Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Victoria E. Hatfield
- State Criminal Defense
- State Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Motions Federal Criminal Defense
- Federal Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Motions
Victoria E. Hatfield, Esquire is an equity partner at O’Brien Hatfield, PA, and is a renowned state court criminal defense attorney in the State of Florida. She defends individuals accused of state court crimes in every county court and circuit court in the State of Florida.
Over the course of her nearly fifteen year legal career Ms. Hatfield has accomplished more than many of her colleagues (most of them much older and male by the way) will accomplish in a lifetime of practicing law. From successful motions to suppress and motions to dismiss to trial acquittals to numerous appellate victories to a groundbreaking ruling in her favor by the Florida Supreme Court, she just flat out wins. Find a criminal lawyer in the State of Florida who has won at all of the following levels: The Florida Supreme Court, District Courts of Appeals, and Circuit and County Criminal Courts. Here are a few examples of her successes.
Florida Supreme Court
State v. Dean Shelley, Hillsborough County, 2011-CF-11428, Shelley v. State, 134 So.3d 1138 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014), State v. Shelley, 176 So.3d 914 (Fla. 2015)
Ms. Hatfield filed a motion to dismiss in Mr. Shelley’s case based on double jeopardy grounds. The trial court denied all motions. Undeterred, Ms. Hatfield appealed to the Second District Court of Appeals and won. The State of Florida, also undeterred, appealed her victory to the Florida Supreme Court. After filing her appellate brief and participating in oral arguments at the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Ms. Hatfield’s favor and upheld her lower court victory. As a result of her litigation, the offense of “soliciting a minor after using computer services” is a lesser included offense of “traveling to meet a minor after using computer services.” Because of Ms. Hatfield no person in the State of Florida can be convicted of both offenses stemming from the same course of conduct.
District Courts of Appeals
State of Florida v. Max Garcia, Sarasota County, 2016-CF-10182, Garcia v. State, 286 So.3d 348 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019)
After defending himself while being attacked, Max Garcia was charged with Aggravated Battery and faced fifteen years in prison. The trial court denied Ms. Hatfield’s “stand your ground motion”, in which she argued Mr. Garcia was immune from prosecution because he was acting in self-defense. After the denial, the case was set for trial. Ms. Hatfield immediately filed a Writ of Prohibition to the Second District Court of Appeals, the case was paused, and the trial was stopped. Ultimately, the Second District Court of Appeals agreed with Ms. Hatfield and reversed the lower court’s denial of the “stand your ground motion”. Mr. Garcia remains a free man today. And this case is cited by defense attorneys all across the State of Florida to free their clients, Ms. Hatfield did not save one man with this case. She saved thousands.
State of Florida v. Steven Eargood, Hillsborough County, 11-CF-18990
Steven Eargood was accused of sexually battering a child family member and faced decades in prison and a lifetime sexual offender registration. He denied wrongdoing from the start, but his public defender did not believe him. He hired Ms. Hatfield. Ms. Hatfield brought the case to trial and obtained a complete acquittal (i.e., not guilty verdicts) on all charges in a little over an hour.
Motions to Suppress
Daniel Diner, Hillsborough County, 2016-CF-13503
Daniel Diner was charged with ninety-nine counts of possessing child pornography and faced 1,485 years in the Florida State Prison. Ms. Hatfield filed a motion to suppress arguing an unlawful search and seizure. The trial court agreed and granted her motion. Case dismissed.
Eliezer Tejada, Lake County, Case Number 20-CF-1261
Eliezer Tejada was falsely accused of participating in a sophisticated organized fraud operation involving the theft of laptops from UPS delivery trucks. Ms. Hatfield filed a motion to suppress the unlawful out of court identification of Mr. Tejada. Rather than lose the motion, prosecutors dismissed Mr. Tejada’s case.
Victor Williams, Hillsborough County, 23-CF-5807
Victor Williams was charged with trafficking over twenty-five pounds of cannabis. He faced thirty years in Florida State Prison. Ms. Hatfield filed a motion to suppress arguing an unlawful search and seizure, which was granted by the trial court. Rather than lose, prosecutors dismissed Mr. Williams’ case.
State v. Juan Macias, Marion County, 2010-CF-3819
Juan Macias was charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine and faced thirty years in Florida State Prison with a fifteen year prison minimum mandatory term. Mr. Macias was hired to drive a car from Texas to Florida. Unknown to him, the car had a hidden compartment wherein over 200 grams of methamphetamine was hidden. Mr. Macias was essentially a blind mule and maintained his innocence throughout the duration of the case. Ms. Hatfield convinced prosecutors to dismiss the case just prior to trial.
Why are you a criminal defense attorney?
Dating back to junior high school, I have intentionally focused all my efforts on social justice, which I define as, "The ability people have to realize their potential in the society in which they live." All too often, social justice however is really just social injustice. I recognized this fact at a young age. When I was ten I started working for the FALLS Adventure (Family And Leadership Life Skills) a non-profit charity serving families in in our community that are in need. We focused on teaching life skills and effective strategies, such as problem solving, negotiating differences, achieving goals, accountability and positive change as a means to obtaining social justice. Over the years, I helped families caught in all kinds of addiction, men and women linked to prostitution and crime, youth and adults affected by the justice system, middle and upper class families torn by divorce and bad choices, and boys and girls of poverty attempting to find success in life. In all of these situations, with each person served, my approach was to model and teach effective leadership and life skills so they could better achieve their own potential in society, so they could achieve their own justice.
Why did you attend law school?
At some point after college, I came to the realization that simply teaching people skills and strategies was not enough. Or perhaps I should say it was not fast enough for me. I needed to be more involved, more in control of the process. I needed to shape the process. Law school was the obvious solution. I remember an occasion during law school at the conclusion of a moot court competition that my professor called me a bulldog. Most women would not take this description as a compliment. I did! Within months of passing the bar on my first attempt, a court bailiff commented to me at the conclusion an important hearing for my client, "Ms. Hatfield, you are a Rottweiler!" True again! I am dedicated, determined, and I work the facts and the law of my cases endlessly too achieve the best possible result for my client.
Please tell me about your first jury trial.
My first jury trial as lead counsel resulted in a not guilty verdict for my client. Now let me tell you what he was charged with: he was charged with raping his cousin. The basis for this case started years ago with my client's mother and her sister. Women are not supposed to defend such cases, right? I defend anyone. And I always look beneath the surface. My investigation revealed that the two of them do not like each other because of supposed favoritism by their mother. Flash forward thirty years and my client was accused of raping his cousin. The only catch was my client did not actually commit the heinous crime he was accused of and the jury agreed with me. In about 22 minutes. Think about that for a moment. Imagine being accused of something absolutely awful because your aunt does not like your mother over something their mother did to them years ago. How would that make you feel? This is just one example of many. I have freed my clients from life sentences at the state and federal level. I have won motions to dismiss and motions to suppress. I work tirelessly. Endlessly. Aggressively. And I do it all for my clients.
Why do you only practice criminal defense?
I have devoted my entire legal career to criminal defense work. This is my way to positively affect injustice. I understand the importance of my role in the life of my clients, and therefore I take on a limited number of cases in order to ensure that each receive the personalized attention that is required and deserved. And I love to win.
What is your educational background?
I am a graduate of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and I subsequently earned my law degree from Stetson University College of Law in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I am admitted to practice law in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels in the State of Florida. I accept cases throughout the entire state of Florida, including but not limited to Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Orange, Marion, Putnam, Alachua, Manatee, Levy, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Glades, Hernando, Highlands, Polk, and Sumter Counties.
If you need me, I will fight for you.
- Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, Florida
- Bucknell University
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
- Strategies For Defending Identity Theft Cases, Aspatore, 2012
- Office of the Pinellas County State Attorney Clerk Sixth Judicial Circuit