Whitney was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Upon graduating in 2010 Whitney began to pursue her law degree at Florida Coastal School Of Law in Jacksonville. She graduated in 2013 with Pro Bono honors for her outstanding dedication to the community. Prior to joining the Meltzer & Bell, P.A. family, Whitney worked as an Assistant Public Defender in the 19th Judicial Circuit (St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee, and Indian River counties) for 7 years. During her time at the Public Defender’s office, Whitney provided legal representation to those charged with misdemeanors and felonies.

While in law school Whitney took a trial advocacy class and earned one of the coveted “best trial team” awards. She also became a domestic violence victim advocate and helped countless women at the local domestic violence shelter. In addition to her work at the domestic violence shelter, Whitney also interned at the Newman Law Firm where she assisted in the preparation of cases for trial including preparing depositions, speaking with witnesses, assisting in developing trial strategy, and review of all evidence.

Whitney began her career with the Public Defender’s office in the County Court division handling a wide range of misdemeanor crimes including DUI, assault, battery, theft, driving while license suspended, possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. In 2014, she was promoted to the felony division where she handled felonies of all levels including sex-related offenses, aggravated batteries, drug-related crimes, and homicides. She remained in this role until 2018 when she became the division head of the County Court Division. Whitney handled thousands of cases during her career and has taken many of those cases to trial. She has also overseen dozens of trials during her time as a county court supervisor. In 2018 she was awarded the Advocate of the Year award for her outstanding work ethic and dedication to the practice of criminal defense.

Whitney has been actively involved in the legal community as the past President of Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inns of Court, St. Lucie County Bar Association, Martin County Bar Association, and on the board of the St. Lucie County Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Whitney Duteau Takes on Numerous High-Profile Cases at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Since joining Meltzer & Bell, P.A., in 2021, Whitney has handled hundreds of cases all over the state of Florida.

Significant Trial Victories and Life-Changing Verdicts

Of those hundreds of cases, she has taken many to trial with outstanding results. In one instance, her client was facing a mandatory life sentence based on the client’s prior record. Whitney was not the first attorney on this case, but she jumped in and got up to speed as quickly as she could and got the case ready for trial. She ultimately prevailed at trial and the client was saved from a mandatory life sentence.

Achieving Unlikely Acquittals Against Heavy Odds

Whitney has also been successful in obtaining a not guilty verdict for a client facing multiple life sentences for burglary, false imprisonment, and firearms charges. The state had a co-defendant testifying and her client’s DNA at the scene. However, she was still able to convince the jury and walked out of the courtroom with her client.

Negotiating Favorable Sentences in Serious Cases

In addition to the many successful trials, Whitney has been able to achieve favorable sentences in very serious cases, including convincing a judge that a 5 year prison sentence was appropriate for a client who scored over 100 years for charges of Child Pornography.

Skillful Legal Advocacy Prevents Incarceration

In another case, Whitney was able to prevent her client from any form of incarceration by making the case to the judge that the client was entitled to a departure. This client had no criminal history and was facing a minimum of 3 years in prison based on his current criminal charge. He walked out of the courtroom with a sentence of house arrest.

Media Representation and Advocacy

Whitney has also been quoted by the TCPalm on behalf of her clients in several cases which garnered local media attention. In doing so, Whitney has ensured that the facts of her clients’ cases are presented in a fair and accurate way while also protecting her clients’ guaranteed right under the law.

Ongoing Commitment to Client Defense

She continues to work diligently to achieve favorable outcomes for her clients and will continue to fight tirelessly to protect the rights of those charged with any criminal offense.

Whitney Duteau FACDL