Criminal Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL
Sammis Law Firm, P.A., is a criminal defense law firm located in downtown Tampa, FL, just a few blocks from the courthouse. The four attorneys at the firm aggressively defend clients charged with felony, misdemeanor, and DUI offenses. Many of our cases are referred to us from other attorneys throughout the State of Florida. We also rely on referrals from previous clients.
We work hard to earn our reputation as passionate, experienced, and aggressive criminal defense lawyers. Our attorneys take a scholarly approach to litigating pre-trial motions while fighting for the best result. We also pride ourselves on being thoroughly prepared for motion hearings and jury trials.
Call to schedule a free and confidential consultation either over the phone or in the office. During the initial consultation, we can discuss the facts of the case and what you might need to do right now to protect your rights. Learn more about potential defenses and the attorney fees required for legal representation.
Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. If you need assistance after business hours, on a weekend or holiday, our phones are answered 24/7. We are also available for consultations in the office after normal business hours when needed.
Attorneys Focused Exclusively on Criminal Defense
The four attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, Jason D. Sammis, Leslie M. Sammis, Matt A. Menendez and Amanda F. Brunson, focus exclusively on criminal defense. That focus allows us to stay up to date on innovative defenses that win cases and recent changes in criminal law and procedures.
We work with our clients to address all aspects of the case including the direct and indirect consequences of a criminal accusation. After a false accusation, the best result is getting the charges dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the trial court. Depending on how the case is resolved, you may be able to seal or expunge the criminal history record and mug shot so that it disappears from the public view.
Extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts at each stage of the case. We work with seasoned private investigators and the most highly qualified expert witnesses while still maintaining reasonable attorney fees. 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 professionals who are charged with a crime including:
- teachers and certified educators;
- attorneys and law school students;
- health-care professionals including physicians and nurses; and
- members of the military.
When the stakes are high, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm who takes a full-service approach to criminal defense. We are focused on fighting criminal accusations in the greater Tampa Bay area.
The Importance of Filing Pre-trial Motions
The law is constantly changing and evolving. We take a scholarly approach to fighting the case. The best way to fight the case involves filing and litigating all viable pre-trial motions including:
- motions to exclude irrelevant or prejudicial evidence;
- motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained;
- motions to dismiss because of the statute of limitations; or
- motions to dismiss the criminal charges for insufficient evidence.
Good things happen when attorneys file and litigate all of the viable pre-file motions. Even if the court doesn't ultimately grant the motion, the defense attorney can often gain valuable information about the prosecutor's case that can be used to win the case at trial or negotiate a better pre-trial settlement.
In some cases, the criminal defense attorney can convince the prosecutor to drop the charges completely ("nolle prosse") for a variety of reasons including a pending motion to suppress, insufficient evidence, a witness is unavailable, the victim waivers, or a victim request not to prosecute.
Never Talk to a Law Enforcement Officer About a Criminal Accusation
If approached by a law enforcement officer who suspects you of criminal wrongdoing, then you can invoke your right to remain silent by saying: "I am invoking my right to remain silent under the 5th and 6th amendment. I would like to speak to my attorney before I say anything." Then remain silent. At trial, the jury is not told that you invoked your right to remain silent. In other words, the fact that you remained silent cannot be used against you.
After a lawful detention, if the officer asks your name or date of birth, then you can provide that information even if you have already invoked your right to remain silent. You are not required, however, to answer other types of questions.
When you hire an attorney, the attorney will immediately inform the law enforcement officer that you have invoked your rights under the 5th and 6th amendments thereby preventing the officer from asking you any questions. Hiring an attorney to deal with law enforcement might discourage the officers from coming to your home or work in an attempt to interrogate you about the criminal accusations.
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 experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney is often in the best position to explain your side of the story to the law enforcement officer.
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. We also handle other critical details of the case 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 typically make a filing decision within 21 (twenty-one) days after the arrest, so you must act quickly to preserve all avenues of attack. In a felony case, 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. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer quickly after an accusation or arrest remains one of the most effective ways to defend yourself against an unfair prosecution.
Helping 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 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.
Tthe 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, a 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 the Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys are focused on DUI Defense throughout Tampa, FL, and the surrounding areas in and around Hillsborough County. We represent clients charged with DUI after a breath test, blood test, urine test, or a refusal to submit to testing.
We fight drunk driving cases involving enhanced penalties for a DUI crash involving property damage, having a BAC over .15, driving with a child passenger, or having a prior DUI conviction. For either a felony or misdemeanor DUI case, call us for a free consultation.
Find out why we always recommend that you demand a formal review hearing to contest the "on the spot" administrative suspension of your driver's license. We can help you get a 42-day permit so that you can keep driving while we contest the administrative suspension. The information we gain during the formal review hearing can also be used to aggressively fight your criminal charges in the courtroom.
Contact us to find out more about Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR), Hillsborough County's DUI Diversion program for cases pending at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City, FL. Our Tampa DUI Attorneys can help you understand your rights, protect your freedom, and aggressively defend you against the criminal charge.
Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa, FL
We understand that your livelihood, liberty, and good name are on the line after an accusation of criminal wrongdoing. Contact the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., for a free immediate consultation over the phone or in the office. By focusing exclusively on criminal defense in the Tampa Bay area, we represent clients for criminal offenses charged in state court.
Contact us to speak directly with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, Florida. We provide affordable legal fees for a wide range of criminal and DUI charges. Let us put our experience to work for you.
This article was last updated on Friday, March 3, 2018.