Tampa Criminal and DUI Defense Attorneys
The criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Florida, represent individuals charged with felony, misdemeanor and DUI. Our offices are located in downtown Tampa just a few blocks from the courthouse. We welcome your calls to discuss your case with one of the three attorneys in our firm: Jason Sammis, Leslie Sammis or Jenny Thomas.
Many of our cases are referred to us from other attorneys in the area and throughout the State of Florida. We also rely on referrals from existing or previously clients. We work hard to earn our reputation as passionate and experienced attorneys for criminal cases in the Tampa Bay area.
Call to schedule a free confidential consultation either over the phone or in the office. During the initial consultation we can discuss the facts of the case, potential defenses to the charges, attorney fees for the legal representation, and what you might need to do immediately to preserve your rights and protect yourself after a criminal accusation. Our normal office hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We also schedule consultations after normal business hours or on weekends when needed.
Our phone number is answered 24/7 so if you need immediate assistance (even after hours or on weekends) then call to discuss the case.
We Focus Exclusively on Criminal Defense
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm focus exclusively on criminal defense. We strive to stay current on the most recent changes in the law and innovative defenses that can help us fight for the best results for our clients.
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 professionals who are charged with a criminal offense, such as nurses and other health care professionals, CDL drivers, pilots, teachers and certified educators or members of the military. Even high school and college students can face immediate collateral consequences after an arrest including a possible disciplinary hearing that could lead to expulsion from high school or college. For individuals with a concealed weapon permit or who require special security clearances for their employment the consequences of the arrest can impact their current job and future career opportunities.
We work with our clients to address all aspects of the case including the direct and indirect consequences. We strive to protect our clients during every step of the process. Finding the best criminal defense attorney for your particular case is the best way to avoid many of these consequences to your educational opportunities, career, and reputation.
If you have been wrongly accused of a crime then the best result is getting all charges dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the trial court. We work with seasoned private investigators and the most highly qualified expert witnesses while still maintaining reasonable attorney fees with payment plans when needed.
The Importance of Pre-trial Motions
The law is constantly changing and evolving. We take a scholarly approach to fighting the criminal charges. Often the best way to fight the case includes filing and litigating innovative motions. Pre-trial motions can include the following:
- Motions to Exclude Evidence;
- Motions to Suppress Evidence; and
- Motions to Dismiss the Criminal Charges.
Never Talk to an Law Enforcement Officer About a Criminal Investigation
If you have been contacted by a law enforcement officer, then contact us immediately. We tell our clients to invoke their right to remain silent until we can complete our investigation. If you want to invoke your right to remain silent then you simply say "I am invoking my right to remain silent until AFTER I have spoken to an attorney." Then remain silent.
If you decide to speak to law enforcement about the facts of your case then you are waiving your Sixth Amendment right to counsel and your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Your attorney is often in the best position to explain your side of the story to a law enforcement officer. Even individuals who are completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing should not speak to the police without having an attorney present.
In the event law enforcement does intend to make an arrest, your attorney may be able to negotiate your surrender under terms that may speed up your release, contact the prosecutor to discuss lowering the bond amount and handle other important details that will minimize the embarrassment, stress and expense that might normally accompany an arrest in Florida.
Effective Pre-File Negotiations in the Tampa Bay Area
If you have been arrested on a felony charge by officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office or the Tampa Police Department but not yet formally charged then we work quickly to present all mitigating factors and exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor.
The prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, or the surrounding areas often have the discretion to decline to prosecute certain types of criminal charges. An attorney can 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 charges, or reason to file only reduced charges.
In felony cases, the prosecutors with the State Attorney's Offices throughout the Tampa Bay area typically make a filing decision within 21 (twenty-one) days after your arrest, so you must act quickly to preserve all avenues of attack. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer quickly after an accusation or arrest remains one of the most effective way to defend yourself against an unjust prosecution.
DUI Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL
The DUI defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are focused on fighting drunk driving cases in Tampa and Plant City, FL. Learn more about the innovative ways that we fight these charges. We are familiar with many of the tactics used by DUI enforcement officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office or the Tampa Police Department.
The good news about the DUI refusal case is that the prosecutor does not have the one piece of evidence often consider most important to a successful prosecution - the chemical test result showing your blood or breath alcohol concentration (often called the BAC). Although the prosecutor might argue that the refusal itself is an indication of a "guilty conscience," most people realize that other reasons can exist for refusing the evasive chemical testing. Find our more about criminal justice statistics showing that more than 40% of DUI arrests in Florida involve an allegation that the driver refused to take the breath test.
We are also experienced in fighting DUI cases involving a breath test on the Intoxilyzer 8000 Breathlyzer machine. We have previously filed and litigated motions to obtain the "source code" of the Intoxilyzer 8000 in order to show serious flaws with the accuracy and reliability of the breath test machines. Did you know that Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) sued the manufacturer of the breath test machine (a company called CMI, Inc., in Owensboro, Kentucky) because FDLE was unsure of their rights to even inspect the "source code?" Although the State of Florida spent millions of dollars on these machines which are entirely computer driven, it never examined the source code to determine if the machines actually work as advertised. CMI, Inc., recently disclosed that it no longer has portions of the source code that are needed to fully evaluate the machines.
Additionally, the head of the FDLE Alcohol Breath Testing Program, Laura Barfield, recently resigned in disgrace after it was alleged that she improperly charged thousand of dollars of personal expenses to her FDLE credit card and submitted false reports about her travel expenses. Other serious problems have existed with the FDLE Alcohol Testing Program including a departmental inspector who was caught unplugging the instruments to hide evidence that it was not in compliance. Another departmental inspector was caught using her cell phone to cause radio interference to prematurely terminate inspections that failed.
Serious problems with the flow sensor or “pressure transducer” have come to light showing that the Intoxilyzer 8000 cannot accurately measure flow or sample duration which makes the "volume" reading completely inaccurate. It is estimated that this serious flaw could impact 40% of the pending breath test results in Florida.
It has also recently come to light that the top officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) covered up any evidence of a hardware modification that involved drilling a hole in the exhaust block check valve of the Intoxilyzer 8000. This hardware modification was in violation of Florida Administrative Code Chapter 11D-8.003(5). This eight year FDLE coverup calls into question whether the Intoxilyzer 8000 now in use is an approved instrument and whether the FDLE acted in substantial compliance with the administrative rules.
Our attorneys look carefully at each DUI breath test result to determine whether any mistake was made with the monthly, yearly, and post-repair agency or departmental inspections on the Intoxilyzer 8000. Any deviation may result in a hearing on a motion to suppress the breath test results for lack of substantial compliance with the administrative rules. If that motion is successful, the trial court can exclude any mention of the breath test at trial.
Updated on February 16, 2014, by Jason D. Sammis.
Helping Out of State Clients
If you were arrested for a misdemeanor charge such as DUI, possession of marijuana, domestic battery, petit theft or shoplifting after visiting the Tampa Bay area, then call us to discuss legal defenses that might apply to your case. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to resolve your case without the need for you to return to Florida.
If you are charged with a felony offense, the court may allow you to waive your appearance at many, if not all, of your pre-trial court dates. For many clients who now live out of state, it is important to avoid costly and unnecessary trips to court while still aggressively fighting the charges.
Many people call us after finding out about a Florida arrest warrant for failure to appear, a direct file, or a criminal investigation. We help you understand your rights, protect your freedom, and aggressively defend you against the criminal charge.
We Can Begin Your Defense Today
We have one goal for resolving your case - helping you obtain the best possible outcome. We understand that your livelihood, liberty, and good name are at stake. Contact the Sammis Law Firm, P.A. for a free immediate consultation over the phone or in the office. Call 813-250-0500 to speak directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, Florida.