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Criminal Defense




Given the current era of when the presumption of innocence is somewhat nonexistent due to the enforcement of harsh penalties and restrictions on freedom (examples: violation of probation charge, which are virtually certain to come with no bond, a DUI charge leads to the suspension of driving privileges and the enforcement of excessively high bonds when there is no risk of flight) prior to the adjudication of guilt, you cannot risk hiring the wrong lawyer. I know it can be confusing to decide who is the right lawyer for you because in this crowded world of criminal defense lawyers, it is common for these attorneys to make big, loud promises but then not deliver. I provide my clients with personalized service and effective legal representation which delivers the best possible results.

I will aggressively protect your rights involving any criminal charge, felonies and misdemeanors, in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. I understand the criminal justice system having served more than 8,500 cases, resulting in hundreds of dismissals and NOT GUILTY verdicts. I know what is at risk given the charges you face. My proven defense methods can minimize the impact a criminal charge can have on your life.


My experience and consequent results have separated me from the pack of criminal defense attorneys. I have cultivated a reputation as a true trial lawyer and litigator. I share this distinction with just three to four other area attorneys. Being a true trial lawyer means you are fearless, with regard to going to trial for your clients. This fearlessness is a result of preparation  and positive verdicts. My trial skills and litigation abilities are well known by judges and prosecutors. Therefore, I tend to procure better plea offers for the consideration of my clients. Make no mistake, I am not a “plea and flee” attorney. I am committed to the best legal representation for my clients and I will go all the way for them. When considering a criminal defense attorney, ask them how often they go to trial. Most, if they are truthful, will admit they go to trial a few times a year. Many area attorneys have not gone to trial in years. Usually, I go to trial monthly. Some months, I have multiple trials. Let me be straightforward: You can hire a lawyer who talks about going the distance and getting results, or you can hire the lawyer who gets the best RESULTS.

  • DUI
  • Assaults & Threats
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Charges
  • Drug Court (Diversion Program)
  • DUI Manslaughter
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Juvenile Charges and Crimes
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Petit Theft
  • Pre-Trial Diversion
  • Pre-Trial Intervention
  • Probation Violations
  • Property Crimes
  • Restraining Order Violations
  • Robbery
  • Sentence Modifications
  • Sexual Offenses
  • Theft
  • Traffic Violations
  • Violent Offenses
  • Weapons Crimes
  • White Collar Crimes

  • "James Barnes was straight forward, honest and a personality that stood out. Everyone respected him and said he was a great man and lawyer." - Google

  • "Smart, Professional, Confident and Dedicated: are just a few words that come to mind to describe Mr. Barnes. He is the BEST criminal defense attorney in the area." -

  • "James R. Barnes is a man of the highest integrity, he exceeded all of my personal expectations deeming him a phenomenal attorney at law." - Google

  • "All eyes and ears are focused on Mr. Barnes when he is in the courtroom. He is well spoken and highly skilled." -

Awards & Affiliations
  • 2022 Platinum Client Champion
    Featured on CNN
    Featured on CourtTV
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Florida State Bar Association
    Multi-Million Dollar Advocated Forum
    Top 100 Trial Lawyers
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