Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa

Are You Looking For The Best Criminal Defense Lawyer In Tampa Florida?

 

Attorney David C. Hardy is a former Tampa Florida prosecutor that now represents persons accused of crimes.  Attorney Hardy is board certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an expert in criminal trial law.

 

For more than five years, Attorney Hardy served as an Assistant State Attorney in Tampa, Florida.  As a prosecutor and Tampa criminal defense lawyer, he has handled thousands of Florida criminal cases, including cases involving: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, felony battery, burglary, carrying a concealed firearm, domestic violence, drug possession, drug sale, drug trafficking, DUI, felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing to elude, resisting arrest, theft, violations of probation, and bond hearings.

 

In the federal courts, as a Tampa criminal defense lawyer, he has handled a wide variety of cases including bank fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy, international extradition, federal drug offenses immigration offenses, aggravated identity theft, the misbranding of drugs, firearms offenses, federal bond hearings, and federal criminal appeals.  Attorney Hardy is a highly experienced Tampa federal criminal defense lawyer.  He has practiced extensively in the areas of federal criminal investigations, federal target letters, federal grand jury investigations, federal bond hearings, federal plea agreements, federal sentencing, and federal appeals.

 

Attorney Highlights

  • Attorney Hardy has represented clients in federal trial and appellate courts in Florida, Texas, and Georgia.
  • The attorney rating service Martindale-Hubbell has awarded Attorney Hardy it’s highest possible rating.
  • The attorney rating service AVVO has awarded Attorney Hardy a rating of 10.0 – Superb.
  • Client reviews concerning Attorney Hardy, click here
  • Tampa criminal defense attorney David C. Hardy’s experience and background, click here.

 

Who Does Hillsborough County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney David Hardy represent?

Hillsborough County Florida criminal defense attorney David C. Hardy has represented persons from all walks of life.  Attorney Hardy has represented accountants, military veterans, nurses, teachers, small business owners, lawyers, federal contractors, and college students in the Hillsborough County courts.  All of these people had something in common – they were accused of a crime and they needed an experienced, skilled, and dedicated Hillsborough County, Florida criminal defense attorney.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer?

At the Hardy Law Firm, P.A., fees are determined carefully.  When setting a fee, Attorney Hardy takes into account a variety of factors, which may include:

  • Is the case a misdemeanor or a felony? In the Tampa criminal courts, misdemeanors are criminal offenses that involve a maximum sentence of less than one year in jail, while felonies are criminal offenses that involve sentences of one year or more in prison. Because misdemeanor cases are generally less complicated than felony cases, Attorney Hardy will typically charge less for a misdemeanor case than for a felony case.
  • Will the case require a jury trial? If it appears to Attorney Hardy that the case will require a jury trial, the fee will likely be higher. That’s because jury trials can last days, week, or even months, and jury trials require an extensive amount of preparation.
  • Will the case require a stand your ground hearing? If it appears to Attorney Hardy that your case will require a stand your ground hearing, the fee may be higher. That is because stand your ground hearings may require extensive legal research, preparation, and court time.
  • Will the case require a motion to suppress evidence? When police act in ways that violate either the Florida Constitution or the United States Constitution, Attorney Hardy may file a motion to suppress evidence. If a Tampa judge grants the motion to suppress evidence, the prosecutor may be forced to drop the case or the judge may dismiss the case.  Motions to suppress evidence often require extensive legal research, brief writing, and hours of court time.  Therefore, Attorney Hardy may charge more cases that require a motion to suppress.
  • Does the client have an extensive criminal history? If a client has an extensive criminal history, this complicates the case and makes negotiations with the prosecutor more difficult. That’s because prosecutors are more likely to seek a jail or prison sentence when a defendant has a prior criminal record.   In cases like these, Attorney Hardy’s fees may be higher because more time is required to handle the case.
  • Is Your Tampa Criminal Case in the Federal or State Court? Federal criminal cases and Florida criminal cases are very different. The manner of investigation, the grand jury process, the rules of criminal procedure, and the sentencing process are nothing alike.   Federal sentencing, in particular, can be an extremely complex and time-consuming process.  Because Tampa federal criminal cases require a great amount of time and legal expertise, they frequently require higher fees.

 

Should I Hire The Cheapest Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer?

 

If you had to hire a heart surgeon to perform open heart surgery on you, would you want the cheapest surgeon or the best surgeon?

 

It’s the same idea when it comes to hiring a Tampa criminal lawyer.  An experienced, talented, dedicated, board certified Tampa criminal defense attorney may charge you more money for your case that a less experienced attorney.  However, given that your reputation, financial future, and possibly your very liberty is at stake, that extra cost may be well worth it in the long run.

 

When hiring a Tampa criminal defense lawyer, it may be helpful to remember an old but cautionary saying: “Cheap turns out very expensive in the end.”

 

Can A Hillsborough County Criminal Defense Lawyer Guarantee You a Specific Result For Your Tampa Criminal Case?

 

In the days and weeks after a person has been accused of a crime, they are often desperate.  Unfortunately, there may be some criminal defense attorneys that, in order to convince an accused person to hire them and hand over their money, will make promises guaranteeing a specific result in their case.

 

If a Hillsborough County criminal defense attorney makes you a guarantee that they can get you a specific result in your case before the case has even begun, please do yourself a big favor and hire a different attorney.  Each and every Tampa criminal case has many variables that are typically unknown at the start of the case.  The Hillsborough County Florida criminal defense lawyer that you hire will need to sort these variables out before they can provide you with an opinion on how the case will turn out.

 

Remember – your goal is to hire an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney that can work with you to get the best possible result in your case.  Quality legal representation takes time and effort.

 

Hire a criminal defense lawyer that will be honest with you – not one that tells you what you want to hear in order to get your business.

 

 

How To Hire The Best Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer For Your Case?

If you have been accused of a state or federal crime in Tampa, Florida, you need to hire the best Tampa criminal defense attorney for your particular case, because your liberty, financial future, and reputation may all be at stake.  Which Tampa criminal lawyer you hire to represent you could have important consequences for the rest of your life.

As you research Tampa criminal defense attorneys, consider these questions:

  • Is the Tampa lawyer you are considering hiring actually a criminal defense lawyer?
  • Is the Tampa criminal lawyer that you are considering hiring highly experienced in criminal law?
  • Is the Tampa criminal lawyer you are considering hiring board certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in criminal trial law?
  • Is the Tampa criminal defense lawyer you are considering hiring a former prosecutor?
  • Is the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring rated AV-Preeminent by the Martindale Hubble Attorney Rating Service?
  • s the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring have excellent client reviews?
  • Does the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring have an excellent law school academic record?
  • Has the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring written any legal articles in a magazine or academic publication?
  • Has the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring taught law at a college or law school?

Let’s take a deeper look into each of these questions and what is important to research.

 

Is the Tampa lawyer you are considering hiring actually a criminal defense lawyer?

This may sound like a silly question, but people unfamiliar with the legal system often don’t understand that there are many different types of lawyers – and most of them have never set foot in a criminal courtroom. Think of it this way, if you had to have open-heart surgery, would you want a foot doctor to perform the surgery? Wouldn’t it make more sense to find an experienced heart surgeon? The same analysis applies when it comes to hiring a Tampa criminal lawyer.  If you’ve been accused of a crime, hire a Tampa criminal defense attorney that works exclusively on criminal cases.

 

Is the Tampa criminal lawyer that you are considering hiring highly experienced in criminal law?

Find out how long the criminal defense lawyer you are considering hiring has been practicing criminal law. If you are facing serious charges and the lawyer you are considering hiring is fresh out of law school, you may want to consider finding a more experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney.

 

Is the Tampa criminal lawyer you are considering hiring board certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in criminal trial law?

In order to recognize an attorney’s special knowledge, skills, and professionalism in criminal trial law, the Florida Bar has established a program by which an attorney can become board certified in criminal trial law. Earning Florida Bar board certification in criminal trial law is difficult because the requirements to become certified are very demanding.  Less than one percent of all Florida lawyers have attained the distinction of board certification in criminal trial law.  If the Tampa criminal lawyer that you hire to represent you is board certified in criminal trial law by the Florida Bar, you can be sure your lawyer is a skilled, experienced, and professional criminal defense lawyer.

 

Is the Tampa criminal defense lawyer you are considering hiring a former prosecutor?

Find out of if the Tampa criminal lawyer you are considering hiring spent at least five years working as a prosecutor.  Prosecutors get excellent training and experience, and if they become defense attorneys they can use their skills and knowledge to help you get the best possible result in your case.

 

Is the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring rated AV-Preeminent by the Martindale Hubble Attorney Rating Service?

Martindale-Hubbell’s attorney rating service is the most respect attorney rating service in the United States. It is based upon the evaluations of judges and lawyers in the community.  If your Tampa criminal lawyer has attained the highest possible rating of AV-Preeminent, you can be sure that your attorney is well respected in the Tampa legal community.

 

Does the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring have excellent client reviews?

If the Tampa criminal lawyer you are considering hiring has been practicing law for several years, he or she likely has client reviews on Google as well as the AVVO Attorney Rating website. These reviews may be helpful to you as you chose the Tampa criminal defense attorney for your case.

 

Does the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring have an excellent law school academic record?

Law school is difficult. There is a lot of reading, writing, and study.  In order to excel in law school and graduate at the top of a law school class, a law student must be dedicated, hard-working, talented, and detail oriented.  These are characteristics that all good criminal defense attorneys must possess.  Ask the Tampa criminal defense attorney that you are considering hiring about their academic record in law school.  If their academic record was excellent, that attorney can utilize the skills that put them at the top of their law school class to provide you with the best possible legal representation.

 

Has the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring written any legal articles in a magazine or academic publication?

When lawyers become experienced in specific areas of law, they sometimes write legal articles for magazines or academic publications. These articles might be written for other lawyers, or they might be written for college or law students.  If the Tampa criminal defense attorney that you are considering hiring has authored legal articles, it’s an indication that they are an authority in the area of law about which they have written.

 

Has the Tampa criminal defense lawyer that you are considering hiring taught law at a college or law school?

When lawyers become experienced in specific areas of law, they sometimes teach law at a college or law school. If the Tampa criminal defense attorney that you are considering hiring has taught law, it’s an indication that they are an authority in the area of law about which have taught.

 

At The Hardy Law Firm, What Are The Stages Of The Criminal Defense Process?

 

Whether or not your case is in the Florida state courts or the Tampa federal court, the stages of the criminal defense process are very similar.

 

The Investigation Stage:  During the investigation stage, Attorney Hardy will meet with his client.  Attorney Hardy will listen carefully to the client’s account of the facts of the case.  The information that clients provide sometimes ends up being extremely useful in the defense of the case.  Also, Attorney Hardy will get copies of the police reports, videos, audio recordings, and photos in the possession of the police and prosecutor.  Further, Attorney Hardy may hire an investigator to obtain evidence and interview potential witnesses.   Attorney Hardy’s investigators include retired Tampa Police Detectives as well as retired federal law enforcement agents.   In cases brought in the Florida courts, Attorney Hardy may conduct depositions of the police and other witnesses.  In some cases, Attorney Hardy and the client may choose to hire expert witnesses.  At the Hardy Law Firm, P.A., the investigation is extremely thorough and no stone is left unturned.

 

The Counseling Stage:  A Hillsborough County criminal defense attorney is also known as a counselor at law.  On each and every case he handles, Attorney Hardy provides counsel to his clients.  That means Attorney Hardy meets with the client, educates the client on the relevant criminal law, reviews the facts of the case with the client, and then gives his opinion on what course he thinks the client should take.  In the end, it is the client that decides whether or not to plead guilty, whether or not to proceed to trial, whether or not to testify during a trial, and whether or not to appeal at the end of the case.  However, the client makes these decisions with Attorney Hardy’s guidance.

 

The Litigation Stage:  To litigate means to fight it out in court.  If a client makes the decision to litigate, Attorney Hardy may then file one or more pretrial motions.   The purposes of these motions vary.  Sometimes, Attorney Hardy files a pretrial motion to exclude evidence because he believes that the police engaged in unconstitutional conduct to obtain that evidence.  In some assault and battery cases, attorney Hardy may file a pretrial motion called a Stand Your Ground Motion, which is a motion to dismiss the case.   Still other times, Attorney Hardy may file Motion in Limine, which is designed to limit the evidence that the prosecutor may present to a jury.   If the case proceeds to a jury trial, Attorney Hardy will work with the judge and prosecutor to select the members of the jury.  Then, Attorney Hardy will cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses and may present evidence and witnesses.

 

The Negotiation Stage:  There are times when a client may want Attorney Hardy to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the client the best deal possible.  In federal criminal cases, clients may decide to enter a written federal plea agreement with the government.  Sometimes prosecutors agree to drop certain charges in exchange for a guilty plea on another charge.

 

The Mitigation Stage:  If a client decides to plead guilty to a charge, then Attorney’s Hardy may present to the prosecutor and the judge factors about the client that can serve to mitigate, or lessen the consequences of a guilty plea.  In Tampa federal criminal cases, Attorney Hardy will present any mitigating factors at a court proceeding known as a federal sentencing hearing.

 

How Does Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer David Hardy Protect His Clients’ Fourth Amendment Rights?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.  The Florida Constitution also has a section that protects Floridians from unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

State and federal law enforcement officers are not allowed to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of people that are suspected of having committed a crime.   However, there are some officers who, inadvertently or on purpose, fail to respect the constitutional rules that protect us all from governmental excesses.  An experienced Tampa criminal lawyer like Attorney David Hardy can safeguard your Fourth Amendment rights.

 

For example, let’s say that a Tampa Police Officer stops a car for driving 45 MPH in what the officer thinks is a 35 MPH zone.  After the stop, the officer says he notices the smell of cannabis coming from the car.  The officer then searches the car, finds a bag of cannabis under the seat, and arrests the driver.  Further, let’s say that a Tampa criminal lawyer investigates the case and discovers that the actual speed limit in the area of the stop was 45 MPH (Attorney Hardy has seen this happen in the Hillsborough County courts).  Because the officer had no legal reason to stop the car, his stop of the car amounted to unconstitutional police conduct.  Therefore, a Tampa criminal lawyer could file a motion to suppress in the Hillsborough County courts, and ask the judge to prohibit the prosecutor from introducing any evidence concerning the discovery of the cannabis in the car.  If the judge were to agree that the vehicle stop violated either the United States Constitution or the Florida Constitution, the case could get dismissed.

 

How Does Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer David Hardy Protect His Clients’ Fifth Amendment Rights?

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides a number of important constitutional protections.  For example, the Fifth Amendment states that a person can’t be forced to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case.  The Fifth Amendment also states that a person can’t be put in double jeopardy.  The Florida Constitution’s Declaration of Rights also protects persons against compelled self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

 

State and federal law enforcement officers are not allowed to violate the Fifth Amendment rights of people that are suspected of having committed a crime.  An experienced Tampa criminal lawyer like Attorney David Hardy can safeguard your Fifth Amendment rights.

 

For example, if you were in police custody and you made a statement in response to a police officer’s questions, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer can review the facts of the case to determine whether or not your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination has been violated.  To learn more about the Fifth Amendment protection against compelled self-incrimination, as well as the United States Supreme Court Case of Miranda v. Arizona.  Also, when police officers interview a suspect, they are not allowed to make threats or promises of leniency in order to get the suspect to make a statement.  If the police do make threats or promises and those threats or promises motivate a person to make a statement, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence and ask the judge to exclude from evidence whatever admissions the person made.  If you have made a statement to the police regarding a criminal investigation, you should consult with an experienced Tampa criminal lawyer immediately.

 

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution also protect people accused of a crime from double jeopardy.  According to the Fifth Amendment, no person shall “be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” According to the Florida Constitution, “no person shall…be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.”  A Hillsborough County criminal defense attorney can use the double jeopardy clause to prevent a prosecutor from going to trial on a charge, losing the case, and then re-charging a lesser-included offense of the first charge.   A lesser-included offense is an offense that has all the elements of a greater offense included within it.  For example, let’s say that a defendant goes to trial on a charge of aggravated battery, but is acquitted by the jury.  Then a month later, based on the same events as the first case, the prosecutor decides to charge the defendant with felony battery.  Because felony battery is a lesser-included offense of aggravated battery, an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney will recognize this as a violation of the double jeopardy clause, and file a motion for the judge to dismiss the case.

 

How Does Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney David Hardy Protect His Clients’ Sixth Amendment Rights?

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides a number of important constitutional protections.  The Florida Constitution also has protections similar to the Sixth Amendment.  State and federal law enforcement officers are not allowed to violate the Sixth Amendment rights of people that are suspected of having committed a crime. An experienced Tampa criminal lawyer like Attorney David Hardy can safeguard your Sixth Amendment rights.

 

First, according to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution, people accused of a crime have a right to a speedy trial.  That means that the police and prosecutors must be diligent about investigating and prosecuting cases in a reasonably timely manner.  However, experienced Tampa criminal lawyers know that sometimes cases are left pending for years when the police should have been investigating.  In cases like these, a Tampa criminal defense attorney can investigate whether or not law enforcement’s actions have violated either the speedy trial guarantee of the United States Constitution or the speedy trial guarantee of the Florida Constitution.

 

Second, according to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Rights in the Florida Constitution, people accused of a crime have a right to confront the witnesses against them.   Therefore, in the Hillsborough County Florida criminal courts, a Tampa criminal defense attorney has the absolute right to question any and all of the prosecution’s witnesses at a trial. What that means is that your Tampa criminal defense attorney can cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses about their biases, motives, perceptions, inconsistent statements, and in some cases their criminal history.  There is an old legal saying that “cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.”  That’s because when people testify untruthfully at trial, an experienced and skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney can cross-examine them and show the jury that they are lying.

 

Third, according to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Rights in the Florida Constitution, people accused of a crime have the right to make witnesses appear in court and testify on their behalf.   So, let’s say that there is a witness that can provide favorable testimony for you at your trial.  However, the witness does not want to show up at the Hillsborough County Courthouse because they don’t want to miss work.  A Tampa Florida criminal defense attorney can subpoena the witness, which will obligate the witness to appear at the Hillsborough County courthouse.   If the witness fails to appear, a judge can order that he or she be arrested and brought to court to testify.  This is a constitutional right that we all enjoy, and it allows an experienced Tampa criminal lawyer to ensure that favorable witnesses appear in court to testify on your behalf.

 

Fourth, according to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution as well the Florida Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, people accused of crimes have the right to an impartial jury.  An impartial jury is a jury that can be fair to both sides in a trial.  In order to safeguard this important constitutional guarantee in Hillsborough County Florida, Tampa criminal defense attorneys utilize the voir dire process.   Voir dire is a French term that means, “to speak the truth.”  The idea is that the potential jurors need to “speak the truth” when questioned about their life experience, so that the judge, prosecutor, and criminal defense attorney can select a fair and impartial jury.  For example, let’s say that a defendant is accused of DUI, and one of the potential jurors was a former Tampa, Florida DUI investigator who is friendly with all the current Tampa DUI investigators.  If you were the defendant, would you really want that person to help decide your case?  An experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney works to select members of the jury that are not prejudiced against a defendant.

 

Do You Need A Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you live in or around Hillsborough County, Florida, you may have had some experience with the Hillsborough County Court system.   The Hillsborough County state courts handle matters that frequently touch the lives of Floridians, like traffic tickets, civil lawsuits, family law, domestic violence cases, and DUI cases.

 

However, there is a second courthouse in Tampa in which federal criminal cases are handled.  Federal criminal cases deal with violations of the laws of the United States.  Types of federal criminal cases include bank fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy, international extradition, federal drug offenses immigration offenses, aggravated identity theft, the misbranding of drugs, firearms offenses, federal bond hearings, and federal criminal appeals.

 

Federal criminal cases are very different from Florida criminal casesFor example, federal criminal investigations, federal grand juries, federal bond hearings, federal plea agreements, federal criminal sentencing, and federal criminal appeals are all very different that those same processes in Florida state courts.

 

Also, the prosecutors that handle state criminal cases are separate from the prosecutors that handle federal criminal cases.  The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office prosecutes criminal cases in the Tampa state court, while the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida prosecutes federal criminal cases in the Tampa federal court.

 

There are a variety of ways that a person may discover that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida is investigating them.  For example:

  • A Tampa federal agent (an agent from the FBI, DEA, IRS, HSI, Secret Service or HHS) may contact you and tell you that you are the target or subject of a federal criminal investigation.
  • Tampa Federal agents may have gotten a search warrant and searched your home or business.
  • A Tampa federal prosecutor may have sent you a target letter informing you that you are the target or subject of a federal criminal investigation?
  • You may have been arrested and taken to federal court in Tampa.

 

If any of these things has happened to you or a loved one, take the time to review the Hardy Law Firm video called Federal Criminal Cases – 4 Things You Need to Know.