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Derek Byrd

Criminal defense Attorney at Sarasota, FL

5.0   7 reviews

also known as L. Derek Byrd

Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State FL
    Acquired 1996
    Member in Good Standing No misconduct found

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

About Derek

Learn Derek’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    Being accused by the government of a crime is intimidating, humiliating, and nerve-racking. You need an experienced, zealous, and aggressive advocate by your side. You need someone who is recognized as an expert in Sarasota Criminal Trial Law.

    27 years

  2. DUI and DWI
    A major portion of The Byrd Law Firm’s criminal law practice is devoted to DUI defense. DUIs are one of the more prevalent criminal charges in the State of Florida as well as one of the most complex and specialized areas of criminal law.

    27 years


Derek Byrd is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar.  Less than 2% of attorneys in Florida are Board Certified.  Derek Byrd was born and raised in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. He grew up watching his father defend high profile criminal cases in the old Sarasota County Courthouse. Derek’s father’s legal skills and the excitement surrounding the legal system inspired Derek to become a criminal defense attorney. He graduated from Florida State University in 1990 with a B. A. in Criminology and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1995 from Quinnipiac College of Law in Hamden, Connecticut graduating cum laude (top 5% of his class). While in law school, Derek concentrated his studies on criminal and trial law and he served as Notes and Comments Editor for the Law Review Journal.


After being admitted to the Florida Bar in early 1996, Derek went to work for the Public Defender’s Office in Sarasota, where he gained extensive and valuable trial experience. He opened The Byrd Law Firm in 1998. Derek is Board Certified in Criminal Defense and has been since 2004. He is a Past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Statewide Chapter which has close to 2,000 members. Derek also served as the President of the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 1999 – 2001. Additionally, he is a Past President of the Sarasota County Bar. Derek also served as Chairperson of the local Florida Bar Grievance Committee. In 2019, he was awarded the Jim Slater Professionalism Award for outstanding professionalism in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Notably, Derek is also on the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project of Florida, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping innocent prisoners in Florida gain their freedom and rebuild their lives. Additionally, he is the President-Elect of the Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court. He is licensed in all State Courts and the Federal Court, Middle District of Florida. Derek has written articles for the Defender magazine and spoken at FACDL seminars. He is a Life Member of FACDL, a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the American Bar Association, the Florida Bar-Criminal Law section, and the Sarasota County Bar Association. Derek’s wife, Heather, has not only been his partner in life for over 20 years, she is also his Partner at The Byrd Law Firm, and her practice is concentrated solely on family law. They have raised two wonderful young men together.

Photos and videos

The Byrd Law firm is located in Sarasota, Florida and has been providing legal services to residents of Sarasota, Bradenton & Venice for the past 16 years. Criminal Law & DUI attorneys, Family Law
Derek Byrd discusses Downward Departure
Derek Byrd, of The Byrd Law Firm located in Sarasota, FL, discusses Sentencing Guidelines.
Your Right Not To Be Searched - Derek Byrd Byrd Law Firm Sarasota Florida
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Contact Derek

The Byrd Law Firm


5.0 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Sierra | September 22, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Epic Lawyer
Derek goes above and beyond! He's fast and aggressive to get the best possible outcome! If you're in trouble, the person you want is Derek Byrd!
Posted by anonymous | March 4, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional, with personal touch; strong action
Derek Byrd listened to my circumstances, explained the legal situation, and took care of the situation through strong action from thereon. Throughout the process Mr. Byrd and his associates kept me appraised of the situaion, ultimately resolving the issue to my satisfaction.
Posted by anonymous | February 23, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Attorney in Sarasota
Derek Byrd is the best criminal defense lawyer you will find in Sarasota. He welcomed me as a client and represented me better than I could have imagined. Additionally, The Byrd Law Firm was as professional as could be throughout the entire process. I could not be more grateful for everything Derek Byrd has done for me. If you ever run into trouble, I highly, highly recommend Mr. Byrd.
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Posted by anonymous | February 23, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Extremely helpful, easy to get a hold of, and best connections in the Sarasota area
I hired Derek to represent me in a misdemeanor case last year. He was extremely helpful and was 100% real with me throughout the entire process. At our first meeting, he laid out exactly what the best case scenario would be but also informed me what the more likely scenario would be based on his experience in similar cases. With the help of his many connections and unfaltering work ethic, my charges were reduced. It is worth mentioning that Derek is very easy to get a hold of and willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have throughout the entire process. I would definitely recommend Derek to anyone looking for a reliable attorney.
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Posted by Ali | April 24, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Famed Attorney with the reputation as The Best in Sarasota- 100% true
I had heard about only one attorney in Sarasota and that was Derek Byrd. I heard from many different sources that he was the best, very well-respected, a former prosecutor friend of mine said he was reputed to be an excellent negotiator. I had seen how incredible he had been in getting a friend's brother-in-law the very best conditions instead of jail time for a DUI. He's talked about as if he's a local legend, because he is. He can do the impossible and make you're nightmare go away. He doesn't scare you by focusing on the very worst possible outcome to scare you into hiring him. When I got arrested, I was in shock. I called one of my best friends and told her I was in Manatee County Jail and needed to be released ASAP. Her ex-husband also a great friend, posted my bail /bond. Once I was out, I was told to call Mr Derek Byrd in the morning my friend had already called Mr Byrd and asked him for a favor to represent me. I called and met with Mr Byrd at his office that day. He was very straight forward. I had 5 charges against me with the worst being felony criminal mischief over $1,000. Derek made me see and feel so much better at our very first meeting (and every subsequent one as well). Having now met Derek Byrd, I was so impressed and confident in his skills that I immediately read the contract to hire him, completed it, signed it and paid his secretary. He didn't disappoint at all! Derek was able to get ALL my charges dropped and including the felony charge which would have ruined by life and career (I'm a doctor and my license to practice medicine in FL, my ability to work and do what I love would be instantly revoked with any felony conviction). I was thrilled that in 2- 3 weeks he made my nightmare come to an end. Subsequently, I hired Derek to be my legal representative once again on a different matter.. He continues to receive my highest accolades.
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Posted by anonymous | August 28, 2012
I would describe my experience with Derek Byrd's office as first class! The staff was professional, office was beautiful, and I received excellent representation. My calls were always returned promptly, my questions always answered, and my desired outcome was achieved. If you have been arrested, I highly recommend you hire Derek Byrd. His representation is well deserved!
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Posted by anonymous | August 23, 2012
You get what you pay for!
I was told that Derek Byrd was the best criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota. They were right! I had a serious drug charge and was facing prison. Everyone, including several other lawyers I spoke with, told me I was going to jail. Derek fought for me and, as a result, all charges were dismissed. I owe that guy my life!
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Lead Trial Attorney
  • Byrd Law Firm
  • 1998 - Present
  • Felony Trial Attorney
  • Public Defender's Office
  • 1996 - 1998


  • Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Juris Doctorate
  • 1995
  • Florida State University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1990
  • No Law School provided
  • law
  • N/A


  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (State wide Chapter)
  • President
  • 2012 - Present
  • Sarasota County Bar Association
  • Past President
  • 2012 - Present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Member
  • 1997 - Present
  • Inn Of Court, Sarasota County
  • Master
  • 1997 - Present
  • Florida Bar
  • Member
  • 1996 - Present
  • Florida association of criminal defense attorneys (sarasota chapter)
  • Past President
  • 1997 - 2008
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2013
  • AV Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2013
  • Best Lawyer, Criminal Defense
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2013


  • Florida Defender (FACDL)
  • President's Column
  • 2012

Speaking Engagements

  • FACDL Annual Meeting
  • Criminal law
  • 2012

Attorney endorsements

Received (8)
Given (3)
Endorse Derek
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Derek Byrd is one of the best criminal defense lawyers Sarasota as ever known. He is well respected by all. His knowledge of the law allows him to provide excellent representation to his clients. I highly endorse Derek Byrd."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 18
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse, without reservation, Derek Byrd. I have personally worked with Derek on numerous criminal cases and confirm he is a competent and dedicated advocate for his clients."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Nov 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I'm a criminal defense attorney, but if I or a family member ever got a DUI, I would hire Derek."
Litigation Attorney | Nov 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Derek Byrd. Derek is a very hard working and dedicated attorney. He has a great deal of knowledge in both substantive and procedural law and is an excellent litigator."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 24
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Derek is a true professional, and a true believer. He is committed to making sure each client gets the best possible defense, and that the State plays by all the rules. Each time I have sent Derek a client, that client came back to say "thank you" to me for the referral. That says a lot about how well they were treated by Derek and his staff. I would never hesitate to refer Derek another case."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 30
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have known Derek for many years. We have tried two first degree murder cases together. In one of those, the Client was acquitted of all homicide charges. Derek is well-prepared and persuasive."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Mr. Byrd. He is a highly skilled trial lawyer that aggressively fights for the rights of his clients."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I recently had the opportunity to refer a case to Derek's firm. The Client was facing serious criminal charges and in desperate need of expert legal help. I am happy to write that the Byrd law firm managed to get the charges dropped, and won the case. I wholeheartedly endorse this firm. If you are in need of an excellent criminal defense attorney, do not hesitate to call the Byrd Law Firm."
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Criminal defense
Criminal defense
Criminal defense

Avvo Contributions

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Sarasota Criminal defense Lawyer Derek Byrd
Derek Byrd
Criminal defense Attorney
Sarasota, FL
Licensed for 27 years
Virtual consultation available