Best Tampa FL Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Why These Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers?

We help connect consumers with top-rated criminal defense attorneys in Tampa. To determine which are the best of the best, we scored each criminal defense attorney or law firm across a half-dozen metrics covering three categories. Each firm or attorney’s results were analyzed to bring you a handpicked list of the very best criminal defense lawyers in Tampa.

  • Attorneys reviewed: 25
  • Top picks: 5

If you or a loved one have been arrested, do not delay seeking the assistance of an attorney. The sooner an attorney can get involved in your case, the better your chances of having a strong defense.

The attorney you hire may start right away, studying the authorities’ against you, doing legal research, and preparing legal motions. That’s why the sooner they begin, the better, as they work to chip away at the prosecution’s case against you.

Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Tampa handle everything from DUIs to simple misdemeanors to white-collar crimes to violent felonies. Get the best legal defense in Tampa by choosing from this list of best criminal defense attorneys.

Read the profiles below and choose the attorney or law firm that best aligns with your needs.

Best Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers

Here are the best criminal defense law firms and attorneys in Tampa:

  1. Fernandez & Fernandez
  2. Christopher Hersem
  3. David Hardy
  4. Escobar & Associates
  5. O’Brien Hatfield Reese

Best Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers for 2021

If you or a loved one are looking for an outstanding criminal defense attorney in Tampa, these lawyers are the best of the best.

Fernandez & Fernandez

3002 W Kennedy Blvd.

Tampa, Florida 33609

Phone: (813) 229-5353

The two attorneys at Fernandez & Fernandez focus entirely on the practice of criminal defense. But for one partner, Martin Fernandez, his career began on the other side of the courtroom, as a state prosecutor. That experience gives him a unique insight into what it takes to successfully challenge a prosecutor’s case. Combined, the partners boast nearly four decades of experience.

Their practice areas range from violent crimes like assault, domestic violence, sex crimes, and homicide to property-related crimes like computer crimes and theft. They also handle criminal appeals, federal cases, and records expungements.

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Christopher Hersem

1550 W Cleveland St.

Tampa, FL 33606

Phone: (813) 251-7291

Attorney Christopher Hersem is a Clearwater native who received his undergraduate and legal degrees from Florida institutions. The early days of his career were spent in the public defender’s office, where he gained a keen insight to defending many types of cases.

His primary practice areas include defending individuals charged with crimes like DUI, marijuana possession, assault, and more, and he specializes in taking on cases involving traffic violations. Hersem has two offices, one in Tampa and the other in Clearwater

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David Hardy

1710 N. 19th Street, Suite 215

Tampa, Florida 33605

Phone: (813) 734-7190

Attorney David Hardy has been certified by the Florida State Bar Association as an expert in criminal trial law, which puts him in the top one percent of attorneys in the state with that designation. As a former assistant state attorney, Hardy is uniquely suited to understand what a prosecutor will throw at a defendant in hopes of winning their case.

His primary practice areas include DUI, violent crimes, property crimes, traffic violations, drug offenses, weapons charges, and more. He also assists clients in bond hearings as well as having their records sealed or expunged.

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Escobar & Associates

2917 W. Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 100

Tampa, FL 33609

Phone: (813) 877-6590

Escobar & Associates was founded in 1986, and since then, attorneys with the firm have focused entirely on providing aggressive defense for their clients. This firm of four attorneys boasts three former prosecutors and a former public defender, which gives them added experience on both sides of the criminal process.

Their primary practice areas include appeals and bonds, assault and homicide, weapons offenses, drug charges, DUI, white-collar offenses, sex crimes, theft, and more. The firm’s attorneys have been honored by Martindale-Hubbell, the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys, and TopLawyers.

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O’Brien Hatfield Reese

511 West Bay Street Suite 330

Tampa, FL 33606

Phone: (813) 345-4909

With five attorneys, O’Brien Hatfield Reese has one of the most experienced staffs of any firm on this list. Founding partner Mark O’Brien served as a prosecutor for several years, working on hundreds of cases during his tenure, including serious felonies.

The firm’s attorneys handle a range of criminal cases, including in state and federal court. Their primary practice areas include assault, gun charges, theft, DUI, battery, and misdemeanors. They can also assist Tampa area residents who wish to make whistleblower complaints against their employers.

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What Types of Crimes Are Most Common in Tampa?

Only about 8,000 crimes were reported in the city of Tampa in 2019, the most recent year for federal data on crime across the country. While more crimes took place in the broader Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Hillsborough County, and other areas, that means crime is rare in the city itself. And among the crimes reported in the city, the vast majority were property-related. In fact, 80 percent of all Tampa crime in 2019 was property crime, with 61 percent being larceny-theft.

On a population-adjusted basis, that means violent crimes occur in Tampa at a rate of 405 per 100,000 people, while property crime occurs at a rate of about 1,600 per 100,000. The city’s violent crime rate is a bit higher than the overall national rate of 367 per 100,000 people, but its property crime rate is much lower than the national rate of about 2,100 per 100,000.

Crimes in Tampa, by number and per 100,000 people

Crime Number Per 100,000 people
All violent crimes 1,622 405
Murder 31 8
Rape 120 30
Robbery 285 71
Aggravated assault 1,186 296
All property crimes 6,523 1,629
Burglary 1,022 255
Larceny-theft 4,978 1,243
Motor vehicle theft 523 131
Arson 38 9

Compared to other cities in Florida, Tampa’s crime rates tend to be in the middle, though it ranks second among the states 10 biggest cities for its population-adjusted arson rate. Tampa also ranks fourth in murder rates. Nationally, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area compares favorably to the 60 biggest U.S. metro areas, ranking outside the top half in every individual crime category. Its highest ranking is in its population-adjusted murder rate, which is 38th of 60.

Like other U.S. cities, the Tampa Bay area has seen crime fluctuate since the beginning of the pandemic. Hillsborough County, where Tampa is the county seat, saw a 12 percent decline in overall crime, but murders and aggravated assaults both rose in the county, though not all of those incidents took place in Tampa.

It’s important to note that police- and FBI-reported data does not cover closed cases or incidents for which a person was convicted.