Criminal Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL
COVID-19 Update: Our office remains open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. We are still appearing in court for essential and mission critical hearings (including all bond motions and injunction hearings). The courts are scheduling most other matters for remote video conferences at least until after July 17, 2020.
The attorneys and staff are working from home when possible, but we are still available by phone, for remote video conferences, or for confidential in-person meetings at the office when needed.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm are focused exclusively on criminal defense in the greater Tampa Bay area. For the past ten years, our main office has been located in downtown Tampa, FL, just a few blocks from the courthouse. Our second office is located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
During the consultation, you can discuss the facts of the case, the best defenses, and how to protect your rights at each stage of the case. We can be reached Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you need help on the weekend or after business hours, leave a message with our answering service. One of our attorneys is on call. If you leave a message, the on-call attorney will get back with you immediately.
We welcome your calls. You can reach us by calling 813-250-0500.
Innovative Defenses Win Cases
Extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts at each stage of the case. We work with seasoned private investigators and the top experts while still maintaining affordable fees and costs.
We can help you decide on the best way to resolve your case. If you were falsely accused, the best result is getting the charges dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the trial court.
Depending on how the case resolves, you might be eligible to quickly seal or expunge the criminal record history and mug shot so that it disappears from the public view.
Our attorneys take a scholarly approach to litigating pre-trial motions. When it comes to a motion hearing or trial, we come prepared.
We know that good things happen when criminal defense attorneys file pre-file motions including:
- motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained;
- motions to exclude irrelevant or prejudicial evidence; or
- motions to dismiss because of insufficient evidence.
Even if the court doesn’t grant the pre-trial motion, the defense attorney gains valuable information about the prosecutor’s case during the hearing. Information from the motion hearing can be used to win the case at trial or negotiate a better pre-trial settlement.
Representing Professionals Accused of a Crime
Many of our clients have no prior criminal record and never imagined being on the wrong side of the law. The stakes are even higher for certain types of professionals, including:
- health-care professionals;
- teachers and certified educators;
- attorneys and students in law school;
- members of the military; and
- law enforcement officers.
When the stakes are high, find an experienced criminal justice attorney at Sammis Law Firm to help you fight the charges.
We take a full-service approach to criminal defense while addressing the collateral consequences that might occur because of the accusation.
Keep in mind that during a declared “state of emergency” for the COVID-19 crisis, some criminal charges are more serious because they come with a higher bond amount and potential penalties.
Don’t Speak – You Have the Right to Remain Silent
If you decide to speak to law enforcement about the facts of your case without an attorney being present, then you are waiving your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and your Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Don’t waive important constitutional rights until AFTER you have spoken to an attorney. Your attorney is often in the best position to explain your side of the story to the law enforcement officer.
You can invoke your rights by saying: “I’m taking the 5th and 6th amendment.” Then remain silent. If you are lawfully detained, you can tell the officer your name, address, and date of birth without waiving your rights.
At trial, the jury is not told that you invoked your right to remain silent or your right to counsel. In other words, the fact that you remained silent cannot be used against you.
If you hire a criminal defense attorney, the attorney can send a notice to the investigating officer that you are invoking your rights under the 5th and 6th amendments. This notice prevents the officers from asking you any questions about the accusations or coming to your home to interrogate you.
In the event the officer does intend to make an arrest, your attorney can help you surrender under terms that may speed up your release, keep you safe, and save you money. We can contact the prosecutor to discuss lowering the bond amount.
At Sammis Law Firm, our criminal justice attorneys also handle other critical details that might minimize the embarrassment, stress, and expense that might otherwise accompany the arrest.
Effective Pre-File Negotiations in the Tampa Bay Area
The prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit have discretion when deciding whether to prosecute felony charges after an arrest by the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, or other local law enforcement agencies in Tampa Bay.
In felony cases, the prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Offices make a filing decision within 21 (twenty-one) days after the arrest, so you must act quickly to preserve all avenues of attack. If you are not formally charged within 21 days, then you are entitled to an adversary preliminary hearing if the proper motion is filed.
An attorney can act quickly to present favorable evidence to the prosecutor on your behalf. During the pre-file stages of the case, your attorney will often talk with the prosecutor about reasons not to file any formal charges or only file reduced charges.
Why are charges dropped? The prosecutor might decide to drop the charges (“nolle prosse”) for a variety of reasons including:
- a pending motion to suppress or motion to dismiss;
- insufficient evidence;
- the witness is unavailable;
- witness waivers; or
- the witness files a request not to prosecute.
Hiring a criminal justice lawyer quickly after an accusation or arrest remains one of the most effective ways to defend yourself against an unfair prosecution.
Out of State Clients Charged with a Crime
After an arrest for misdemeanor charges such as driving under the influence (DUI), possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic battery, petit theft or shoplifting after visiting the Tampa Bay area, then call us to discuss the best legal defenses that might apply to your case.
Your attorney may be able to resolve your case without the need for you to return to Florida. The court may allow you to waive your appearance at many, if not all, of your pre-trial court dates.
For clients who live out of state, it is important to avoid costly and unnecessary trips to court while aggressively fighting the charges.
Many people call us after finding out about a Florida arrest warrant for failure to appear, direct file information, or an ongoing criminal investigation. We also represent clients facing extradition on a fugitive warrant to or from the State of Florida.
DUI Defense Attorneys for Hillsborough County, FL
At Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys are focused on DUI defense throughout Tampa, FL, and the surrounding areas in and around Hillsborough County. We also fight DUI cases in New Port Richey, and the surrounding areas of Pasco County, FL. We represent clients charged with DUI after a breath test, blood test, urine test, or a refusal to submit to testing.
Many of these drunk driving cases have the potential for enhanced penalties because of property damage, having a BAC over .15, driving with a child passenger, or having a prior DUI conviction.
For a first DUI without any aggravating factors, you might be eligible for Hillsborough County’s DUI Diversion program, called Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism or RIDR for short. Only about 20% of DUI cases are eligible for RIDR.
With the first ten (10) days of the arrest, we always recommend demanding a formal review hearing to contest the “on the spot” administrative suspension of your driver’s license. The best way to fight the DUI case is to obtain a 42-day permit so that you can keep driving while we contest the administrative suspension.
We can use the information gained during the formal review hearing to aggressively fight your criminal charges in the courtroom.
The Tampa DUI Attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you understand your rights, protect your freedom, and find the best way to aggressively defend you against the criminal charge for drunk or impaired driving.
Finding a Criminal Justice Lawyer in Tampa
We understand that your livelihood, liberty, and good name are on the line after an accusation of criminal wrongdoing. Contact Sammis Law Firm, P.A., for a free immediate consultation over the phone or in the office. Our main office is located in downtown Tampa and in New Port Richey, FL.
Our attorneys are members of the organizations that serve the top criminal defense lawyers across the country by providing training, contacts, networking opportunities and other resources including:
- the National Organization for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL);
- the Florida Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL);
- the NORML National Legal Committee (NLC); and
- the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).
By focusing exclusively on criminal justice in the Tampa Bay area, we represent clients charged with both felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses in state court. We provide affordable legal fees for a wide range of criminal and DUI charges.
Our attorneys are also experienced in handling criminal appeals and post-conviction motions. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Call (813) 250-0500.
This article was last updated on Monday, June 8, 2020.