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John Douglas Whitaker

Criminal defense Attorney at Gainesville, FL

5.0   3 reviews
  • Licensed for 24 years
    State FL
    Acquired 2000
    Member in Good Standing No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas

John D. Whitaker is a native of Gainesville and graduated from the University of Florida College of Law in 1999. He is the past president of the local chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the past president of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties. John was first hired by then State Attorney Rod Smith and worked for him as a prosecutor specializing in DUI and traffic enforcement. During his time as a prosecutor, he handled thousands of cases and attended numerous seminars on the inner workings of law enforcement, DUI, investigations and prosecution.

Since moving to private practice, he has handled hundreds of criminal cases, from theft by a juvenile to attempted murder with a firearm. He continues to attend seminars focusing on criminal defense.

John’s experience on both sides of the criminal justice system has enabled him to analyze every case as both an experienced prosecutor and defense attorney. This gives him the advantage of anticipating the prosecution’s strategy and accurately analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of their case.


He has actual trial experience in DUI, possession of cannabis, battery, domestic battery, open container, theft, resisting an officer without violence, sale and possession of controlled substances,  resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, escape, grand theft auto, burglary with battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, armed robbery and attempted murder with firearm.


Avera & Smith
2814 SW 13th Street
Gainesville, FL, 32608

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5.0 / 5.0
  3 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Jerriann | October 19, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
No fear in facing impossible odds.
We just recently finished up our case. There were impossible odds stacked against my husband as he could not recall the incident that occurred. The state attorney wanted to take him through the ringer. We hired John after finding him online and speaking to him. He is very knowledgeable and blunt with how he thinks things could turn. He doesn't beat around the bush. He took us on knowing that our case would be complicated. I would recommend John to everyone. He keeps in touch often and is available for random questions you may have regarding your case by email or phone. He really works hard and goes above and beyond for his clients. My husband still received a sentence but it was a ton better than what the state was originally wanting to bury him with. We (my husband and I) did not want to go to trial, even though John was prepared to, so our goal was to bring the time down to as small as possible and John absolutely succeeded at the task given to him with the case and evidence against my husband. We will be hiring John again when my husband needs to re-determine his probation. If you want an attorney that will strive as hard as he can to get the result you want then John Whitaker is your man.
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Posted by Tom | April 21, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer
After two years of waiting after arrest for the state attorney to bring my charges against me, I entered a PTI agreement for 18 months. 9 months into this agreement, I contacted John and his partner Miles to see if they could convince the prosecutor to terminate my PTI early. They did so the next day. John and Miles were able to get charges that had lasted for two years and 9 months dropped in just one day. I had the pleasure of personally talking to John, who was so kind as to offer me advice even after the case was dropped. Professional and timely, I highly recommend Kinsell and Whitaker.
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Posted by anonymous | July 13, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
RN facing second dui
I first met John Whitaker and Miles Kinsell back in 2013. I was a college student that was two weeks away from graduating nursing school. After telling my professors about my arrest I was told I would be exited from nursing school without graduating. I was distraught. Miles Kinsell worked tirelessly and went above and beyond what was required of him. Miles was able to get my first DUI dropped to a reckless driving despite my BAL being incredibly high, and having crashed my car. Because of his hard work I was able to graduate nursing school, and continue on in my life. I did not realize at the time that I was an alcoholic and needed help. Here we are now in 2016. I was arrested and charged again with DUI. I thought for sure my life was over. I had been given one get out of jail free card. I knew the state would be gunning for me, and they were. I immediately called Miles and John's office. I spoke with Libby and briefly told her what had happened and that I needed to speak to either John or Miles. John called me back immediately. I met with him the same day. I told John that I needed help. John suggested beginning AA, along with a device called a soberlink which is a breathalyzer you carry around with you and blow into every four hours To track your sobriety time. John walked me thru everything I could be facing this time including jail time, license revocation for one year, and the list goes on and on. I told John that I was a single parent with no support and that going to jail or losing my drivers license was not an option. John said he would do everything he could to keep me out of jail and maintain my driving privileges, and he did. First came the hearing with DMV. Attorneys hardly ever win these hearings but due to John's experience he won the DMV hearing. Had John not won the DMV my license would have been suspended for a minimum of 3 months, I would have lost my job, house, car, etc. From there John began negotiations with the state attorney. John was almost able to get the charge dropped again, but because of witnesses was unable. I pled no contest to DUI. My punishment was 50 hours community service, one year probation, fines, and the judge said I had to wear a "TAD" device which is a huge ankle monitor that detects your BAL thru sweat. John immediately filed a motion to have the ankle monitor removed, and petitioned the court for me to be able to continue my sober link. I thought well he's good, but he can't be that good. I was wrong. The judge agreed that I could take the ankle monitor off and go back on soberlink. Now came time to report my conviction to the Board of nursing. John assisted me with writing the letter to the Board and compiling all the paper work to send the board. I know this has been a long review, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to have the best attorney when facing a DUI. A DUI will ruin your life if you do not have good attorneys. John and Miles are the best attorneys in all of Florida when it comes to DUI. They are caring, and go above and beyond what is needed. They made it possible for me to continue to take care of my daughter and work as a registered nurse for the biggest hospital in Gainesville. Without them my life would have been ruined. Do not make the mistake of hiring anyone else. John can take care of everything from the criminal side to the DMV to reporting your conviction to the Florida Board of Nursing. I cannot say in words how amazing both of these attorneys are.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Kinsell, Zadel & Whitaker
  • 2005 - Present
  • Assistant State Attorney
  • State Attorney's Office 8th Judicial Circuit
  • 1999 - 2002


  • University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law
  • Law
  • 1999
  • Ohio University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science Cum Laude
  • 1996


  • Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association
  • Past President
  • 2008 - Present
  • Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Bench/Bar Committee
  • Member
  • 2007 - Present
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Eighth Judicial Circuit chapter)
  • Past President
  • 2006 - Present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2004 - Present
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2004 - Present
  • Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association
  • President
  • 2007 - 2008
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Eighth Judicial Circuit chapter)
  • President
  • 2005 - 2006
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Certificate of Achievement for Zealous Representation of Parents
  • H. Stephen Pennypacker Dependency General Master
  • 2004


  • FORUM8
  • 2008

Speaking Engagements

  • Florida Family Law Class
  • Florida Dependency System
  • 2010
  • Practicing with Profesionalism
  • Getting involved in your local bar association
  • 2007

Attorney endorsements

Received (4)
Given (4)
Endorse John
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 13
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. John Whitaker is a well respected attorney in Gainesville, Florida and the surrounding areas. He's a pleasure to work with and works hard for his clients. I would trust my own family with his legal representation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. John is a honest and hardworking attorney. I have known him for several years. He cares about his clients and about getting them great results. We have worked on cases together and I think he is an excellent member the local bar."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse John. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 09
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense
Criminal defense
Criminal defense

Avvo Contributions

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Gainesville Criminal defense Lawyer John Douglas Whitaker
John Douglas Whitaker
Criminal defense Attorney
Gainesville, FL
Licensed for 24 years
Free Consultation