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:
- the first appearance advisory hearing within 24 hours of their arrest;
- emergency bond hearings;
- pre-file investigations;
- arraignment after formal charges are filed;
- pre-trial conferences;
- motion hearings to dismiss the charges or suppress or exclude evidence; and
- the bench or jury trial.
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.
The main office of Sammis Law Firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Our office is located at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.
Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Pinellas County, FL.
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:
- Criminal Traffic Crimes
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) ;
- Reckless driving;
- Driving while license suspended;
- Habitual traffic offender (HTO) revocations and driving while license revoked as a habitual traffic offender;
- Violent Crimes
- Domestic violence battery;
- Domestic violence includes interference with a 911 case, stalking or violation of domestic violence restraining order or protective order;
- Child Abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse cases;
- Rape or Sexual Battery;
- Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record including information about the arrest, arrest photos, police reports, and information in the clerk’s file at the courthouse and online websites for Clearwater, Pinellas County, FL;
- Drug Crimes
- simple possession of marijuana or controlled substances;
- possession with intent to sell;
- sell and delivery; or
- drug trafficking;
- Theft crimes include shoplifting, petit theft, grand theft, embezzlement, employee theft, scheme to defraud, and fraud;
- Extradition to Pinellas County on a Fugitive Warrant;
- Resolving an outstanding warrant including a bench warrant, an arrest warrant, or a capias for your arrest after a failure to appear or failure to comply with a court order.
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.
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:
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test;
- Breath test on the Intoxilyzer 8000;
- Blood test; or
- 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:
- First, Second, Third, or Fourth DUI conviction;
- DUI with a BAC of over .15 or a child passenger;
- DUI with property damage after a vehicle crash;
- DUI with non-serious personal injury; and
- 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 Criminal Justice Center CJC Courthouse in Clearwater, FL, 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 hearings pursuant to section 39.402, Fla. Stat.;
- Arraignment hearings pursuant to section 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.
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 is 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, and pre-trial negotiations through trial.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 2, 2022.