1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
Sammis Law Firm

Criminal Defense in Pinellas County 

Each year, prosecutors with the Office of the State Attorney in Pinellas County, FL, handle more than 130,000 criminal prosecution referrals in misdemeanor cases, felony cases, and juvenile delinquency cases.

Both felony and misdemeanor criminal cases are prosecuted at the Pinellas County Justice Center on 49th Street in Clearwater. Some criminal misdemeanor traffic cases are prosecuted at the North County Traffic Court located at 29582 U.S. Hwy 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33761.

If you are facing criminal charges in Pinellas County, then you need an experienced criminal defense attorney at every stage of the case.

Attorneys for Criminal Defense in Pinellas County, FL

If you are being prosecuted for a crime in Pinellas County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm, P.A.

Our criminal justice attorneys represent clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses during each stage of their criminal case, including:

  • first appearance court within 24 hours of their arrest;
  • emergency bond hearings;
  • pre-file investigations;
  • arraignment;
  • pre-trial conferences;
  • motion hearings; and
  • bench or jury trials.

We can help you decide the best way to fight an accusation. We represent clients in the courtrooms throughout Clearwater, Florida.

Contact us for an initial consultation to discuss the criminal charges pending against you, the typical penalties imposed, and the best way to aggressively fight the criminal charges.

Call (813) 250-0500.

Types of Criminal Justice Cases in Pinellas County

We created our website to provide general information about very specific criminal charges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County. At Sammis Law Firm, we represent men and women charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses including:

Cases are handled differently at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, particularly for pre-file felony investigations, violation of probation cases, and emergency bond hearings.

Contact us to discuss what you might need to do right now to protect your rights and increase your chances of finding the best resolution to your case.

Judicial Assignments in Pinellas County’s Criminal Courts

According to Administrative Order 2021-048 PI-CTY, beginning on January 3, 2022, the following judicial assignments for the criminal court sections in the Circuit Courts in Pinellas County take effect:

  • Section A – Judge Nancy Moate Ley
  • Section B  – Judge Michael F. Andrews
  • Section C  – Judge William H. Burgess
  • Section D  – Judge Joseph A. Bulone
  • Section I  – Judge Chris Helinger
  • Section J  – Judge Anthony Rondolino
  • Section K  – Judge Susan St. John
  • Section M – Judge Philip J. Federico
  • Section N – Judge Kimberly Todd
  • Section T – Judge Pat Siracusa
  • Section Z – Judge Kimberly Todd
  • Injunctions –
    • Judge Doneene D. Loar
  • Community Violence: Dating, Domestic, Repeat, and Sexual Violence injunction hearings
    •  Judge Brian Gnage

Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2021-048 PI-CTY, the following judicial assignments take effect on January 3, 2022, for county court misdemeanor cases:

  • Section E – Judge Dorothy Vaccaro
  • Section F – Judge Brett Szematowicz
  • Section G – Judge Kathleen T. Hessinger
  • Section H – Judge Cathy McKyton
  • Section L – Judge Robert Dittmer
  • Section O – Judge Donald E. Horrox
  • Section R – Judge Holly T. Grissinger
    • all Domestic violence cases, including Violations of Probation
  • Advisory #1 / Section P – Judge John D. Carballo for:
    • advisories, including the first appearance for domestic violence criminal cases;
    • arraignment hearings on Notices to Appear;
    • Local Ordinance Violations and non-criminal payable infractions; and
    • other duties assigned by the Court.
  • Advisory #2 – Judge Paul A. Levine for:
    • advisories;
    • arraignment hearings on Notices to Appear;
    • bond calendars;
    • Jimmy Ryce trials; and
    • other duties assigned by the Court

Extradition on a Fugitive Warrant to Pinellas County, FL

Contact us if you need more information about Extradition to Pinellas County on a Fugitive Warrant for a felony criminal case. Extradition is a time-consuming the expensive process that can be avoided in some cases.

While an individual is awaiting extradition to Pinellas County, an attorney may be able to negotiate a reasonable bond with the State Attorney’s Office or ask the judge to set a lower bond if an agreement cannot be reached.

After the individual’s release from another state, the person accused of the felony can then return voluntarily to the courthouse in Pinellas County to answer the charges.

Even in those cases in which extradition cannot be avoided, an attorney in Pinellas County can begin working on the case even before the individual is brought back to Florida.

Fighting a DUI Case in Pinellas County, FL

After an arrest for DUI, you will typically have two cases pending against you.

  • First, you must answer the criminal charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) at the Pinellas County Justice Center Courthouse in Clearwater, FL, or the traffic court in North County in St. Petersburg, FL, or the traffic court in South County in Clearwater, FL.
  • Second, you have a civil case pending against you related to the administrative suspension of your driver’s license (regardless of the outcome of your criminal case). You only have 10 days to request a formal review hearing to fight the administrative suspension of your Florida driver’s license.

We represent clients charged with the following types of DUI offenses:

  1. Refusal to submit to a chemical test;
  2. Breath test on the Intoxilyzer 8000;
  3. Blood test; or
  4. Urine Test.

Read more about the punishments and penalties that result after a DUI conviction depending on the way in which the crime is charged, including:

  1. First, Second, Third, or Fourth DUI conviction;
  2. DUI with a BAC of over .15 or a child passenger;
  3. DUI with property damage after a vehicle crash;
  4. DUI with non-serious personal injury; and
  5. Felony DUI with serious personal injury.

Safety Procedures the Courthouse During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the Covid-19 crisis began, did the courthouse in Pinellas County remain open? Yes, for most purposes. According to a report on Monday, June 23, 2020, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the following procedures are in place:

“…staff with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office began taking the temperatures of anyone entering the County Justice Center in Clearwater, along with the other four courthouses in the county, on Monday, June 22, 2020.

First a visitor to CJC has to abide by social distancing outside by standing beside traffic cones placed several feet from one another. Then he or she has to read a placard that has several standard COVID-19 questions in English and Spanish before entering, such as:

  • whether they are experiencing any of the virus’s symptoms;
  • whether they are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test;
  • whether they are under instructions to self-quarantine;
  • whether they’ve had close contact with anyone with COVID-19. and

Temperatures are taken just inside the entrance. No one is allowed inside without a mask. And, finally, the bins into which visitors must place their personal belongings as they make their way through the magnetometer are routinely disinfected.”

On February 3, 2021, the Sixth Judicial Circuit make the following announcement:

“Anthony Rondolino, the chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, modified the sixth circuit’s operational plan as it affects Pinellas County.

As of March 1, 2021, criminal jury trials will resume in Pinellas County. And, as of March 15, 2021, civil trials will resume in Pinellas County. Both types of trials will remain suspended in Pasco County, the other county in the circuit, until further notice.

The change occurred because a review of the most recent COVID-19 data indicates there has been sustained improvement.

Among other factors, the weekly positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Pasco remains above 9 percent, while in Pinellas they have dipped below 8 percent. Since the onset of the pandemic, circuits have been instructed by the Florida Supreme Court to consider resuming jury trials only when, among other things, a circuit’s positivity rate has been below 10 percent for a sustained period of time.”

Even during the initial lockdown, in the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas County, the courts were still open for “mission-critical” cases including:

  • First appearance hearings pursuant to Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.130;
  • Detention hearings pursuant to section 985.255, Fla. Stat.;
  • Shelter and arraignment hearings pursuant to sections 39.402 and 39.506, Fla. Stat.;
  • Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) advisory hearings pursuant to section 39.808, Fla. Stat.
  • Petitions for Judicial Waiver of Notice under section 390.01114(4), Fla. Stat.;
  • Ex parte injunctions for dating violence, domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or stalking pursuant to sections 26.20, 741.30, 784.046, and 784.0485, Fla. Stat.;
  • Ex parte petitions for Risk Protection Orders (RPO) under Chapter 790, Fla. Stat.;
  • Issuance of warrants or authorization for wiretaps;
  • Any other emergency matter such as involuntary examination orders pursuant to section 394.463, Fla. Stat., emergency medical treatment pursuant to Florida Probate Rule 5.900, or other emergencies requiring immediate action by the Court to prevent harm to persons or property; or
  • Other time-sensitive matters as determined by the judge.

Track Your Felony, Misdemeanor, or Traffic Case in Pinellas County, FL

Pinellas County Criminal Cases and Traffic Infractions – Search here to research your case on the Clerk of Court for Website to find information about your next court date, the judge assigned to your case, motions, and other legal pleadings filed in your case, or the disposition of an old case.

Clerk’s Office for Criminal Cases in Pinellas County
Criminal Justice Center
14250 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Jail Inquiry – Research your case here to find the information available immediately after an arrest including the bond and booking number for any person arrested. Major Alexis Davis commands the Detention and Corrections Bureau of the Sheriff’s Office for Pinellas County through six major divisions, including Inmate Healthcare, Central, South, North, Corrections Special Operations, and Support. The inmate population typically exceeds 3,000 inmates at any given time.

Law Enforcement Agencies in Pinellas County, FL

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office – Informative site for the Sheriff’s Office, which includes crime statistics and information about crime prevention. The PCSO consists of over 3,000 members in five major service divisions, including Inspection Bureau, Patrol Operations, Support Services, Investigative Operations, and Detention and Corrections.

14400 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762-2877
(727) 464-6415

St. Petersburg Police Department – Chief Charles “Chuck” Harmon heads the police department for the city of St. Petersburg, FL, comprised of 540 sworn officers and 234 civilian support staff.

1300 1 Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
(727) 893-7533

St. Pete Beach Police Department – The City of St. Pete Beach is located just off the Pinellas County mainland. The population of this barrier island is just over 10,000 residents. The police department in this small community was taken over by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 2013.

Clearwater Police Department – Click here for more information about the police department for Clearwater, FL, including the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) responsible for analysis of crime statistics, assistance to crime victims, and the investigation of crimes occurring within the city limits.

645 Pierce St.
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 562-4455

Pinellas Park Police Department – Find information for the Pinellas Park Police Department with its authorized strength of 104 full-time police officers.

7700 59th St.
Pinellas Park, Florida 33781
(727) 541-0793

Largo Police Department – The website for the Police Department, includes information about the more than 90 uniformed officers assigned to the Patrol Division responsible for the uniformed patrol functions of the department including 24-hour response to the initial investigation of crimes and incidents, traffic enforcement, and accident investigation.

201 Highland Avenue
PO Box 296
Largo, FL 33779-0296
(727) 586-7434

Tarpon Springs Police Department – The City of Tarpon Springs Police Department provides crime prevention services, law enforcement, and code enforcement. The current Acting Chief of Police is Captain Robert Kochen.

444 S. Huey Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
(727) 937-6151

Gulfport Police Department – Information on the Police Department for the police department of Gulfport, FL, including the patrol division comprised of four sergeants and nineteen uniformed patrol officers.

2401 53rd Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
(727) 893-1030

Kenneth City Police Department – James P. Ernst, Chief of Police heads the police department for Kenneth City, FL.

4600 58th Street North
Kenneth City, FL 33709
(727) 544-2564

Treasure Island Police Department– Tim Casey, Police Chief, heads the 20 sworn uniformed officers plus communications and support sections for Treasure Island, FL, a small city of about 7,500 full-time residents.

180 108th Avenue
Treasure Island, FL 33706
(727) 367-1981

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney for Pinellas County, FL

If you were arrested for a criminal offense in St. Petersburg or Clearwater, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A.

Our attorneys represent clients on DUI, misdemeanor, and felony offenses throughout Pinellas County. Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We also have a second office located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, across from the West Pasco Judicial Center.

We fight cases throughout all of Pinellas County after an arrest in any of the 24 incorporated municipalities including St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Seminole, Tarpon Springs, St. Pete Beach, or Largo, fl.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm fight for the best results at every stage of the case including the pre-file investigation, the first appearance advisory hearing, the arraignment, depositions, pre-trial negotiations through trial.

Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss your case today.

This article was last updated on Friday, March 4, 2022. 

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