Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

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By the grace of God my family found Mr. Mark J. O’ Brien when I was facing a minimum 10 years to life in federal prison for a 16 person drug conspiracy stretching from Georgia to Florida. My bond hearing was 48 hours after my arrest and Mark arrived at the bond hearing fully prepared in such a short time and I was released from jail. He even visited me at the jail in the meantime. He was on it.

I was then indicted one month before my destination wedding in Jamaica. Upon my release from jail, Mark immediately began working on a motion so that I could travel to my destination wedding that was already paid for and that all of our friends and family had already booked their travel to attend. The motion was approved even though no one thought it would be and Mark ordered his private investigator to travel with us to protect us. He was wonderful and became a part of the family of course.

Fast forward to coming back home and back to the terrible reality of dying in federal prison because of this federal indictment. Mark’s assistant Jeanette was absolutely wonderful and was available whenever we had questions and wanted to schedule meetings with Mark. It was genuine heartfelt customer service that we received from Jeanette at all times. She understood that this was the hardest time of our lives and was willing to help at any time of day or night. Mark, Jeanette, and his paralegal Chelsea and his entire office were always responsive via phone and email. Mark responded back to emails in well less than 24 hours which is commendable considering he’s such a high profile lawyer.

I met with Mark for trial preparation and we made our way out of state for the trial.

We arrived at the courthouse for jury selection and Mark was ever so attentive. It was obvious that Mark had done his homework, had my best interests at heart and wasn’t intimidated to be going up against the Unites States government.

It was apparent that Mark and my entire family were judged and treated differently in a different state where people had already classed me as guilty. As the trial began, Mark took notes and never missed a beat. Mark’s strategy and execution and style were impeccable. The cross-examination captured every detail and definitely sparked the jury’s interests because it was so captivating. Mark’s closing statement gave my entire family goosebumps. It was like a movie.

Mark debriefed my family each day during lunch break, at the end of the first day of trial and also after the jury was released to deliberate. When I say this is the lawyer that you need, I mean it deeply. And after the jury started deliberating, Mark kept it extremely professional answering our questions while still personally checking up on my family and reassuring us all that everything was going to work out.

In addition to Mark, Mark’s entire law office reached out to my wife during the trial with their support and let us know that they were praying for us. During the most difficult time ever faced in all of my life, it felt comforting to have these folks in my corner. You are not just hiring a lawyer. You are hiring a team who personally and professionally cares about you.

After the federal judge read the jury instructions and we were in recess, I sat outside of the courtroom with my head down and knees shaking. I know Mark saw it but he never made me feel bad or ashamed to be scared. To say that my family and I were petrified about the future being in the hands of 12 complete strangers from a different state is an understatement. Mark sat across from me, looked me in the eye and told me while he would not lie and tell me he knows what I was feeling, he empathized with me. He even said that he was nervous too and the day he stopped being nervous is the day he stops defending people because that is the day he knows he does not care anymore. As we continued to wait and it felt like forever, Mark walked by and gave me a reassuring pat on my shoulder or a tap on my head. He truly cares.

We were called back in the courtroom twice with jury questions. The questions showed that my jury was closely considering Mark’s arguments and that there was doubt about if the government proved its case.

After one hour and fifteen minutes, the jury came back with NOT GUILTY VERDICTS on all counts! Mark thanked the judge, and even shook hands with the government, and we as a family all walked out of that courtroom together shaking with joy but with out heads held high! After the jury was released even the judge complimented Mark on the wonderful job that he did! The way that Mark conducted himself in the courtroom was undeniably the closest you can ever get to perfection.

One funny story: after one of the breaks, one of the US Marshall court officers asked Mark which city he practiced law in Florida and was telling him about his son’s needs. Mark was so good that he was already being recruited even before the Not Guilt Verdicts! Mark is extremely professional and personable with people. The jurors liked him. The court staff liked him. Even the prosecutors and agents seemed to like and respect him because he was always professional when battling them. More importantly, Mark was excited for me and my family and the passion that he has for his job as a trial lawyer is what you really and truly need in a lawyer.

There is absolutely nothing that I can do that would be enough to thank Mark for literally saving my life. As we walked outside of the courthouse, my father in law was so happy and told Mark that, “I have to change your name in my cell phone to JC or Jesus Christ, because you just saved a life, in fact, you just saved the lives of an entire family!”

My family and I are so impressed with Mark’s professionalism, demeanor and energy from that first scary day we met in a federal courthouse in Orlando, Florida to the amazing last day we hugged him goodbye standing outside a federal courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Thank you Mark for giving me back my life and making it possible for me to have a future!!!

Andrew Jackson


I want to apologize for not writing you earlier, but I’ve been busy, and wanted to wait until I had some time to sit down and write you a thank you letter.

Everything you managed to accomplish is amazing. The terms of my settlement couldn’t be better for me, and of course, the outcome you won did nothing less than save my career. At this time, I can’t fully estimate the impact you’ve had on my life. The immediate consequences of this event would have been momentous, but its lasting effects on the trajectory of my life would possibly have been immeasurable. For myself, I can’t thank you enough. As great as the service you’ve done me, however, the true service you’ve done is for my wife and daughter. At a time when my judgment and conduct had failed them, you protected them from bearing the repercussions of my actions. Thanks to you and your firm, I will continue to be able to improve the life I provide for them, which they more than deserve. For them, I am truly indebted to you.

In taking my side, and standing by me with enthusiasm, and protecting my wife and child from myself, you’ve done me as great a service as anyone else ever has, even on the battlefield. I know I may never have the opportunity to repay you directly. So the best I can promise you, is that I will move forward as a man, citizen, Marine and father deserving of the service you’ve done me. I will not disgrace it by squandering this second chance.

Again, thank you. You saved my life.

Grady Kurpasi
United States Marine Corps

Hi: this is Eduany Cruz. You know I speak and write very little English but I want to say you that today I feel happy because I’m a free man. Thank you very much. I wish good luck in all your life. You are a good man. Now I will write in Spanish, maybe some day you can read Spanish!

When I left my family, my homeland, and my studies in November of 2007, and set out on a journey bound for this country I did it with a handful of hope and expectations, thinking that perhaps this was the only country in which I could make them a reality.

My circumstances and life dealt me a bad hand in early 2008 and on January 6th, instead celebrating the Epiphany by awaiting the Three Wise Men with excitement, as I had never had the opportunity to do so in Cuba, I found myself in a cold cell in the Sumter County Detention Center.

Wondering 1000 times over what my future would hold and with tears in my eyes, every night I would ask my God to get me out of that place I never thought I would be in. It took a while for the answer to come, but without a doubt, God put the Best Attorney and human being in the world in my life, one who displayed outstanding professionalism and experience in every court, and in addition to that, never stopped offering his kindness and generosity. That was you, Mark J. O’Brien… Thank you for doing everything possible to make me a free man. Everything that I may accomplish as a person in the future, I owe to you… Thank you… Thank you… Thank you.

May God bless you always. Your client, who appreciates and admires you…

– Eduany Cruz Alvarez

Thank you so much for all the help you have been to us. Tanya is so much better. She still has bad days and shows some bad judgment, but we can see evidence of the sweet girl we knew and loved.

Update! I recently found out that the judge “finally” signed off on the two charges pending against her in Edinburg. “Dismissed”. I am sending copies to you for your records.The last, I hope, obstacle for her is her home. I cannot get Bank of Am. To forclose or let me pick up the payments. Meanwhile penalties and taxed keep adding up. Guess there is nothing I can do – but sure is frustrating.

Margarita and I know we would not be in anywhere near as good a shape as we are – had it not been for your help and compassion. God Bless you. Thanks for doing such a good job.

Ricky & Margarita Greer

I had been contacted by the govt regarding my federal crime, and I called Marks firm in a total panic. They couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. From Jerry, who took time to listen to the whole sordid mess, to Jeanette, who is ever so compassionate and caring and just a wonderful supportive lady, to Mark himself, the epitome of a professional, caring, and intelligent attorney. Mark and his firm stayed with me every step of this terrifying journey. And although my end result wasn’t what I had hoped for, due to his expertise it was far better than what it could have been. And he’s promised to see me thru and guide me to the end! I highly recommend this firm and am so very thankful I chose them.


Mr. O’Brien,

My son Rodney Allen Dawson Jr. Has been represented by your firm for a couple years now your staff has always been helpful, but I like to give a special recognition to new staff member Jeanette, she is always courteous and willing to go above and beyond and thorough in following up. I feel that Jeanette is an asset to your company. Thank you for your time and assistance.

Rodney A Dawson Sr.

This is one of the finest law firms that I ever could be affiliated with to work on my son’s behalf God bless you and I really want to thank you all for everything every moment I’ll put in to fight for my son’s Freedom I’m totally disabled and I really need my son home with me God bless you all and thank you so much.

Jim Forner

Hello Mr. O’Brien,

On behalf of Cedric and our family, I wanted to say “Thank You” from the bottom of my heart for how you have handled everything with this case. I know at times we seemed impatient and eager but your work speaks for itself. You have done a great job. I know that this is not an open and shut case and it can be very time consuming and aggravating. I just wanted to take the time to thank you for all the hard work you have done (as well as what is still to come) and for your dedication. Thank you.


Dear Rachel,
I have told you before about your simple gesture that has changed my life. And that I am forever grateful to you For. However, I never told you about the darkness I was in and how your simple gesture brought me out of it. Though I’m learning daily, to live with the pain of losing my wife. I know it is something that will never go away. But it was your belief in me, that helped me to once again believe in myself, that put the light back in my life. Rachael, you brought me out of that darkness. You will never understand what that means to me, what I know it means to Stef, and what it will one day mean to my children in the Future. Thank you are never enough.

So this is what I’d like to say to you:

Rachael, I think you are Awesome! As a human being, as an attorney, as a listener, and as a Friend. You are Totally Awesome!! Never forget this. And always keep these words I’m telling you close to heart. You are changing peoples lives. You are making a difference in this world. I am sure this is not just happening in your professional life but in your personal life, as well. It is a butterfly effect that will ripple the lives of the people around you and the people around them, Forever. you will impact so many peoples lives in your lifetime and you should be proud of yourself for that. I am proud of you for that. You have deeply impacted mine.
As we go through our daily lives, coutines, and activities we may sometimes feel unappreciated. We don’t always get the thanks we deserve. If there ever comes a time in your professional or your personal life that you are feeling like that, please always remember my words. Know that you have people in your lives and forever changing them. Know that you have people in your life that are grateful and thankful for all you do. Please never forget this.
I thank God for you everyday…


Rachel and Jennette has been very nice everytime I call. I thank Rachel so much for being so wonderful and working with me. Thank you for all your help, one day I’m looking forward to meeting you. May God continue to bless the firm.

Kris Smithkowsky

You’re a really special person… Your love of life and of people shines through in so many inspiring ways… and if anyone ever deserved the best in life – it would be you.

Mrs. Gross

Dear Victoria:

I am grateful for your believing in me and representing me in this matter. Thank you for all that you have done. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for the professionalism of you and your firm.

Thank you kindly,

I actually, feel good with this law firm, and let me say I have had six attorneys and not one did anything for my sons case, I wish I would have went here first eight years ago they would have won my son’s case and I could have save a lot of disappointment and money, I have Rachel doing my son’s legal work now and I feel at ease, thank you O’Brien and Hatfield I will recommend you to anyone that needs help!!

Melody McCullen

We are professionals from the Northeast whose son has been attending a college in Florida. This spring, we found ourselves swept up in a crisis any parent would dread: our son was falsely accused of sexual assault. We first hired a perfectly competent local criminal lawyer who, we learned, was not familiar with Title IX process. We soon realized that we needed a lawyer experienced in both criminal law and Title IX to defend our son against this horrible accusation. We were referred to Mark O’Brien by a Title IX lawyer in the NE. During our first telephone conversation, we were immediately assured of Mark’s commitment, skill, and knowledge of the details of the complex, mercurial, and idiosyncratic Title IX process. Mark and his investigator, Gerry Rivera, immediately leapt into action. They gathered information from us and from our son, secured our son’s safety, assured that he would receive due process, attended to our needs as anxious parents, and kept us regularly updated about developments in the case. Mark and Jerry helped our understandably traumatized son feel more secure that he had a strong and experienced legal team behind him. Most importantly, Mark and Jerry both handled the Title IX investigators with professional courtesy and informed, appropriately authoritative toughness. This legal team’s balance of finesse and power shifted the process, so we felt confident that we had hired professionals who could protect our son through this harrowing process. Importantly, Mark and Jerry helped all three of us feel confident enough that our son could get on with his life and school and we could get on with our lives and work. Best of all: justice was served! Our son was exonerated within 3 weeks of Mark taking his case. We are therefore delighted to strongly endorse Mark’s practice.

S and J


It’s been around six months since my probation period was over. Sending this letter today, I’m trying to express my gratefulness for all the help and support you provided to me in order to avoid a conviction of DUI. I am so thankful I do not have a DUI! Also, and what is most important, I’m so much grateful for referring me to the doctor. He has helped me to get rid of my cannabis dependency. The dependency which I believe explains a lot of my behavior during that term of time. By the way, I still attend my appointments and did not miss any since my first one, the day after the court. They had made a really significant positive impact on my life.

I Wish you a long happy life, and full of victories.


Hello Mark and Victoria,
This is Javier Torres. It’s been almost a year since I was released from Polk County Detention Center, it’s unbelieved how time pass fast. [T]his email is to Say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Very much for the excellent job that you and you team made for me. I didn’t know how big was this thing I was into, but thanks to you, now I can work everyday. I stay in Polk County without any violation. I’m doing the process to see my kid soon and I been working since I been release (bathroom, kitchen remodeling) everyday, so one more time thank you for all your time and the perfect job you did for me and my family.

Javier Torres

Dear Ms. Victoria Hatfield & Kiersten,
I was blessed enough to have your law firm…represent me on my direct appeal. [A]n outstanding job was done in the drafting of my initial brief and I have no doubts that outstanding work will continue through the drafting of my reply brief. This is work that I am eternally thankful for. Work that may very well result in my life being given back to me. ( Read the full testimonial).

Eric Plum

We recently received two additional commendations from Mr. Plum regarding the work Ms. Hatfield have done for him related to his appeal. From his letters :

“Ms. Hatfield did an excellent job representing me and I would strongly recommend her to anyone in need of legal counsel.”

“I wish all attorneys did the work and exerted the effort did for me. incredible and I’d recommend her to anyone needing legal counsel.”

I have received my brief thank you for a job well done… I really want to tell you that you did a super job. You have very good writing skills. I am very pleased. I know it’s a winner. You’re awesome Rachel, thank you. ( Read the full testimonial).

Yours truly,

Dear Rachael,
You have answered literally hundreds of questions; you’ve spent hours and hours face-to-face talking about possible grounds (for appeal). You were at the jail working on my case easily three times as much as my trial attorney. Maybe five times. Maybe more. Having you assigned to my case was a blessing, and meeting you and getting to know you was a gift. I’m honored and truly grateful. ( Read the full testimonial).

Your friend,
Wesley Fox

Dear Mark, Victoria and Rachael:
I am thankful for a wonderful year of victories. The level of growth in experience from the victories works toward a greater purpose. I am thankful for people like you who diligently work toward that greater purpose and help balance the scales of justice. Without you I would be doing two mandatory life terms in prison right now.

-Thierry Montrieal

Dear Mark:

Thank you for your excellent performance. Your greatness was remarkable. I really mean that from my heart. Peace my friend.

-Timothy Cooper

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincerest gratitude to you for all you have done for my son. I thank you for supporting him in a professional and compassionate way. I thank you for being a strong, positive role model for him and for being able to see the good in him. I thank you for always listening to what I had to say even if my ideas were out in left field, you never made me feel anything other than respected and valued. In fact every person we came in contact with during these past almost 2 years, from the investigators at Homeland Security to the people at the jail registering Brandon today, have been amazingly compassionate and kind. I don’t know how that all worked out, but I do feel there has been an extraordinary amount of grace bestowed upon us all along the way. I am grateful we found you and your staff, you have all gone above and beyond what I am sure you anticipated this case to be.

With sincere gratitude,

I was thinking recently on how to express my complete satisfaction in the manner which you have handled all of my requests, and my criminal case. It is not often that I place my complete trust in any one person, but I have place just that in you ‘SR’, I am completely satisfied with your professionalism, your work ethic, and your attention to detail. I will surely recommend you any individuals that I might come across who is in need of an attorney that is worth every cent. I appreciate you, I thank you, and I wish you the best…

-Tim Cooper

Mark and Staff,

Thank you in advance for everything you’re doing for my son Robert Vogel!! I’m hoping all goes well. With kind Regards,


Mark, I just wanted to take a second and let you know how much I appreciate everything you did for us. I can’t really give you a better compliment than I like your style. I enjoyed watching you in action. I appreciate what you did.


Mark, thank you for everything. I will forever be indebted to you. You have stood by me and believed in me when it was not the popular thing to do. You are an amazing advocate.


Dear Victoria,

I wanted to take a moment to write you in an informal manner; no legal jargon involved. Rarely do you find people who are passionate about anything anymore. People just go with the flow, prepared to live a mundane lifestyle. It’s wonderful to know that I came across a team of professionals who were passionate about me.
Within that team was you. One of the things that struck me the most was that you worked just as hard while you were pregnant. You were in court for me only a few days before you gave birth, incredible.
There’s no doubt in my mind that you are doubly as passionate at being a mother than you are at being an attorney. With that being the “case”, I know that you “represent” your number one client with something better than the U.S. Constitution: Love.
Wish all the mothers on your team a Happy Mother’s Day for me.

-Thierry Montreuil

My main purpose in writing is to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for providing me with representation related to my motion for reduction of sentence. I learned a short while ago that we were successful… Again, thank you for helping me and my family bring this chapter in my life to a shorter close.

-Kevin Scott Bruce

I recommend Mark O’Brien. The Law Firm of O’Brien Hatfield’s client focus, sense of urgency and level of service are phenomenal. I approached the firm for legal advice on two difficult post conviction sentence modification cases. One of the cases is explosive, potentially. My initial inquiry was at night. O’Brien Hatfield got back to me at 8:07am the following morning and indicated a willingness to work on the case. On the second case I approached the firm at 10:20pm Sunday evening. Monday morning at 1:57am! the office got back to me and indicated a willingness to work on that case also. That is a 4 hour and 37 minute response time! O’Brien Hatfield’s service is phenomenal. They have the background, expertise and aggressiveness to work on the most difficult cases. Their service and energy level are unsurpassed. Clearly, the law firm of O’Brien Hatfield is one of the top law firms in Florida.

-Pamela Hanson

Should you ever need a smart, caring, and highly skilled criminal defense attorney Mark O’ Brien and associates are who you want fighting in your corner and no one else. Mr. O’ Brien was there to help me understand and prepare for every step in the legal process. I always felt he was giving my case the attention it needed and deserved. I wasn’t seen as a paycheck but as an individual needing good legal counsel. His case results thoroughly prove this. Thanks Mark O’Brien!

-Nathan V

The whole team at O’Brien Hatfield PA is extremely professional. The firm’s trial experience, appellate experience, and attention to detail stands alone.

-Lisa Dodson

If you want to be met with a deep sense of caring coupled with a high level of intelligence, call on O’Brien Hatfield, P.A.. You will be impressed with their track record. They get the results you desire and more importantly need.

-Jason Richardson

I’ve done business with O’Brien Hatfield, P.A. on a number of occasions and they have always exceeded my expectations. Mr. O’Brien’s legal acumen and tireless work ethic set him apart in the Florida legal community. When you retain O’Brien Hatfield, you have retained The Best!

-Brian Kennett

I received better than expected results and I expected a lot! I found that Mark J. O’Brien is very professional, caring, easy to communicate with, explains the situation and the various options extremely well. Superior knowledge of the legal aspects of the situation I had to deal with for my daughter. We were very happy with the results and I don’t think any other law firm could have done a better job! You should definitely hire or at least consult with Mark.

-David G

O’Brien Hatfield is a very professional and trustworthy law firm! I would recommend this firm to anybody in the need of a criminal defense attorney. The firm will not disappoint you, they keep you informed and are very knowledgeable. I am very thankful to have found such an outstanding defense! Thank you O’Brien Hatfield

-Samantha Rory

Choosing O’Brien Hatfield to help me with my legal needs was definitely the right decision for me. Mr. O’Brien is dedicated to keeping his clients informed and I never felt out of the loop. The team at O’Brien Hatfield works hard to make sure myself and my family were always aware of what was going on and we knew that they were there to help us with whatever we needed.

-Justin Jackson

Mark and his team were more than helpful! They made me feel like I made the right decision as soon as I sat down in their office. Mark told me communication is the key to any relationship, and when I had a question, doubt or just needed to not feel nervous, I could reach out and actually talk to them. I highly recommend Mark and his team to anyone who needs any help.

-Greg Stakowitz

I was lucky to have hired Mr. O’brien. My other lawyer would have settled for life in prison even though he knew i was innocent. Mr. O’Briengot me free. He did what most lawyers will not do and that’s care for a client. He is the most skilled lawyer i have ever encountered and the judges really respect him to the fullest.

-Elias E

O’Brien Hatfield helped a family friend through a very difficult time. Not only did they demonstrate respect and compassion, they ultimately demonstrated their unparalleled expertise. When you want the best, look no further. Period.

-Shanika Jones

I owe my freedom to Mark and the O’Brien Hatfield firm. I was trembling with fear and stressful emotions about my white collar federal indictment and was facing up to 9 years in prison. Heck I had never been in trouble with the law and this was a shocking time for me and my family! The end result Mark got for me made me cry with relief. I HIGHLY recommend you hire Mark and his firm! Mark O’Brien was by far the most trustworthy, experienced and genuine out of all the lawyers I talked to. When it came down to complex legal stuff I didn’t understand, his expert knowledge and communication skills laid it all out for me in a clear, concise matter that aided myself and my family to make the right decisions in hiring Mark O’Brien and his firm and getting the best result possible. You’ll never find a lawyer as caring and genuine and who can fight your case with as much heart and strategic legal expertise as Mark can. Period. He truly dedicated intense time to my case, spent time most lawyers would not do…in communicating with my family and reducing their emotional stress levels! His expert persuasive communication abilities with the prosecuting attorney and the judge helped my case incredibly. Mark O’Brien and his firm are legal dynamo’s. He had to travel on a plane to visit me plenty of times before my hearing and the fact that he even travelled when he was sick, stuffed up, and down right ‘crazy’ to get on a plane…he still showed up and demonstrated how committed he was to defending my case! That’s how he treats his clients and purposely doesn’t take on “too many clients” so he and his firm are not spread too thin. That’s important because in weighing my decision to hire a defense attorney, I wanted to make sure he or she would spend the appropriate amount of time on my case defending me, because this is my life we are talking about – and yours too if you are reading this and deciding on “what lawyer to hire”. I wish you the best in your case and you won’t regret talking to and hiring Mark O’Brien!

-Maria G.

I am truly thankful for everything you did for my son for the rest of my days. Thank you very much!

-Jahal D.

Thanks for all your work, getting me home free soon.

-Anna M.

I would like to extend my gratitude to you. Thank you so much for your hard work and for getting me the opportunity to get this expunged. I’m so thankful for your work for us. Again, thank you so much for helping me get a second chance!

-George D