Tampa Attorney on Battery with Domestic Violence Case

If you have been charged with domestic violence or domestic violence battery, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. You may need to take certain steps today to protect yourself from this serious accusation. Find out more below about domestic violence laws in Florida.

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Domestic violence offenses are treated very seriously in Hillsborough County. The arrest alone can have serious consequences. After an arrest you are not able to bond out of jail until after you see the judge at first appearance who will notify you that your relationship with the alleged victim is over. This usually means that you can not return to your home, if you share the home with the alleged victim.

A domestic violence arrest in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, may also mean you can have no visitation with your children because the visitation would require direct or indirect communication with the alleged victim if the alleged victim is the parent of the other child.

Even if the alleged victim wishes to have contact, you can not violate the court order without the threat of facing your bond being revoked, or additional charges. Contact an experienced Tampa domestic battery attorney to discuss your rights and the best ways to defend yourself against this serious charge of domestic violence.

Habitual Traffic Offender Revocation After DWLS Conviction in Hillsborough County

Find out how you might be eligible to fight to get your Florida driver's license BACK after a five year habitual traffic offender revocation! Florida Habitual Traffic Offender 5 Year Revocation

Disclaimer: The Florida Bar does not review or approve case results for any lawyer's websites. If you would like to see the results we have obtained in the past and statements regarding the quality our work, you must read the disclaimer and request the additional information by clicking on the "I agree" button:

  • Past successes do not guarantee future results.
  • The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the cases discussed in our recent case results.
  • Not all results are provided.
  • The results discussed are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases because each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.


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Many people in Florida suffer with a five year habitual traffic offender suspension not knowing that they can hire an attorney to file a post-conviction motion to attack one of the underlying offenses that caused the HTO status. If you have been declared a habitual traffic offender in Florida, contact the Sammis Law to discuss ways to remove the five (5) year HTO revocation. We represent clients in fighting to remove the HTO designation in Central Florida, including Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Polk County, Pinellas County, Lake County, Hernando County, Manatee County and Sarasota County.

Domestic Violence Injunction in Hillsborough County, Florida

If you have been served with a domestic violence injunction in Hillsborough County, Florida, or any of the surrounding counties in the Tampa Bay area, find out more about how criminal defense attorneys generally go about fighting these cases.

Disclaimer: The Florida Bar does not review or approve case results for any lawyer's websites. If you would like to see the results we have obtained in the past and statements regarding the quality our work, you must read the disclaimer and request the additional information by clicking on the "I agree" button:

  • Past successes do not guarantee future results.
  • The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the cases discussed in our recent case results.
  • Not all results are provided.
  • The results discussed are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases because each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.


I do not agree.


If you have questions about any Tampa Restraining Order, or Order for Protection from Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County, FL, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500 to speak directly with a domestic violence attorney.

WSJ Calls it the Customer "Shakedown" After A Shoplifting Arrest in Florida - 772.11 Civil Recovery Statute


Many large retail establishments in Florida attempt to recoup some of their losses from theft, fraud and shoplifting incidents under Florida Statutes Section 772.11, the civil remedies act also known as "civil recovery" under Florida law. The most common type of offense in Florida is the misdemeanor shoplifting accusation.

Florida's Civil Recovery Statute - Section 772.11


The retail establishments make an incredible amount of money sending out letters to alleged shoplifters threatening to sue them for civil damages unless they pay the requested amount, even when the retail establishment did not suffer any actual damages other than the costs of staffing loss prevention employees to apprehend the shoplifting suspect. The retail establishment sends out the letters threatening to bring a civil suit against the alleged shoplifter even through the retail establishment has no intention of ever carrying through with that threat to bring a civil lawsuit.

False Allegations of Shoplifting and the Impact of the Civil Demand Letter



Section 772.11 provides in relevant part as follows:

Any person who proves by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has been injured in any fashion by reason of any violation of the provisions of [the theft, shoplifting, and fraud statutes] has a cause of action for threefold the actual damages sustained and, in any such action, is entitled to minimum damages in the amount of $200, and reasonable attorney's fees and court costs in the trial and appellate courts. Before filing an action for damages under this section, the person claiming injury must make a written demand for $200 or the treble damage amount of the person liable for damages under this section. If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 30 days after receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability for the specific act of theft by the person making the written demand.... In no event shall punitive damages be awarded under this section. The defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and court costs in the trial and appellate courts upon a finding that the claimant raised a claim which was without substantial fact or legal support.... Nothing under this section shall be interpreted as limiting any right to recover attorney's fees or costs provided under other provisions of law.
Under Florida law damages in the context of civil theft normally correspond to the value of the property stolen by the defendant. Anthony Distributors, Inc. v. Miller Brewing Co., 941 F.Supp. 1567 (M.D. Fla. 1996). However, in the typical shoplifting case in which the individual is arrested at the scene, no damages occur because the merchandise is immediately returned to the store within minutes after the suspect is apprehended. If the merchandise is returned unharmed, what possible damages has the store actual incurred? None. However, that does not stop the retail establishment from threatening legal action unless the customer pays up.

The retail establishment could argue that they suffer the costs of paying for loss prevention employees to apprehend the shoplifting suspect. In criminal cases, the court can impose "cost of prosecution" which estimates the amount of time the officer spend investigating the case and then imposes that costs on the individual that enters a plea of guilty or no contest to resolve the criminal case. Although I have not seen any case law indicating that a retail establishment could use a similar "cost of prosecution" argument, that seems to be the only basis for requesting damages.

In those cases in which person accused of shoplifting caused actual damages to the merchandise then payment of the $200.00 civil damages may be appropriate. For instance, if the merchandise was stained, cut, torn, or otherwise damaged the retail establishment can not resell the merchandise and would suffer actual damages up to the full market value of the merchandise. If the individual does pay the $200.00 civil damages request, then the individual should retain proof that this amount was paid so that the court in the criminal case does not attempt to impose any additional restitution.

After an arrest for a shoplifting offense in Florida, the retail establishment will collect the customer's contact information. That information is then sent to a Florida law firm that acts much like a collection agency. The law firm sends out a letter to the customer telling them that the law firm represents the retail establishment concerning its claim against the customer in connection with an incident in the store that lead to the customer's arrest. The letter references Florida Statutes Section 772.11, a civil remedies act.

The letter then states that the customer "may settle this matter by making payment in the amount of $200 within thirty (30) days of the date of the letter." Many people who receive the letter assume this means that by paying the requested amount they may be able to avoid any criminal prosecution. Whether the customer pays the requested amount or throws the letter in the trash it may not make any difference in how the criminal case is handled. The criminal complaint has already been forwarded to the State Attorney's Office who will decide whether to formally file charges to pursue a criminal prosecution.

The Assistant State Attorney who is handling the case may have no way of knowing whether this money was paid to the Florida law firm or not. Furthermore, the retail establishment usually has no intention of dropping the charges. On the contrary, the retail establishment is always concerned about potentially being sued by the customer if the charges are dropped or if the customer is found not guilty at trial. The retail establishment has an interest in seeing the customer prosecuted so that a conviction is obtained, or at least the case is placed in a diversion program which would prevent the customer from bringing any kind of civil suit against the retail establishment.

If the customer does not respond to the first letter, then the law firm will send out a second more threatening letter. This letter is usually entitled "SECOND NOTICE." The letter will again reference Florida Statute Section 772.11, a civil remedies act. The second letter will threaten that the retail establishment "may now proceed with litigation against you."

The letter will usually stated that the customer "may stop a lawsuit from being filed and settle this matter by making payment to us in the amount of $475.00 within 10 days of this letter." The letter then threatens the customer by saying that should full payment not be paid, the retail establishment may proceed to file a lawsuit against the customer, in which the retail establishment may seek attorney's fees, court costs, and other legal expenses. The letter then threatens to have the customer "served by a process server with a summons requiring you or your attorney to appear in court to defend the action." The letter does not provide any indication of the "clear and convincing" evidence needed to establish the requested amount of damages.

For the clients that I represent charged with Petit Theft, Retail Theft, or Shoplifting in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County or Manatee County, these letters often cause a lot of stress and frustration. A recent article written by Ann Zimmerman from the Wall Street Journal call "Big Retail Chains Dun Mere Suspects in Theft- Demands for Money Can Leave Targets with Little Defense" examines the "civil demand" letter to determine whether these law firms that send out the letters ever actually carry through with a law suit.

In fact the article mentions the Florida law firm of Palmer Reifler & Associates, P.A., which handles the civil demand letters for most of the large retail establishments in Florida including Wal-Mart, Walgreens, JC Penneys, and Macy's. The article says that Palmer Reifler & Associates keeps between 13-30% of the money that it collects. Furthermore, the article says a partner at the law firm has said that the law firm sends out about 1.2 million civil recovery letters a year but follows up on actually filing a law suit in fewer than 10 of those cases a year.

It appears that the civil recovery letters are big business. According to sworn testimony given in a deposition, Lord & Taylor collected more than one million dollars in civil recovery from suspected shoplifters in a recent year, which was up from $850,000 the year before. And the retail store Lord & Taylor has never followed up the civil recovery letter by suing any suspected shoplifter.

If you have been arrested for shoplifting, petit theft, petty theft, or retail theft in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bartow, New Port Richey, Dade City or Plant City, Florida, hiring an experienced attorney to represent your interests is important. At the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., we have the experience necessary to protect your rights today, and help you avoid many of the pitfalls that can occur after a shoplifting arrest.

Shoplifting is a crime of dishonesty in Florida, and if you are convicted you will be required to report it on most job applications. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss you case with an attorney experienced in representing individuals charged with shoplifting and petit theft at the Sammis Law Firm today.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office to Receive $160,000 for Seized Assets under Forfeiture Laws

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

The United States Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division announced that it seized nearly $19 million dollars in cash, vehicles, and other assets during 2008. The United State's Attorney's Office intend to distribute from the forfeiture fund over $8 million to various law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle District of Florida. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office will receive $160,000. Read more - For Sheriff's Office, Crime Does Pay, by Molly Moorhead, Times staff writer, Sunday, December 28, 2008

The money comes from cash, houses, vehicles, and other assets seized under Federal criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. The forfeiture laws target money launderers, drug traffickers, marijuana grow houses and those involved in fraudulent activities.

In Pasco County, narcotics detectives targeted a number of houses where marijuana was being grown and distributed for seizure and forfeiture. Many of those marijuana grow house cases were turned over to the United States Attorney's Office for prosecution, although certain cases where prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office in Pasco County.

For prosecutions by the State of Florida, targeting Florida marijuana grow houses became more profitable in 2008 with the new legislation that lowered the threshold amount of marijuana plants required to prove "intent to sell or distribute cannabis" which is a second degree felony offense. The new 2008 Florida marijuana legislation also paved the way for more forfeitures of the houses and property by allowing the the owner of the cannabis grow house to be prosecuted for a third degree felony if it can be shown that the owner of the house knew it was being used to grow, cultivate, and distribute cannabis.

For more information on vehicle forfeitures, and asset forfeitures in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Polk County, visit our main website page which provides more detailed information on Florida Asset Seizure and Forfeiture.

Increase in Shoplifting Cases in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida

Have the number of shoplifting incidents really increased, or are retail establishment becoming more active in finding and pursuing shoplifting prosecutions during a recession?

Statistics published by the FBI and local law enforcement agencies show the number of arrests for shoplifting incidents had increased over the past two years. The City of Tampa Police Department reports that arrests for shoplifting in Tampa has increased approximately nine percent (9%) from 2006 to 2007, and another six percent (6%) from 2007 to 2008. Recession Feeds Bull Market For Shoplifting.

Before this downturn in the economy, other national statistics from 1996 to 2006 show the number of shoplifting cases remaining steady. Retail establishments report that the number of shoplifting or retail theft cases as a percentage of all retail sales has remained the same over the past ten years, although there has been a steady increase in organized retail theft, which includes shoplifting (estimated to be more than 32% of the total loss in 2006) and employee theft (estimated to be 47% of the total loss in 2006).

Shoplifting is a serious criminal charge with serious criminal consequences that can haunt an individual long after the case is closed. If you have been arrested for shoplifting, retail theft, or petit theft in the Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County or Pinellas County, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Shoplifting is considered a "crime of dishonesty" which can show up in even routine background checks when you apply for a job or are considered for a promotion. Hiring an attorney early in your case can increase your chances of successfully fighting the charge of shoplifting, retail theft, or petit theft in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bartow, New Port Richey or Dade City.

Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney - Homepage


Welcome to the Sammis Law Firm, P.A. of Tampa, FL. Our attorneys help individuals charged with criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area. We created this website so that we could discuss some of our recent case results. Click here to view the recent case results.


Call 813-250-0500 for a free confidential consultation if you would like to discuss your the particular circumstances of your case with a criminal defense attorneys at our firm.


Sammis Law Firm, P.A.
1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
813-250-0500

Our attorneys are available for a free consultation at any time. This means that if you call our office after normal business hours, or on a holiday or weekend, we have an assistant that will answer your call and ask you for your contact information. One of the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., will then call you back immediately to discuss your case with you during a free initial consultation.

After law enforcement begins a criminal investigation or makes an arrest, there may be important steps that you can take to protect yourself and preserve all of your legal rights. Contact an attorney as early in your case as possible.

We understand that your case can not wait. We can begin your defense today. Visit our main website for more information on your particular criminal charge in Florida to learn more about the elements of the criminal charge or possible defenses - Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney.


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