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Criminal Defense Cases

Criminal Defense Cases

DUI Defense

The First 10 Days after Your DUI Arrest

To understand the “10 Day Rule” that goes into effect once you’ve been cited for DUI, you need to realize that your DUI is not one case, but two. First, there is the criminal case, for which you will need to enter a plea in court. But in addition, you will have an administrative case with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you blow .08 or higher, or if you refuse the breathalyzer, your license will be suspended by the DMV. It may surprise you to learn that it is possible to have your criminal DUI charges dropped, but still have your license under administrative suspension, since the two cases are technically unrelated.

DMV Hearings

Although you are not necessarily expected to have a lawyer with you to the administrative hearing, having an articulate advocate to present your case can give you an edge. Winning on your own suspension review hearing is rare.While it is extremely difficult to win an administrative hearing in any case, having your lawyer present can give him a heads-up as to the way the police handled the arrest and BAC test, and he will be able to use this information to plan the best defense strategy for your criminal case.

Hardship/Business Purposes/Employment Purposes License

Your lawyer will obtain for you the 42 day Business Purposes Only (Class C) driving permit pending the outcome of the hearing. This will allow you to drive to and from work while you and your lawyer are in the process of fighting your suspension. If you win at the review hearing, you’ll get your regular license back and your driving record will be cleared. If not, you will need to serve the “hard suspension” period which is the minimum amount of time that you’ll need to avoid driving altogether, until you are allowed to apply for a hardship license.

Blood Alcohol Content

Your BAC is the concentration of alcohol in your blood. In Florida, when you place your signature on your driver's license, it is implied that in doing so you are accepting the privilege to hold a license, and as a condition of that privilege, you are consenting to be tested for blood alcohol content (BAC) if an officer has reason to suspect that you are intoxicated.

Ignition Interlock Device

If you have been approved for a restricted hardship license after a DUI arrest or conviction, you will likely be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.In order to start the car, you will need to blow into the device, and if the blood alcohol content reading is higher than .025, the car won’t start.Clearly, having to use an ignition interlock device is an expensive proposition, and although it beats not being able to drive at all, it is something best avoided. With an aggressive attorney fighting to spare you a DUI conviction, you have a better chance of resuming your driving privilege unhindered by this expensive device and the monitoring associated with it.

DUI refusal Cases

If you don’t blow into the breathalyzer, and if you don’t submit to invasive testing to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood or urine, there is no hard evidence that you were drunk. The trade-off for refusing to incriminate yourself by refusing to be tested is that under Florida’s Implied Consent law, you will lose your driving privilege. Furthermore, your refusal can be used as evidence at trial of your knowledge of your guilt.The law is complex and can be confusing. You need knowledgeable, aggressive, and committed legal representation for any DUI arrest. If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, call attorney Stephen Maltezos immediately, regardless of the hour of day or night.

Drug DUI

But it is just as illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, whether legal or not. The problem (for the prosecutor) is that there are no accurate tests to prove impairment by drugs and no standards have been established to determine just how much of a particular drug you need to have taken to actually be impaired by it. you should always have a lawyer who regularly handles DUI cases. Call St. Petersburg DUI attorney Stephen Maltezos, who has achieved positive results for his drug-related DUI clients. As a former DUI prosecutor, Steve knows how to protect your rights and provide you with a powerful and aggressive defense, and he is committed to achieving the best results for every client he represents.

DUI Accidents

In Florida, penalties for DUI are harsher if you were involved in an accident. The severity of the potential penalties will depend on the damage that was done: property damage or non-serious personal injury, serious personal injury, or death. In addition to criminal charges, you will likely be the subject of a civil law suit for serious personal injury or wrongful death. Attorney Stephen Maltezos will step in to defend your rights and will conduct his own investigation to discover weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, working to achieve the best outcome for you.

DUI & Additional Charges

Unless you were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, or a police officer was exceeding his authority and pulled you over randomly (which happens more often that it should), chances are you may have been doing something that drew the officer’s attention to you. You may have been speeding, driving in the wrong lane, weaving and driving aggressively, running a stop light, or otherwise driving recklessly. Charges for other traffic violations are often piled on top of a DUI charge, adding fines and points on your driving record.

DUI Penalties

DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, is a crime in Florida—a serious one, with serious penalties.

If it’s your first offense, you’re potentially facing:

  • License suspension of at least 180 days:
  • A fine of between $500 -$2000
  • Up to 50 hours of community service
  • Six to nine months in jail with a BAC of .15 or a minor in the vehicle or if a minor was in the vehicle up to 9 months
  • As much as a year of probation
  • 12 hours of DUI School—at your expense: $245 for a first timer
  • An ignition interlock device installed in your car—also at your expense: $170 installation and 450 for six months with a BAC of 0.15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense
  • If you are granted a hardship/ business purposed restricted license with special services: you will pay an enrollment fee of approximately $250 and $100 per month thereafter, until you have your regular license reinstated.
  • 10 days of impound fees @ $10 per day

If it’s your second offense, you’re potentially looking at:

  • Nine months to a year in jail
  • $1000 to $4000 in fines or $2,000 to $4,000 with BAC of .15 or a minor in the car
  • License suspension from 180 days to 12 months, if it has been more than 5 years since your last DUI conviction.
  • If within 5 years from prior conviction will result in at least a 5 year revocation. You may apply for a hardship license only after one year from effective date of revocation.
  • Ignition Interlock Device, if you are given a hardship/businesses purpose license after a year for a year, or two years with BAC of 15 or above or a if minor was in the car, at $100-$250 installation plus the monthly user fee for the duration (Click here to learn more about ignition interlock devices)
  • FR-44 insurance required at increased rate
  • Level 2 DUI School, at your expense: $421.50
  • 30 days of impound @ $10 per day

Penalties for a third DUI offense include:

  • Mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail up to a year
  • $2000 to $5000 in fines
  • Up to a five year license revocation
  • If within 10 years of second conviction, a 10-year revocation. You must serve 2 years of revocation before you can apply for a hardship
  • Level 2 DUI School at your expense: $421.50
  • Ignition interlock device at your expense if you get a restricted hardship/business purposes license
  • FR-44 insurance required for three years at increased rate
  • 90 days impound @ $10 per day

Penalties for DUI under the Legal Drinking Age

If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you are facing penalties for DUI under Florida’s “zero tolerance” policy if you show even a .02 blood alcohol content. For a first offense:

  • Six month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Fines from $1000-$2000
  • If your BAC was .05 or higher, a substance abuse evaluation and class
  • If your BAC was .08 or above, jail time is a possibility, at the judge’s discretion

For a second offense,

  • One year suspension of your license
  • 10 days to a year in jail
  • Fines from $1000 to $4000

In addition, your insurance company is likely to either cancel your coverage or jack up the rate. Before you are allowed to reinstate your license, you’ll need to first prove to the DMV that you have arranged for insurance coverage by obtaining an SR-22 form from your insurer.

Out of State DUI

According to the terms of the compacts, the DUI penalties in your home state will apply to your arrest in Florida. And if Florida suspends you license for DUI, your home state will usually do so as well. Furthermore, any prior DUIs in your home state can be used to give you enhanced penalties in Florida.

Defending a DUI Case

Altogether too many people believe that there is no hope of avoiding a DUI if the police officer says that they failed the breathalyzer. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you have a lawyer with a detailed knowledge of Florida’s laws, combined with a commitment to each client and the ability to analyze each case and strategize your defense, there is a very good chance that you may be able to avoid the disruption to your life that comes with having a DUI on your record.

Criminal Defense

Grand Theft

If you have been accused of Grand Theft, you are facing the possibility of spending time in prison and spending the remainder of your life with the stigma of being a convicted felon. It is important to understand, however, that being accused of theft and being convicted of it are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, many people who are facing a theft charge simply give up and fail to fight the charge. This is an enormous mistake that will cause you and your family a world of suffering. A conviction is far from being a “done deal.” If you care enough about your future to fight for it, you should have a committed, aggressive, and experienced criminal lawyer working for you.


If you have been arrested and are facing charges for burglary, the stakes are extremely high, and you are undoubtedly feeling an array of unpleasant emotions, including stress, uncertainty, fear, dread, and hopelessness. You may not only be concerned with your own future, but that of your family as well.But however bad it seems, your situation is not hopeless. With an excellent criminal defense lawyer representing you, you may be able to beat the charges and avoid the dire consequences associated with a felony conviction. Choose an attorney who is not only aggressive and knowledgeable, but who is genuinely concerned with you as an individual and who truly cares that you will not have to live with the stranglehold of a felony conviction on your record. In Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, you will find that type of committed, focused, and passionate representation in criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos.

Petit Theft

Theft of another person’s property is a serious crime. A conviction of any theft crime can wreak havoc with your reputation. Stealing is generally considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” even if the amount taken is small enough to be charged as petit theft. “Petit” means “small,” but the consequences to your life if you are convicted of this crime are anything but. To avoid a lifetime of suffering the consequences of any theft conviction, you should get yourself a good criminal defense attorney immediately upon being accused or arrested.


Battery is a crime that is often paired with assault. It is however, a separate and distinct crime, and a very serious one in Florida. Battery charges range from simple battery, a misdemeanor, to felony battery and aggravated battery, which can expose you to long prison terms and high fines. Being arrested and charged with battery can be a frightening and stressful experience because of the harsh consequences that come with a conviction.


The crime of “assault” is often confused with a different but often related crime—battery. But in Florida law, assault is a separate and distinct crime.Assault does not require any physical contact between perpetrator and victim. Assault is simply an act or behavior that causes another person to feel threatened or intimidated and in fear of becoming the victim of an imminent act of violence. So if you threaten to beat someone up or to kick the sh** out of them and appear to be capable and willing to do so, you could be charged with assault, even though you never followed through on the threat.

In the West Central region of Florida, you can obtain the quality representation that may spare you the worst of the consequences of a battery conviction by calling the law firm of Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve is an aggressive and deeply committed criminal defense lawyer who cares deeply about what happens to you. With offices in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Steve is available to speak with you any hour of the day or night. If you’ve been arrested, call him immediately and do not try to explain yourself, tell your side of the story, or answer any questions posed by police until Steve is present with you to protect your constitutional rights, your best interests, your freedom, and your future.

Aggravated Battery

If you have reason to believe that someone is planning to accuse you of Aggravated Battery, or if you have been questioned or arrested, you need to call an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The stakes are extremely high when you’ve been accused of a violent crime, and if you’re convicted, the consequences will follow you for the rest of your life, far beyond any prison sentence you may receive. A conviction for Aggravated Battery can never be sealed or expunged. Most employers will not hire a convicted felon, especially someone who has been convicted of a violent crime like Aggravated Battery. Nor do landlords want to rent to those with felony convictions. Not only that, a felony conviction will strip you of your right to participate in government and may interfere with your attempts to further your education. And of course the social consequences and damage to your reputation will also be serious obstacles to a normal life, when it is known that you have been convicted of a violent felony.

In the Tampa-St. Pete area, a good choice for aggressive and experienced legal representation when you’re facing battery charges is criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve has offices conveniently located in both St. Petersburg and Tampa, and he will also come to you wherever you are, any hour of the day or night.

Domestic Violence

In Florida law, the term “domestic violence” does not refer to a specific act; it is, rather, a term that describes the context in which a violent act occurs that enables the prosecution to pursue enhanced penalties. A crime such as assault, aggravated assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, wrongful imprisonment, stalking or other act that results in injury, if it occurs in a domestic relationship, is viewed in the eyes of the law as being more serious than if it had occurred outside of a family or other domestic situation, and the potential penalties reflect that view.

Steve understands the emotional elements that can complicate domestic matters and obscure the truth. He is well aware of the potential for false allegations of domestic violence, which are sometimes the result of disagreements on parenting issues, child custody disputes, infidelity, divorce proceedings, hurt feelings, spite, retaliation, alcohol or drug abuse, or the accuser’s mental health problems.

Aggravated Assault

In Florida, the crime of assault occurs when someone threatens to do bodily harm to another. It does not require going through with the threat or even making the slightest physical contact, as long as the person making the threat appears capable of carrying it out and the person on the receiving end of the threat has a well founded fear of imminent harm.

If you are anywhere in the West Central Florida area and have been accused of Aggravated Assault, you can get the high quality legal help by calling criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve takes every case he accepts very personally—every bit as personally as if you were a member of his own family. He is smart, aggressive, and creative in analyzing the circumstances of your arrest and finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that he can use to your benefit. 


Florida’s trespass laws can be confusing. If you’ve been accused of criminal trespass, chances are that you have questions about how the accusation came about, especially if you had no intention of committing a crime and believed that you were on the property legally. You may be surprised that you were even arrested, and may wonder if it was valid. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to be wrongly arrested for trespass, so you will need to discuss the circumstances of your arrest in detail with your attorney, as ambiguities about permission and notice occur frequently.

Violation of Probation

If you’re serving probation and your probation officer claims that you’ve violated one or more of its terms, you could be in serious trouble and even on your way to jail. You need experienced legal assistance to remain free and avoid the consequences of being convicted on a violation.

If you have been accused of violating your probation in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, Largo, or anywhere in Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties and the West Central Florida area, you absolutely want to stay out of jail. You need a smart, aggressive, and hardworking lawyer who cares about you and the effect a violation will have on your life. For the personalized attention that will give you the best shot at keeping your freedom, call attorney Stephen Maltezos immediately.

Driving While License Suspended or Revoked

Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked can be devastating to your life. Getting caught driving after your license has been taken from you is even worse. Realistically, a large proportion of people who have lost their driving privileges-about two of every three according to some estimates-continue to drive anyway, because they can’t earn a living and take care of their responsibilities without having transportation.So if you’ve been pulled over and charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license in Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater, Largo, or anywhere in Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties, pick up the phone now, regardless of the hour, and Steve Maltezos will be there to protect your rights and will work to achieve an outcome that will allow you to move on with your life, without unnecessary obstacles to your success and well-being. Your first consultation is entirely free of charge.


If you have been accused of faking or altering a document or a signature, you could be facing forgery charges in Florida. Forgery is a Third Degree Felony. To be convicted, however, the prosecution must not only prove that you altered or faked the document in some way, but also that you did it with the intent to defraud someone, or to harm that person in some way.

Because of the seriousness of these charges and their potential negative impact on your life, it is absolutely essential to obtain quality legal counsel. In the Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and all of West Central Florida, contact criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos. 

Drug Crimes

Possession of any other illegal drug, besides marijuana, in small quantities for personal use, is a third degree felony that could send you to prison for up to five years and cost you up to a $5000 fine. When you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Florida, your entire future is in peril. But with a good Florida drug defense lawyer, you may be able to salvage it. Attorney Stephen Maltezos, with law offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg, is an aggressive advocate for the accused in the Tampa Bay area and West Central Florida. He is a fighter who will put up a rigorous defense, battling with every legal weapon available for your future and your freedom. He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and if you’re in custody, he will come to where you’re being held, regardless of the hour.

Firearm, Gun, Weapon charges

If you have been charged with a weapons offense involving a firearm in Florida, you have much to fear from the state’s criminal justice system. The State Attorney’s Office in Florida has a specialized gun unit of prosecutors who are specifically trained to focus on obtaining convictions in gun crime cases. You will need to obtain skilled legal representation of your own from an experienced criminal defense attorney to give you a fair shake when facing these serious charges and aggressive prosecutors.

Scheme to Defraud

White collar crimes, especially, have received a great deal of media attention in recent years, including various types of fraud, such as Ponzi schemes, corporate accounting fraud, investment fraud, and many others. Although they are non-violent crimes, fraud schemes have the potential to destroy lives and are taken very seriously by Florida’s criminal justice system as well as by the federal Department of Justice.

Crimes involving fraud are often extremely complex by their very nature and made even more so by the use of modern technology and communications. If you have been accused of being involved in a fraud scheme, you will need a highly sophisticated criminal defense attorney with experience in these complicated matters, along with the resources and connections to bring on board top forensic accountants and others, such as computer and electronics experts, to assist with your defense.

Arrest Warrant

Life can be extremely stressful and insecure if a judge has issued a warrant against you. It’s like having the mythological Sword of Damocles hanging over your head threatening to fall, wherever you go and whatever you do. A bench warrant or arrest warrant can be executed at any time. You could be picked up in your home, on the job, at school, at church, or during a routine traffic stop. You may not even be aware that a judge has issued a warrant for your arrest; but if you do know about it, you should contact a lawyer about how to handle the situation, before an embarrassing arrest occurs.

Property Crimes

If you or a member of your family has been charged with a property crime, the severity of the charge and potential penalties will depend on the value of the stolen, destroyed, or damaged property. Charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, with penalties reflecting the level of the crime.If you are facing the dire consequences that may come with a Florida property crime conviction, don’t delay in calling Stephen Maltezos for the advocacy that can save the quality of your life moving forward.

Bond Reductions

If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense in Florida, your first thought is usually to wonder how you’ll get out of jail. In most cases, before you can be released, the court will require you to post a bond for bail. This is an amount of money you put up to guarantee that you will show up for all of your required court appearances. When you just have to get out of jail and need a bond that you can handle, call the law office of Tampa Bay attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve is a fighter who will put himself out to get you out of jail on a bond that is not beyond your means. Don’t wait-call now. Can you really tolerate another day (or hours) in jail?


States around the nation are legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal use and recreational use as well. Unfortunately, Florida is not among them.Don’t take a chance on trying to fight your charges on your own or with an overworked Public Defender. Call the law office of marijuana defense attorney Stephen Maltezos before you talk to the police or answer any of their questions. Steve is on call 24 hours a day, 2 days a week and will come to meet you where you are being held.

Juvenile Defense

If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, you may be distressed, panic-stricken, and fearful for his or her future—and rightfully so. The prospect of the young life of the child you love being put on hold for the duration of a long prison sentence and being saddled with the stigma of a criminal conviction is any parent’s worst nightmare.

You can call juvenile defense attorney Stephen Maltezos at any hour of the day or night. The initial consultation is free, and he will work with you to establish a payment plan that your family can afford.

Seal and Expunge Criminal Record

In Florida and most other states, if you are arrested and charged with a crime, that arrest becomes a matter of public record-even if the charges are dropped or dismissed and you were never convicted. So even though you’ve never been convicted of a crime, if you’ve been arrested and fingerprinted, you have a “criminal record.” Life with a criminal record is often difficult, even if you’ve never been convicted, leaving you with explaining to do whenever a prospective employer or other party pulls a background check on you. If you want to have your record sealed or expunged, call criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos for the help you need. 

Driving/Traffic Offenses

Sooner or later it happens to nearly everyone-a traffic ticket. A ticket means high fines and points on your license, which typically results in higher insurance rates. Simply paying your ticket is, in essence, admitting your guilt. Many people capitulate easily, without a fight; but you don’t have to take that route. It may be more expensive than you realize. Get yourself a good Florida traffic ticket lawyer and contest the ticket.

Violent Crimes

In our society, in Florida as elsewhere, violence against another person is looked upon as a very serious crime. If you’ve been charged and convicted of a violent crime, you will carry the stigma and associated negative consequences with you for the remainder of your life. Employers consider an employee who is prone to violence as a liability, and landlords often refuse to rent to anyone with a violent past. If you’ve been arrested or even questioned as a suspect in a violent crime in Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties or elsewhere in Central Florida, act immediately. Call criminal defense attorney Stephen Maltezos and exercise your constitutional right to remain silent until he is by your side. 

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