Criminal Justice Lawyers in Florida
The six attorneys at Sammis Law Firm focus on criminal defense. We represent clients throughout the following areas in the greater Tampa Bay area including:
- Hillsborough County – Tampa and Plant City
- Hernando County – Brooksville
- Pasco County – New Port Richey and Dade City
- Pinellas County – Clearwater and St. Petersburg
- Polk County – Bartow and Lakeland
- Manatee County – Bradenton
- Sarasota County – Sarasota
The attorneys are members of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), the largest and most respected legal organization for criminal defense attorneys in Florida. The attorneys also belong to various legal organizations focused on criminal justice, including the criminal law section of the Florida Bar and the Hillsborough County Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (HCACLD).
What do criminal defense attorneys do?
A criminal defense attorney should zealously represent their client at every stage of the case, from the initial investigation through the final resolution. Some criminal defense attorneys are employed by the state or federal government to represent people who cannot afford to retain an attorney (often called a “public defender”).
Criminal defense attorneys also practice in the private sector, representing clients who pay money to retain them for their services. Most attorneys in the private sector also devote a portion of their practice to taking pro bono cases.
The job description of a criminal defense attorney includes filing and litigating any viable motions including the following:
- motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained;
- motions to exclude evidence that is unduly prejudicial; or
- motions to dismiss charges not supported by sufficient evidence.
Attorneys also prepare the case for a bench trial in front of the judge or a jury trial.
Before the trial, the prosecutor and defense attorney will discuss a possible plea bargain. The more prepared the defense attorney is for trial, the more willing the prosecutor might be to make a better plea bargain offer to resolve the case short of trial.
Ultimately, the client will decide between accepting the best possible plea bargain agreement that can be negotiated or going to trial. If the client is found guilty at trial, a criminal defense attorney might be hired or appointed to file a direct appeal or post-conviction motion.
The term criminal justice attorney applies more broadly to all types of attorneys working within the criminal justice system, including judges, prosecutors, and attorneys for law enforcement agencies. Others working in the criminal justice system might include investigators and mitigation specialists.
Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (HCACLD) – Find information on HACDL, an organization that supports the criminal defense bar in Hillsborough County in both state and federal court.
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Founded as a non-profit association in 1988, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc., (FACDL) supports and educates criminal defense attorneys throughout the state through networking opportunities, quality continuing legal education seminars, and its publication “Florida Defender.” Since its creation, FACDL has continued to promote excellence in the practice of criminal law and protect the rights of the accused. Leslie Sammis and Jason Sammis are both Life Members of this organization.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 16, 2023.