a criminal matter, getting started on your case right away is crucial. At Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight, P.C., our Birmingham defense lawyers are ready to jump into action and begin defending you.

  • Potential Reckless Murder
  • Death Penalty

    Notice of Order- 01-CC-1983-003916.00

  • Murder

    State v. F.P.

  • White-Collar Crime & Elder Financial Abuse

    State v. L.A.

  • Distribution of a Controlled Substance

    State v. R.G.

Clients Share Their Experiences

Read How We Have Helped Others
  • Mr. Brown made me feel relaxed and calm.

    “Mr. Brown is an amazing lawyer, I was in an unfortunate situation and he made me feel relaxed and calm. He was quick to work and always updated me as he would receive the information. Thank you so much!”

  • I want to thank Mr. Jaffe and Mr. Whisonant for saving my life, for giving me another chance.

    “My name is Fredrick Spencer, AKA Fred P. I want to thank Mr. Jaffe and Mr. Whisonant for saving my life, for giving me another chance. I was arrested and charged with murder on October 29, 2010. Mr. Jaffe and Mr. Whisonant took it all the way to trial and beat it. I was acquitted on January 26, 2012. My whole music career was on the line. I went through so much in this case. Mr. Jaffe and Mr. Whisonant helped me mentally and prepared me for everything that I was facing. I just want to thank God and everybody at Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight, P.C. I have the best lawyers in the world. The Best.”

  • So professional!

    “Mr. Michael Hanle was such a good attorney, so professional, and truly grateful for his job which helped my case a lot.”

Alabama Criminal Law Firm

What is a Defense ATtorney?

A criminal defense attorney is a lawyer specializing in the defense of individuals and entities charged with criminal conduct. The role of a criminal defense attorney is to represent their client in court, advise them on legal matters and strategize defenses against charges brought forth by the prosecution. They also provide advice on plea bargains, sentence reductions, and other relevant legal proceedings. In addition to defending their clients in court, they may also represent them during pre-trial negotiations or help them appeal an unfavorable ruling. 

A criminal defense attorney should review all aspects of the case in order to determine the best legal options for the client. It’s important to remember that each case is unique and there may be a variety of options available. 

The first step in this process is gathering information about you, the charges against you, and any evidence related to your case. Your attorney will ask questions about what happened and try to learn as much as they can from you. They will also review police reports, witness statements, physical or electronic evidence, or photographs connected with your arrest. 

Next, the attorney will evaluate possible strategies based on an examination of all relevant facts in the case. This might involve challenging witnesses' credibility or questioning law enforcement procedures. Your attorney might also explore plea bargaining options, and could even argue for a lesser charge or reduced sentence.

Finally, once your attorney has gathered all the evidence and reviewed their legal options, they may suggest one or more possible strategies to you. It's important to understand that no two cases are alike and every criminal defense lawyer approaches each case differently. As such, it’s essential to trust your criminal defense attorney with making the best decision for your legal situation. 

What is the Alabama Criminal Process?

If you have been accused of a crime in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, you may be feeling overwhelmed as you walk into this unknown and unfamiliar realm.

To help you understand the criminal process and relieve some of your stress, our criminal attorneys in Birmingham have provided the below overview of the justice system:

  • Arrest: Your criminal case begins with your arrest. Generally, for police to arrest you, they need probable cause or a warrant. Note that during the investigation, arrest, and interrogation processes, you do not have to provide any information to law enforcement officials. You can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and politely refuse to answer any questions. It is also a good idea to exercise your right to an attorney. They can deliver the counsel you need at the early stages of your case to prevent you from saying anything that can be used against you.


  • Booking: After you have been taken into custody, you will be booked. This process involves a law enforcement officer getting your personal information and taking your photograph and fingerprints. These details are logged into the agency's system.
  • Initial appearance: This is your first court proceeding. During it, the judge will inform you of the charges against you. They will also determine whether you are eligible for bail and, if so, what amount it should be set at and what conditions should be placed on you.
  • Trial: During the trial, the prosecutor will present evidence to attempt to convince a judge or jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, your Birmingham criminal defense attorney will present their own evidence to refute the opposition's arguments.
  • Sentencing: If you are found guilty by a judge or jury, you will be sentenced. The term of imprisonment and the amount of fine that can be imposed upon you depends on the level of charge and severity of the offense.

In Alabama, crimes can be penalized as follows:

  • Class C misdemeanor
    • Up to 3 months in jail and/or
    • Up to $500 in fines
    • Class B misdemeanor
      • Up to 6 months in jail and/or
      • Up to $3,000 in fines
    • Class A misdemeanor
      • Up to 1 year in jail and/or
      • Up to $6,000 in fines
    • Class D felony
      • 1 to 5 years in prison and/or
      • Up to $7,500 in fines
    • Class C felony
      • 1 to 10 years in prison and/or
      • Up to $15,000 in fines
    • Class B felony
      • 2 to 20 years in prison and/or
      • Up to $30,000 in fines
    • Class A felony
      • 10 to 99 years or life in prison and/or
      • Up to $60,000 in fines

Note that other sanctions may be applied depending on the offense. For instance, in a DUI matter, you may also be subject to a driver's license revocation. Or, in a sex crimes case, you may be required to register as a sex offender.

Alabama Federal Criminal Attorney

A criminal matter falls under federal jurisdiction when it is committed on federal property, crosses state lines or country borders, or involves a federal employee or agent. Our federal criminal defense lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama, represent clients facing a range of federal charges, including, but not limited to, tax fraud, child pornography, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, immigration fraud, and drug trafficking.

Alabama Drug Crime Lawyer

Drug crimes include possession, possession with intent to distribute, trafficking, and manufacturing and cultivation. Whether charged at the state or federal level, the penalties are severe, and a conviction can have long-lasting consequences. Turn to our drug crime attorneys in Alabama for help fighting your charge.

Alabama Expungement Attorneys

If you have been charged with a crime, the arrest information remains on your record. Having a criminal history can negatively impact your life, as your record is publicly accessible. Fortunately, Alabama allows those charged with non-violent crimes to have their records sealed, provided that they were not convicted. Our expungement lawyers in Birmingham, AL, can guide you through the process of petitioning to remove your arrest information.

Alabama Cyber Crime Lawyers

The term cyber crime refers to several offenses, including, but not limited to, identity theft, sex crimes, hacking, child pornography, and piracy. These can be complicated matters because, in many cases, the law has not caught up with today's technology, and existing statutes are applied to conduct that did not exist when they were established. Because of this, if you have been accused, you need our Birmingham, Alabama, cyber crimes attorneys on your side. We can use our insight, experience, and skill to fight for you.

Please contact Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight, P.C. at (205) 900-7714 for the legal representation you need.

Why Hire Our Firm?

  • Our attorneys have 100+ years of experience collectively.

  • The only firm in the country to free 3 men from death row through new trials.
  • Both senior partners are Past Presidents of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

  • Our lawyers will give you the attention you deserve.

  • Super Lawyers has recognized our founding partner as one of the top lawyers in the State.

  • All four of the firm's Partners are recognized by Super Lawyers.

  • Highly experienced and knowledgeable in federal courts.

  • We’ve handled thousands of cases for clients throughout Alabama and have developed many successful resolutions.

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We Treat Every Case with the Full Attention & Concern It Deserves
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