Criminal Defense Attorneys in Tampa, FL
Sammis Law Firm, P.A.
Our criminal defense firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL, just a few blocks from the courthouse. We have a second office in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL, across from the West Pasco Judicial Center.
The four attorneys at the firm aggressively defend clients charged with felony, misdemeanor, and DUI offenses through the greater Tampa Bay area. Many of our cases are referred to us by other attorneys. We also rely on referrals from previous clients.
We work hard to earn our reputation as experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyers. We take a scholarly approach to litigating pre-trial motions. We also pride ourselves on being thoroughly prepared for motion hearings and jury trials.
Contact us 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, the best defenses, and what you might need to do right now to protect your rights.
Our normal business 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.
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.
We help our clients address all aspects of their case including the direct and indirect consequences of the 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 top expert witnesses while still maintaining affordable attorney fees.
Representing Professionals Accused of a Crime
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:
- health-care professionals such as physicians and nurses;
- teachers and certified educators;
- members of the military; and
- law enforcement officers.
When the stakes are high, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We take a full-service approach to criminal defense. With offices in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, we are focused on fighting criminal accusations throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.
The Importance of Filing Pre-trial Motions
The best way to fight the case might involve filing all viable pre-trial motions including:
- motions to exclude irrelevant or prejudicial evidence;
- motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained; or
- motions to dismiss because of insufficient evidence.
Good things happen when attorneys file 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. Information from the motion hearing can be used to win the case at trial or negotiate a better pre-trial settlement.
Never Talk to Law Enforcement 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 can 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 will prevent 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.
Our Tampa criminal defense attorneys 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 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.
Why are charges dropped? The prosecutor might decide to drop the charges ("nolle prosse") for a variety of reasons including:
- a pending motion to suppress;
- insufficient evidence;
- a witness is unavailable;
- a witness waivers; or
- the witness files a request not to prosecute.
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.
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 the best legal defenses that might apply to your case.
Your attorney may be able to resolve your case without the need for you to return to Florida. The 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 also fight DUI cases in New Port Richey, and the surrounding areas of Pasco County, FL.
We represent clients charged with DUI after a breath test, blood test, urine test, or a refusal to submit to testing. Many of these drunk driving cases have the potential for enhanced penalties because of property damage, having a BAC over .15, driving with a child passenger, or having a prior DUI conviction.
For a first DUI without any aggravating factors, contact us to find out more about Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR), Hillsborough County's DUI Diversion program for a first DUI pending at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City, FL.
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. The best way to fight the DUI case is to obtain a 42-day permit so that you can keep driving while we contest the administrative suspension.
We can use the information gained during the formal review hearing to aggressively fight your criminal charges in the courtroom. Contact us to find out more about Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism
Our Tampa DUI Attorneys can help you understand your rights, protect your freedom, and find the best way to aggressively defend you against the criminal charge.
Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer 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.
Our offices are located in downtown Tampa just a few blocks from the courthouse. We also have an office in New Port Richey in Pasco County which is located directly across from the courthouse.
Our attorneys are members of the National Organization for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Florida Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL). These organizations help the top criminal defense attorneys by providing training, contacts, resources, and information.
By focusing exclusively on criminal defense in the Tampa Bay area, we represent clients charged with both felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses in state court. Contact us to speak directly with an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyers. 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, September 21, 2018.