Lawyer accused of heroin trafficking still in business

Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 18:33:58-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- A Punta Gorda attorney accused of trafficking heroin continues to practice law, Friday.

Criminal defense attorney Steven Burch bonded out of jail for $50,000, after a grand jury indicted him for possessing and selling heroin and possibly working with some of his clients to do it. Fox 4 went to his office, Friday, to get Burch's side of the story and he was not there.

However, according to the Florida bar, Burch is still in good standing and able to practice law, despite the indictment. "He's entitled to due process, much like a criminal proceeding," said Dustin Butler, attorney at Martin Law Firm. "It would seem likely that (if found guilty) there will be some sort of discipline in the future, whether it's suspension or disbarment."

Rules of professional conduct for the Florida Bar mandate that a lawyer not commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. Even if Burch is acquired, the accusation could impact him negatively. "Clients are going to have this information and make a decision if this is the right attorney for me, obviously peers and judges are going to know this," said Butler.

The Florida bar sent the following statement to Fox 4:

Upon indictment, The Florida Bar opens a file on the lawyer and then we monitor the criminal case.

If convicted, a felony suspension petition will be filed by The Florida Bar with the Florida Supreme Court.