Criminal Law

Tampa Bay Attorneys Fighting for the Rights of People Facing Prosecution

Blake & Dorsten, P.A. serves people throughout Tampa Bay who have been charged with a wide variety of crimes. Whether it is a domestic dispute, a drug crime, or a firearms offense, criminal charges are serious matters that can come with significant consequences for the person charged and his or her family. Our Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyers are former state prosecutors who understand how law enforcement officers and prosecuting attorneys approach these cases. We work aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible, and we have a strong track record of success for the people whom we represent. The following is an overview of some of the case types that we handle, but it is not comprehensive, and we invite you to explore our site to more fully understand the scope of our practice.

Drug Crimes

The manufacturing, distribution, and possession of illegal drugs are serious offenses under both Florida and federal laws. Take marijuana, for example. Cannabis is legal for medical purposes in Florida, but anyone who uses or possesses the drug without a valid medical prescription is looking at steep criminal penalties. The possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor that comes with up to $1,000 in fines and the possibility of up to a year in jail. Get caught with more than 20 grams, and you are looking at a felony charge that carries up to $5,000 in fines, five years behind bars, and another five years of probation. You may also have your driver’s license suspended for one year.

Drug cases often come down to questions about how police allegedly found you with the drugs. Officers must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to stop you on the street or pull over your car. They need to have a separate reasonable suspicion that you are armed in order to pat you down or frisk you. The cops must have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is afoot – a higher standard than reasonable suspicion – to search your car or home. A criminal defense attorney at our Tampa Bay firm can carefully investigate your case to hold the police or prosecution accountable for cutting any corners and infringing your rights.

Gun Crimes

Firearms and other weapons offenses are subject to Florida’s strict 10/20/Life law, which increases penalties for crimes that involve the use of a gun. A person who brandishes a gun while committing a felony faces a minimum of 10 years behind bars. If you fire the gun, the punishment increases to a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. A person who shoots someone else while committing a felony is looking at 25 years to life in prison.

There are a number of possible defenses that a Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney may be able to raise on behalf of a person charged with a gun crime. Depending on the circumstances, they may include self-defense and “stand your ground” protections, which justify the use of force in certain situations.


Florida law makes it a crime to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Alcohol intoxication is often measured by testing a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). A person whose BAC is 0.08 percent or higher is generally considered intoxicated under state law. The punishment for DUI in Florida varies based on the circumstances, but it may include jail time, steep fines, and the loss of your driving privileges for varying periods of time.

The good news for anyone charged with DUI in Florida is that our firm has significant experience in these cases. Partner Rex R. Blake handled thousands of DUI and other traffic cases as a prosecutor before moving to private practice, while partner Nicholas J. Dorsten has substantial training and experience in this area of the law. We understand how important it is to fight these charges immediately, and we know how prosecutors and judges often approach the legal issues involved.

Contact a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa Bay

At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we are dedicated to fighting for clients across the full spectrum of criminal cases. We understand the stress and uncertainty that can come with being accused of a crime. Our lawyers are proud to guide clients through the criminal justice process with experience and personal attention. Our offices are conveniently located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and we also serve people in Tampa and throughout Tampa Bay. Call us at 727-286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.

Client Reviews
Love, Love, LOVE this firm! My lawyer got my case dropped, saving me years in jail. I can't recommend them enough! T.W.
Blake & Dorsten saved my life! They got my license back so I could keep my job and my home. K.D.
I hired Nick Dorsten for my fiancé who was facing mandatory prison time. Long story short, after Nick worked on his case, my now husband ended up with only probation. This firm cares. R.R.
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