Criminal Defense


An individual charged with a misdemeanor or felony needs a competent and effective attorney who is knowledgeable in the state and federal criminal laws. A criminal charge is a serious matter. It is important that you contact a Tampa criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights and fight the criminal charges brought against you in the Tampa courts. Attorney Dustin Hay has many years of experience successfully defending clients charged with committing crimes. We represent Bradenton, Brandon and Tampa clients facing any of the following criminal accusations:


Armed Robbery

Armed robbery involves committing theft by force with a firearm or another weapon, or threatening to use a firearm or weapon against the victim while committing the robbery, thus placing the victim in fear of immediate bodily harm.



When someone deliberately sets fire to a building, structure, vehicle, or property, it is considered the crime of arson. Due to the fact that a fire can quickly escalate out of control and cause great property damage and bodily injuries or death, it is considered a very serious crime and is punished as such. We have defended many arson cases in Tampa and Bradenton.


Assault & Battery

Assault and battery are two separate crimes, although they are often used together. Assault refers to making verbal threats to harm someone, coupled with the ability to carry out that threat. Battery on the other hand involves making actual physical contact which is perceived as offensive, rude, or harmful.



Burglary is the crime of entering into a building, a home or another structure with the goal of committing theft. Burglary often involves breaking into a residence to steal electronics, cash, and other valuables. Penalties for burglary vary depending upon a number of factors including if the person brought a weapon, if the dwelling was occupied, and if the suspect committed assault or battery against an occupant. Many burglary cases in Bradenton and Tampa have been successfully defended by our firm.



Carjacking is the crime of stealing a motor vehicle while armed and while the vehicle is still occupied by the driver or a passenger. If the vehicle occupant remains inside the vehicle during the carjacking, then kidnapping charges are tacked on as well.


Child Pornography

State and federal laws prohibit the viewing, production and distribution of child pornography, and any other activity that can tie someone to the crime. Due to the advances in computer technology, child pornography can be viewed by millions in a matter of minutes, and sometimes these illicit images can land on an innocent person's Bradenton or Tampa computer quite by accident.



Counterfeiting involves making a copy of something with the intention of defrauding others. While counterfeit is often associated with money, these days virtually anything can be counterfeited from designer jeans, to sunglasses and handbags.


Criminal Traffic Offenses

While the majority of traffic violations are minor infractions, more serious offenses such as hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident, DUI, and vehicular manslaughter are considered criminal offenses and may involve incarceration, fines, and a criminal conviction. We have defended our Bradenton and Tampa clients successfully in many cases getting charges dropped or reduced.


Deportation Defense

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there is a list of what are called "grounds" for deportation; this is a long list of reasons why an immigrant here in the United States may be deported, some of them include committing fraud, smuggling aliens, drug abuse, and committing a serious felony.


Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to crimes of assault, battery, and sexual abuse that go on within the home, between married couples, families and people that live together. Domestic violence may include physical abuse (e.g. child abuse or spousal abuse), verbal abuse (threats), sexual abuse (rape, child molestation), and emotional abuse.


Drug Crimes

The state of Florida is extremely harsh when it comes to drug crimes, particularly because of the state's geographical location which makes it a hot spot for smuggling and drug trafficking. Drug crimes include the possession, manufacture, sales, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, PCP, marijuana, GHB, ecstasy, and crack.


Drug Possession

It is illegal to possess controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, PCP, ecstasy, mushrooms, opium and others. It is also against the law to possess prescription medications without a valid prescription in your name. The penalties for unlawful drug possession vary depending upon the type of drug, the quantity and your criminal history.



A person can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of both alcohol and drugs; this includes lawfully prescribed and over-the-counter medications. The penalties for a first DUI without any aggravating circumstances include up to 6 months in jail, 6 to 12 months license suspension and fines.


Expungement and Sealing

Under certain circumstances, the record of someone's arrest or convictions can be expunged. This means that all "public records" of the person's arrest or conviction would be erased from public view. When someone's records are expunged, they can honestly say they have not been arrested or convicted of a crime when applying for a job.


Federal Charges

The majority of crimes are prosecuted on the state level, and in state court. However, certain crimes are a violation of federal law and are prosecuted in the federal courts; for example, mail fraud, kidnapping, drug trafficking, most white collar crimes, and certain internet or cyber-crimes are federal crimes and may involve the FBI or the CIA.


Felony Crimes

Felony offenses cover a broad range of serious crimes and range from felony DUI, to grand theft, to certain drug crimes, burglary, robbery, felony battery, and manslaughter and murder among others. A felony conviction can result in 12 months in jail, to life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.



Forgery involves altering an authentic document with the intent to deceive. Forgery can include signing someone else's signature, and it can also involve paintings, literary works, archeological relics, and other hand-crafted works by known artists. Forging someone's signature often occurs in conjunction with identity theft, which is one of the fastest growing crimes.



A person commits fraud when they deceive another in order to benefit financially or to cause harm to the individual. Often times people commit fraud without the intention of hurting anyone, but when they are caught in the act, they can face felony charges which can threaten their freedom and their family.


Grand Theft

Theft offenses are divided into two categories: petit theft and grand theft. If the goods stolen were valued at less than $400, then it is considered petit theft; however, if the goods stolen are valued above $400, it is considered grand theft.


Immigration Crimes

There are strict immigration laws in place that govern admissibility into the United States, as well as deportable offenses. If you are having an issue with citizenship or deportation, we urge you to contact an attorney at our firm, we are here to guide you every step of the way, and help you remain in the country where you belong.


Juvenile Defense

Juvenile crimes are crimes committed by minors under the age of eighteen. The majority of juvenile crimes are processed in juvenile court; however, more serious violent crimes can be prosecuted in the adult court system and the juvenile can face adult punishment.



Kidnapping involves taking someone against their will by force, and it often involves threats or a ransom. Kidnapping is a serious felony offense that can involve up to life in prison if convicted. Even if someone takes someone against their will as part of a prank or joke, the criminal justice system won't see it that way; therefore, it's essential to enlist the services of an aggressive and persuasive defense attorney.



Unlike murder which involves malice aforethought, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another human out of recklessness, and without lawful justification. A person can commit manslaughter when a physical altercation went too far and the suspect accidentally killed the other person.


Money Laundering

Money laundering is the act of concealing the source of money in order to make it appear as if it's legitimate. Often times money laundering is associated with organized crime, gambling, drug-related crimes, prostitution, and other illegal activities.



Murder is one of the most serious charges that anyone can face, especially considering the fact that Florida has the death penalty. Murder involves the intentional killing of another person with "malice aforethought," or otherwise premeditation.


Petit Theft

When someone steals goods that are valued less than $300, it is considered petit theft. For goods valued above $300, it is considered grand theft. If a person is charged with multiple petit theft crimes, they can face up to 5 years in prison and hefty monetary fines.



The crime of prostitution involves exchanging sexual intercourse or another sexual act for money. In many cases prostitution is offered over internet forums such as Craigslist, or at massage parlors or by escort services.


Rape/Statutory Rape/Date Rape

In Florida, there are many subtle nuances to a rape or sexual battery charge. While rape is often associated with nonconsensual sexual contact by force, statutory rape does not necessarily include a "lack of consent," for the act may be entirely consensual yet the person is underage.



Under Florida Code Section 812.13, robbery is defined as the use of force, threats, assault or violence to take money or other property from another person, with the intention of depriving that person of the property. Robbery with a firearm or other deadly weapon (armed robbery) is a first degree felony, punishable by life in prison. Simple robbery without a weapon can involve up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.


Search and Seizure

In the U.S., people are protected under the Constitution against illegal searches and seizures of their residence, their vehicle and their property. In the majority of cases, a suspect's home and vehicle and property cannot be searched without probable cause or without a valid warrant being issued by a judge.


Sex Crimes

Sex crimes cover a broad range of offenses, and while many of them involve nonconsensual sexual contact, in cases of statutory rape, or indecent exposure or prostitution, lack of consent is not a factor.


Traffic Tickets

Once a person accumulates too many points on their driving record, their driver's license can be suspended. If that person drives on a suspended license, they face incarceration and a criminal record. The law is even stricter when it comes to minors who accumulate numerous points on their record.


Weapons Charges

The manufacture, sales, and possession of firearms are heavily regulated in Florida and across the nation. There are a number of weapons offenses that anyone can be guilty of committing without even being aware of it. When a felony crime is committed while using a firearm, even if it wasn't discharged, merely having the weapon present can incur harsher penalties.


Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Even if you have the option of hiring a public defender, he or she is likely completely overwhelmed with a larger than life caseload in the Tampa coourt system. When you are facing criminal charges in the harsh Tampa Florida criminal justice system, it's important to have a well-qualified and seasoned attorney like Attorney Dustin Hay, who is entirely dedicated to reducing, if not eliminating your sentencing and penalties as much as possible.


Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney


The dismissal or reduction of criminal charges against our clients is the goal of all criminal defense attorneys. Dustin Hay aggressively defends clients and ensures that they receive the best possible outcome in the Hillsborough courts, considering their situation. It is important that you contact us today for a consultation with a qualified Tampa criminal defense attorney. Contact a Dustin Hay, a Tampa criminal lawyer for defense against criminal charges.


The Law Offices of Dustin H. Hay -  Florida Attorney at Law