Criminal Defense Attorney St. Petersburg

Criminal Defense Attorney St. PetersburgRooth Law Group is a full-service criminal defense law firm located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. The majority of our practice is focused on criminal defense. We understand how stressful and intimidating it can be to go through the criminal justice system. No one should venture through this process without skilled and aggressive legal counsel on their side. Whether you need a St. Petersburg auto accident attorney, a criminal defense attorney, or a personal injury attorney, we will be there to represent your needs.

With a former prosecutor on staff, we have an inside understanding as to how the State Attorney’s Office works and what they consider in deciding whether to reduce or drop a charge. We will work diligently to protect your constitutional rights and minimize the effect the criminal charge has on your life and that of your family. If you have been arrested for a crime in Florida, do not hesitate to contact Rooth Law Group for a free consultation today.

If you have been arrested for a crime in Florida, do not hesitate to contact Rooth Law Group for a free consultation today.

Comprehensive Criminal Defense Practice

Drug Crimes: We routinely represent individuals charged with drug trafficking, sale and delivery, and possession, related to a wide variety of substances including cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth, and prescription pills.

Driving/Boating Under the Influence: We work hard to defend all DUI/BUI charges with the help of a St. Petersburg auto accident attorney, regardless of whether it is your first or fifth.

Traffic Violations: We represent a wide range of traffic infractions, both criminal and civil. These include speeding tickets, careless driving, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license.

Domestic Violence: Domestic disputes often arise in relationships involving significant bonds – spouses, current or prior partners, or family members. We also represent individuals charged with violating domestic violence injunctions.

Battery/Assault: We represent individuals accused of misdemeanor and felony battery and assault, including battery/assault of a law enforcement officer and other agents.

Violation of Probation/Community Control: We will aggressively work to get you back to the status of your prior sentence or an even better sentence. We can also represent you in your request for the judge to withdraw the warrant for your arrest.

Sealing and Expungement: We complete the complicated paperwork for you so that you can be rid of your criminal record for good.

Juvenile Offenses: We zealously represent youths charged with juvenile crimes such as underage drinking, vandalism, theft, battery and assault.

Internet Crimes: A relatively new area of law, we keep abreast as to the latest developments and represent individuals charged with improperly manipulating computer data, theft of intellectual property, internet fraud, and more.

Theft Crimes: We handle worthless checks, burglary, robbery, shoplifting, dealing with stolen property, theft, and grand theft charges.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the crimes we handle.

If you have been arrested, call the Rooth Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County or (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hillsborough County have a criminal diversion program?

Yes, Hillsborough County has two different programs. The felony program in Tampa is known as Pretrial Intervention Program (MIP). It is available to most third degree felony charges. The other program is for misdemeanors and it is known as the Misdemeanor Intervention Program (MIP).

Does Pasco County have a criminal diversion program?

Yes, the Pasco Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) is available to first time offenders for many but not all criminal charges. The Office of the State Attorney is the only party involved that can offer the program and completion of the program is at the Office of the State Attorney’s sole discretion. Only the State Attorney can place you in the program and only the State Attorney can remove you from the program.

Does Pinellas County have a criminal diversion program?

Pinellas County does offer a diversion program known as Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). The program is available at the sole discretion of the Office of the State Attorney. Not all charges are eligible for the program. The application is available by contacting Pinellas County’s Office of the State Attorney.

What is the Pinellas County criminal diversion program?

First time offenders are provided a greater opportunity to have their case dismissed through a diversion program. Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties refer to the programs by the names. The program in Pinellas County is known as Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). The program is available at the discretion of the Office of the State Attorney. Judges have no say in who gets the program or what the terms of the program are. Typically, most misdemeanors and most third-degree felonies are permitted into the diversion programs. Once all the terms of the diversion program have been completed the charges are dismissed. Sealing or expunging the record is the next step.

How can I find out if someone is in the Pinellas County Jail?

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has an online tool that allows you to search their records to find out who is currently or was previously arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. This tool also shows what the charges are. Visit the Pinellas County Jail website at

How do I find out what evidence the police have against me?

The evidence against the accused remains in the custody of the Office of the State Attorney until a Demand for Discovery is served on them. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 informs the parties what information must be physically provided and what information needs only be available for inspection.

Do the police have to read my Miranda rights before they arrest me?

There are other ways your statements can be introduced at trial so exercise your right to remain silent if you are under criminal investigation.

What is restitution?

When a defendant is sentenced for the commission of a crime, the court may order the defendant to pay back the court and the victim for the damage caused. This requirement to pay is an equitable remedy known as restitution. The court does not determine the amount of restitution based on the defendant’s ability to pay. Rather, the court focuses on the amount of loss sustained by the victim as a result of the offense. The state attorney has the burden of demonstrating the amount of loss sustained by the victim. See Florida Statute 775.089.

I reside out of state but was charged for a crime in Florida. I want to plea my case. Do I need to travel back to Florida to plea?

You may be able to enter a plea in absentia, which is basically a plea entered on paper because you are unable appear personally in court. Florida statutes have specific requirements about how and when a plea of absentia may be entered. If the plea in absentia is not in compliance with Florida law, the judge may reject your plea.

Can I hire a defense attorney outside of St. Petersburg, Florida for my criminal case?

Any attorney admitted to the Florida Bar is permitted to appear in all Florida state courts. However, as a practical matter, it makes more sense to hire local criminal defense St. Petersburg counsel. An attorney who practices law primarily out of St. Petersburg is likely familiar with the Pinellas County judges and local court procedures and practices. Nuances in everyday courtroom matters can vary from judge to judge and only an attorney who appears in those courtrooms daily will be familiar with these procedures. Also, hiring an out of town attorney will likely result in higher fees as he or she would likely charge a higher fee in order to travel to Pinellas County.

What are the chances I will go to prison?

There is no way to give a concrete answer to this question. The type of charges, the prior criminal history, and other factors all come into play.

How do I get out of jail?

If the person is in custody and has a bond, you must pay the bond in order to have them released from the jail. Payment of the bond can be made in cash or through a bondsman. If the person in custody has too high of a bond or no bond at all, a motion can be set with the Court to set a reasonable bond.

What happened to my personal property when I was arrested and how do I get it back?

If you were booked into jail, the police probably took your money and any personal property that you had in your possession and inventoried it for safekeeping. They likely gave you a copy of the inventory. When you are released from jail or when your criminal case is concluded, then any money and personal property that was not seized as evidence can be returned to you. You should review the list of property given to you before you sign it to make sure that everything that was taken from you is on that list.

What is a FTA?

FTA is short for failure to appear. If a defendant receives notice of a court date and chooses not to attend the court date, they will be classified in the criminal system as failing to appear. Pinellas and Pasco Counties regularly charge defendants with an additional third degree felony charge when they are provided proper notice of a court date and fail to appear on the date and time of the court appearance.

Can I hire a lawyer for a Pinellas County bond motion?

Yes and no. Pinellas County has a court rule in place which requires an attorney to remain on the case from beginning to end. This means that the judges do not allow attorneys to appear in court on behalf of a client for only a bond motion or motion to reduce bond. This local court rule requires attorneys to be fully retained to handle the entire case before they can argue a motion for bond in court.

Should I tell my Florida lawyer I am not a U.S. citizen?

It is very important to disclose to your attorney that you are not a U.S. citizen. An attorney should ask you before you enter a plea to a criminal charge but a proactive client should disclose this as soon as possible. Depending on the type of charge, a change in your plea in Florida to guilty or no contest could subject you to deportation proceedings. Florida criminal defense attorney’s must advise their client of immigration consequences.

What’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

A misdemeanor crime is considered a lesser offense because it results in a lesser sentence than a felony. However, some misdemeanors can carry serious consequences. A felony is a very serious crime that usually has a prison sentence from at least one year all the way up to a capital punishment, depending on the nature of the felony.

Can I reach an St. Petersburg attorney at night or on the weekend?

Yes, our attorneys are available in the evening and on weekends for consultations. We do not keep regular night or weekend hours but we will schedule a consultation or office appointment based on a client’s need. Emergency appointments are available based on the circumstances of the situation. Not all situations require immediate attention. Our after hours service is available by calling our main office numbers. We answer our phone 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Call our office today to speak with your criminal defense attorneys at the Rooth Law Group: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County or (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.

Blog for General Criminal Defense

  • St Pete Police Program To Track Young Criminals
    Description: Get your FREE book on Florida Criminal Defense and call us: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County
  • Florida Attorney General Bondi Against Automatic Restoration of Felons’ Rights
    Description: For a FREE book guiding you through the criminal process, visit Rooth Law Group’s website. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys today.
  • Florida Video Captures Image of Child Abduction Suspect
    Description: Amazing video footage captured from a Bradenton home surveillance system shows a young child pursued by a man. Will the video help locate this suspect? No one knows, but criminal law detectives are warning parents and child. The video might be a crucial tool for law enforcement to help identify a suspect and to prosecute him for violating Florida criminal laws. Rooth Law Group, (727) 797-9600.
  • Criminal Arrests at Tampa’s Gasparilla Invasion Down
    Description: Gasparilla 2011 saw fewer arrests for criminal charges of driving under the influence, boating under the influence, disorderly conduct and underage drinking than in 2010. The criminal offenses led to many of those charged to receive citations and notices to appear in court while others were taken to the Hillsborough County Jail for booking.
  • Stewart Murder Trial: Stand Your Ground Defense or Senseless Death?
    Description: If you have been charged with murder, do not leave your entire future to chance. Call former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney Ryan Rooth today for a free consultation: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.
  • How Jail Time Credit Applies to Concurrent or Consecutive Sentences
    Description: If you have been charged with a crime or believe your sentencing was in error, contact an experienced criminal defense or appellate attorney at Rooth Law Group today for a free consultation: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.
  • What is Restitution and How is it Calculated under Florida Law?
    Description: Is restitution part of your sentence? A recent 2nd district court case addresses what the trial court should look at to determine the amount of restitution. If you have questions about restitution owed in your case, call Rooth Law Group today for a free consultation, (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.
  • Failure to Comply with Juvenile’s Right to Counsel Procedure Results in Reversal of Delinquency
    Description: Do you have questions about your juvenile charge or a criminal appeal? Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Call Rooth Law Group for a free consultation: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.
  • Criminal Mischief Conviction Upheld, Probation Term Sentence Reversed
    Description: If you have been charged with crime or have questions about your probation sentence, call Rooth Law Group today for a free consultation, (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.
  • When Does Deputy Testimony and Prior Conviction Evidence Constitute Inadmissible Hearsay?
    Description: If you have been charged with a crime such as burglary, or any other theft offense, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Rooth Law Group today for a free consultation: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.

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