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When facing a criminal charge, our 
experience matters

criminal law
st. petersburg, florida

Criminal law pertains to the adjudication of individuals who are charged with committing a criminal offense; that is, those offenses that are prohibited by statute, prosecuted, and punished by the government.”  Criminal law covers a wide range of practice areas, which require experienced attorneys who can assist you with resolving your individual circumstances.

our areas of
criminal law practice

 
 

APPEALS

In Florida, an appeal is a complex and time-consuming matter, but it may be your last chance for getting the outcome you want. Unlike many other law firms, at Barnett Woolums, P.A. we have the experience, ability, and desire to handle criminal and family (domestic relations) appeals. If you think you need to appeal your case, contact Barnett Woolums, P.A. immediately at 727-525-0200 There are strict deadlines for filing an appeal, so you must act quickly.

BATTERY

Battery is the unwanted touching of one person by another. Domestic battery involves individuals defined as “family members” because they: •are related by blood or marriage OR •resided together currently or in the past OR •have a child in common. Even minor touching, spitting, or pushing is considered battery and, if prosecuted, could have very serious consequences, such as a steep fine or imprisonment. In Florida, the State Attorney’s office determines if charges will be filed against you. The victim’s input is considered, however, the victim does not decide to “press charges” or “drop charges.” Based on the circumstances of the case, you may be charged with battery, aggravated battery, felony battery, or domestic battery. Our experienced attorneys defend people in St. Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County accused of but not limited to battery, assault, stalking, robbery, child abuse and child neglect. If you have been accused of one of these crimes you need a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you. Contact Barnett Woolums, P.A. today at 727-525-0200.

 

BURGLARY/ROBBERY/THEFT

Property crimes involve the taking of money or property with or without force or the threat of force against a victim. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., we handle all types of property crime cases, including, but not limited to: •Burglary •Theft (Larceny) •Robbery •Grand Theft Auto •Shoplifting (Retail Theft) •Vandalism •Arson As former Pinellas County prosecutors, we know exactly how the prosecution builds a case for property crimes, burglary, theft, and robbery—and how to counter those cases with a strong criminal defense. If you have been accused of one of these crimes you need a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you. Contact Barnett Woolums, P.A. today at 727-525-0200.

CHILD ABUSE

Child abuse is broadly defined as any type of cruelty inflicted upon a child, including mental abuse, physical harm, neglect, and sexual abuse or exploitation. Under Florida statutes, child abuse covers a broad scope of actions including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a child. Child abuse lawyers need to be familiar with the local court system and know your rights under the law. Barnett Woolums, P.A. defends people in St. Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County accused of child abuse as well as other violent crimes. If you have been accused of a crime against a child you need a child abuse lawyer who will fight for you. Contact us today at 727-525-0200.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Penalties you face for domestic violence charges may include a mandatory five-day jail sentence along with probation, community control, and additional days in jail. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., our criminal defense and family law attorneys have extensive experience dealing with the legal fall-out of domestic violence. If you have a domestic violence issue in Clearwater, FL, St. Petersburg, or the Tampa Bay area know that we provide swift protection for Petitioners and a strong defense for Respondents When representing our clients on civil injunctions (restraining orders), we are approachable, compassionate, and highly responsive to their individual needs. Whether you are the injunction Petitioner or Respondent, we are eager to help you with drafting your paperwork, representing you in hearings, and providing any other legal support you may need. Addressing Petitioners’ Safety Needs If you have been, or fear that you will soon be, the victim of domestic violence, we know exactly what is needed to invoke and enforce Florida law to protect you. As your attorneys, we can represent you in obtaining a temporary and/or permanent injunction to protect you, your children, and your assets in the following situations: •Repeat violence •Domestic violence •Dating violence •Sexual violence To obtain an injunction/restraining order, you must file a Petition that contains a sworn statement of the facts which would justify the Court granting the injunction. At that time, the Court can grant the temporary injunction, after which a hearing will be held to determine whether to make the injunction permanent. If the person named as the offender violates the injunction, he or she may be held in criminal contempt or arrested. An emergency temporary injunction can be sought as soon as possible following your initial contact with us. We can then pursue a temporary injunction to assure your protection for the short term. A temporary injunction may be made permanent after a hearing. We do everything possible to safeguard you, your possessions, and your assets with these orders of protection. A permanent injunction can be granted after a hearing where both sides have an opportunity to present their cases to the Court. If you are—or fear you may become—the victim of domestic violence, contact us at Barnett Woolums, P.A. to discuss your options. You do not have to wait to be physically harmed to protect yourself. Defending Respondents against Accusations We provide a strong defense for clients who are Respondents to an injunction. There are times when there is no basis for an injunction or restraining order. The repercussions of a temporary or permanent injunction can be severe and need to be defended against. They can lead to loss of reputation, job, liberty, and assets. Clients placed in this situation need our effective and concerned counsel to help them through this difficult time. Contact us at 727-525-0200 to discuss your case

DRIVING/BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI/BUI) 

DUI—Driving Under the Influence—and similarly BUI—Boating Under the Influence—are serious offenses. You need a DUI defense attorney that gives you the best chance for a favorable outcome. We have dealt with DUI and BUI cases both as prosecutors and as defense attorneys in St. Petersburg as well as Pinellas, Manatee, Hillsborough, and Sarasota counties. With our experience on both sides of the courtroom, we know how to evaluate and attack DUI and BUI cases. When you are accused of committing a crime—as with driving or boating under the influence of alcohol—time is of the essence. In the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) may take immediate action against your driver’s license when you are charged with DUI. Your driver’s license may be administratively suspended BUT you have TEN days after receiving the citation to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license by requesting a DHSMV administrative hearing. We represent clients at these administrative hearings and can help you obtain a temporary driving permit so you can continue to drive until the DHSMV reviews the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Use the Right Lawyer to Fight for a Good Outcome If you have been charged with DUI or BUI in St Petersburg, Pinellas, Tampa, Clearwater, or surrounding areas, you should immediately seek legal defense help from an attorney who is proficient in this area of the law. Each year, stronger DUI and BUI laws and more severe penalties are enacted. Potential consequences are significant and may include, but are not limited to: •Losing your driver’s license •Being placed in jail •Paying substantial fees, fines, and court costs •Increased insurance rates •A permanent criminal conviction on your record We evaluate every case for a possible reduction or dismissal of the charge. As former state prosecutors, each of our attorneys has invaluable knowledge of the practices and customs of the local court system. Among the important matters considered in every case are whether the state’s evidence is admissible, whether a trial is necessary, and if you can avoid a permanent criminal record. If you have been accused of a DUI or BUI, you need a lawyer in St. Petersburg who knows how to win these types of cases in the local court system. Contact us today.

 

DRUG OFFENSES

The federal and state justice systems both prosecute drug offenses in Florida. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., we understand the seriousness of drug crimes. We have the experience and dedication to provide St. Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County clients with an aggressive criminal defense attorney that protects their rights, their reputation, and their freedom. That is why you should contact our law firm if you need a drug lawyer. We defend clients facing all types of drugs charges, including, but not limited to: •Possession of Illegal Drugs and/or Prescription Drugs •Possession with Intent to Distribute •Drug Trafficking •Drug Sales •Drug Manufacturing •Doctor Shopping •Prescription Fraud If you have been charged with a drug crime, your freedom, future, and reputation are all at stake. You need a savvy attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., we are former Pinellas County prosecutors who now defend against the charges we once prosecuted. Therefore, we have a particular understanding of the local courts, prosecutors, and police. In each case, we investigate the alleged charges and determine how best to protect our client’s rights. An arrest alone on drug charges can result in a criminal record that you will have to explain for the rest of your life. Further, if convicted, you will lose your driver’s license, be prohibited from receiving most federal government loan assistance, and you could be sent to jail or prison. In addition to legal ramifications, your career and community reputation can be affected. Whatever charges you face, we are here to protect your rights and provide an effective, aggressive defense. Among the important things we consider in every case are: •Admissibility of the state’s evidence •The client’s eligibility for a diversion program •The client’s eligibility for alternative sentencing •Necessity of a trial •Avoidance of a permanent criminal record If you have been accused of a drug crime, you need a lawyer in St. Petersburg who knows how to win these types of cases in the local court system. Contact us today.

JUVENILE DELIQUENCY

Most juvenile offenses are heard by a judge in the juvenile justice system. However, when a crime is serious or a juvenile is a repeat offender the case may be heard in an adult criminal court. The juvenile justice system operates on the premise that youths are fundamentally different from adults regarding their level of responsibility for their actions and potential for rehabilitation. You need a St. Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County juvenile defense attorney that knows how the system works. Although juveniles can be accused of many of the same crimes as adults, treatment and successful reintegration of youths are the primary goals of the juvenile justice system. Therefore, juvenile law has a great deal of flexibility built into it. We can guide you and your child through the legal process and support you each step of the way. When you or members of your family are being accused of committing a crime, time is of the essence. Just because you have been arrested does not necessarily mean that you have been charged with a crime. Nor does it mean that formal charges must be filed against you To prevent charges from being filed, or to reduce the severity of any charges that are filed, it is critical that you have an attorney contact the prosecutor immediately after your arrest. Do not wait until after you receive a notice to appear in court to contact us. The outcome of your case may depend on how quickly you act. Contact the experienced lawyers at Barnett Woolums, P.A. today at 727-525-0200.

 

PROPERTY CRIMES
 

Property crimes involve the taking of money or property with or without force or the threat of force against a victim. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., we handle all types of property crime cases, including, but not limited to: •Burglary •Theft (Larceny) •Robbery •Grand Theft Auto •Shoplifting (Retail Theft) •Vandalism •Arson If you are accused of committing a property crime in the Tampa Bay area, contact us for a consultation. We handle defense law cases in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, and Pasco counties in West Central Florida. As former Pinellas County prosecutors, our criminal defense attorneys know exactly how the prosecution builds a case for property crime, burglary, theft, and robbery—and how to counter those cases with a strong defense. We know the legal process and the court system and utilize that knowledge to benefit our clients. You need a St. Petersburg property crimes defense attorney who knows how to win cases involving property crime offenses. Call Barnett Woolums, P.A. today.

RECORD SEALING AND EXPUNGEMENT

Florida Statutes defines the sealing of a criminal history as the ‘preservation of a record under such circumstances that it is secure and inaccessible to any person not having a legal right of access to the information contained…therein.” In practical terms, ‘sealing’ means that your record is placed under court-ordered protection, which prevents public disclosure of or access to the record. Information and documents related to the incident remain on file with the criminal justice agency, but the record is confidential. Florida Statutes, defines expungement as the “court-ordered physical destruction…of a record by any criminal justice agency” that has that information. In other words, an expunction involves the elimination of documents and information pertaining to a past criminal incident. A confidential record will remain with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for limited purposes outlined by statute. The eligibility requirements for sealing and expunging are different and can be complex. We know the legal process and the court system and utilize that knowledge to benefit our clients. If you need a St. Petersburg attorney who knows how to help you pursue records sealing or expungement, please contact Barnett Woolums, P.A. today. In practical terms, ‘sealing’ means that your record is placed under court-ordered protection, which prevents public disclosure of or access to the record. Information and documents related to the incident remain on file with the criminal justice agency, but the record is confidential. Florida Statutes, defines expungement as the “court-ordered physical destruction…of a record by any criminal justice agency” that has that information. In other words, an expunction involves the elimination of documents and information pertaining to a past criminal incident. A confidential record will remain with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for limited purposes outlined by statute. The eligibility requirements for sealing and expunging are different and can be complex. We know the legal process and the court system and utilize that knowledge to benefit our clients. If you need a St. Petersburg attorney who knows how to help you pursue records sealing or expungement, please contact Barnett Woolums.

 

TRAFFIC OFFENSES AND INFRACTIONS

An experienced criminal defense attorney from our firm can help you fight traffic offense charges that can result in fines, points, license suspension, and higher insurance rates. Contact Barnett Woolums P.A to discuss your case.

VIOLATION OF PROBATION

When someone is placed on probation, they have several responsibilities to fulfill and parameters to adhere to successfully complete your probation terms. To prove a Violation of Probation (VOP), the Government (State Attorney) must prove that the defendant substantially and willfully violated the conditions of a probationary sentence. This is a lower standard of proof than that of proving that someone committed a crime. If your probation or parole officer can file an Affidavit of Violation of Probation for several reasons, including, but not limited to: •Failure to pay fines or restitution as determined by the court •Moving out of the area listed in your court documents •Failing to take or pass a drug or alcohol screening •Failure to comply with treatment programs •Failure to meet with your probation officer •Getting arrested for another crime After a hearing on the VOP a judge can either reinstate your probation, modify your probation (likely adding more restrictive terms), or revoke your probation and sentence you to jail. If you have been accused of violating your probation, it is critical that you talk to an experienced attorney right away. At Barnett Woolums P.A, we are experienced with VOPs from both the prosecutor’s position and that of experienced criminal defenses attorneys. Contact us today to discuss your case.

 

WEAPONS OFFENSES 

Florida has some of the strictest gun laws in the country that can result in very serious consequences if you are charged with a weapons crime. That is why those accused of weapons crimes need an aggressive gun attorney that is strong enough to take on Florida’s tough gun laws. At Barnett Woolums, P.A., we handle all types of weapons charges, including, but not limited to: •Unlawful Possession of a Firearm •Carrying a Concealed Weapon without a License •Illegal Sale of a Weapon •Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm •Weapons/Gun Trafficking •Felon in Possession of a Weapon • Use of a Gun While Committing a Crime •10/20/Life Crimes If you are facing a charge or charges involving a weapon, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact us for a free initial discussion of your case. Depending on the circumstances and the evidence against you, we may be able to get the criminal weapons charges dropped or reduced. Additionally, we may be able to negotiate on your behalf for a diversion program or for probation in place of incarceration. If you have been accused of a weapons offense, you need a lawyer in St. Petersburg who knows how to win these types of cases in the local court system. Contact us today.