Don’t let his sense of humor and self-effacing manner fool you—William J. Sheaffer is a zealous advocate for his clients. As a criminal defense attorney, Sheaffer’s philosophy is that “every person accused deserves the most aggressive, vigorous and thorough defense, regardless of the nature of the accusation.” He staunchly believes that “a defense lawyer’s duty and loyalty is to his client. Period.”
Board certified by both the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Florida Bar as a Criminal Trial Specialist, Sheaffer is recognized for his innovative defense strategies in problematic criminal cases. He has represented a broad spectrum of clients, including political figures and elected officials, law enforcement officers, physicians, business executives, entertainers and other lawyers. His practice ranges from complex white-collar crime cases to first-degree murder, drug trafficking, conspiracy charges and sex offenses.
Sheaffer has a unique perspective on both sides of the aisle. Early in his career, he served as a felony prosecutor for the Orange/Osceola State Attorney’s Office. He’s been in private practice specializing in criminal defense in both federal and state courts for the past 25 years.
Today, he limits his practice to select clientele, maintaining no more than 10 to 12 cases at any one time. However, he has often taken cases that other lawyers would not, either because they were unpopular cases in the media or because they were too difficult to win. The son of a long-distance truck driver and a University of Central Florida graduate, Sheaffer remains dedicated to the local community and his Central Florida roots.
Sheaffer offers his clients individualized representation as well as a zealous defense. “My clients expect and pay for my accessibility. When they call with a concern, they want to speak to me, not an associate or an assistant.”
Sheaffer is admitted to practice in the U.S. Federal District Courts, Middle, Northern and Southern District of Florida; the U.S. Courts of Appeal, 5th and 11th Circuits; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Sheaffer has been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America publication for the last five years in both criminal trial law and white collar crime specialties. His recognitions further include Martindale-Hubbell’s Register of Preeminent Lawyers with an AV rating, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America, and the Florida edition of Guide to Leading American Attorneys. Sheaffer is the legal analyst for Eye Witness News on ABC Central Florida affiliate Channel 9 WFTV. He’s been honored by the Florida Supreme Court and the Orange County Bar Association for his pro bono work on behalf of children.