Larry Sandefer Profile


Attorney Profile for Larry Sandefer 

Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law

Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Defense Attorney
Serving Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, Tampa Bay and the State of Florida

Who we are

Larry Sandefer is a recognized specialist in Criminal Trial Law. Our office handles only criminal cases and DUI/traffic cases. Mr. Sandefer has extensive criminal and DUI trial experience stretching over 35 years. He has tried cases to jury including first degree murder, DUI first time and multiple DUI convictions, DUI Manslaughter, drug possession, drug trafficking, capital sexual battery, lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, internet pornography, domestic battery, battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Elderly Abuse, Fraud, theft, home invasion robbery, burglary to a dwelling, burglary to a vehicle, and many other charges.
Mr. Sandefer is recognized for his ability and accomplishments. He was the first attorney in the 6th Judicial Circuit (Pinellas and Pasco Counties) to attain Board Certification as a criminal trial attorney. He has been selected annually to the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys. In 2009 he was given the honor of being named to SuperLawyers. In 2015 and 2016 the American Society of Legal Advocates named him one of the top 100 criminal defense attorneys in the state of Florida, and the National Trial Lawyers Association has listed him as one of the top 100 trials lawyers since 2011.
Because Mr. Sandefer is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the accused most of his legal career, taking on the vast power and resources of the government on behalf of the individual, you may be surprised that you can afford the level and experience and dedication that you deserve.

What now, ask yourself,  Do I want an attorney who knows the system, has experience not only in dealing with the state attorney but with taking cases to trial if I need to? What about an attorney who was a Lead Trial Attorney and a Division Director in the State Attorneys Office that deals with all of the criminal cases in Pinellas and Pasco Counties including Clearwater and St. Petersburg, an attorney with over 40 years of real criminal trial experience from both sides.

What about the attorney who was the first attorney in the Sixth Circuit of Florida (which serves all of Pinellas and Pasco Counties) to attain Board Certification by the Florida Bar as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Law?

Are these things that might be important to me and to my future?

If so, you should call us, and do it as soon after an arrest as you can.    All consultations are free, confidential, and there is no obligation. Please make us one of the attorneys you see when you are deciding the best attorney to select for your case.


Larry Sandefer has handled well over 5,000 criminal cases. Over 250 of these have resulted in jury trials lasting anywhere from one day to several weeks in length. These trials have included more than 20 first degree murder cases, and also multi-jurisdictional drug and homicide conspiracies, drug trafficking, sales and possessions, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious accusations, child abuse charges, arson, white collar crimes including trade secrets and fraud,armed and simple robbery, theft, assault and battery, domestic violence, DUI manslaughter, DUI, resisting arrest, shoplifting, abuse allegations of children and the elderly, embezzlement, insurance fraud, burglary, kidnapping, and many other criminal charges.  Larry has been involved in the criminal court system since 1978.



After over 40 years in criminal law in Florida, Larry is familiar with and has worked very often with the Judges and prosecutors assigned to the criminal courts. He is a former prosecutor  himself of over eight years, with experience as both a Lead Trial Attorney and a Division Director in the State Attorney’s Office. In those positions, he not only tried the most serious cases, he also supervised and trained prosecutors in several trial divisions.  He is one of only a select few attorneys who have the experience of being former Division Directors. As Division Director  he was involved with the investigation and decision making aspects of these charges as well as sentencing decisions and trials. As a member of the homicide investigation unit while at the State Attorney’s Office, he was often called out to the crime scene of homicides to provide legal advice. The present Division Directors in the 6th Judicial Circuit still operate in the same manner as they did when Mr. Sandefer was a Division Director, and, therefore Mr. Sandefer is well acquainted with what goes into decisions and it’s importance to the person making these decisions.

In 1986, Mr. Sandefer opened his own office and has continued in the defense of criminal cases since that time. He was one of the first attorney’s in the State of Florida to become a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law, that occurred in 1987. He was the first attorney in the 6th Judicial Circuit (Pinellas and Pasco Counties) to earn certification as a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law. He has maintained certification continually since that date. This vast background of experience gives him the knowledge of both sides of a criminal case from both a decision making perspective and a trial perspective, and the understanding of what affects those decisions by the prosecution and what goes into those decisions. What this means for you is the knowledge, the experience, and the court room skills to assist you in your defense.

Mr. Sandefer has continued his training through continuing education courses involving violent crime, organized crime, defending capital cases in Florida, narcotic investigation techniques, false child abuse allegations, and numerous other education programs by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a graduate of the Criminal Trial Advocacy Institute at the University of Florida and has attended Masters of DUI Courses of the Florida Bar and the DUI Defender Courses in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Individual Recognition and Experience sets Larry Sandefer apart when you are deciding who you want to fight for you in Court:

Mr. Sandefer has been honored with the national recognition of being named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America. This is a register which lists only the most distinguished law practices, those that signify the highest levels of legal ability and the adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.

Mr. Sandefer has achieved a prestigious rating of AV by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating is a result of a peer review system based upon the confidential opinions of practicing attorneys and judges. Martindale-Hubbell has been recognized for over a century as the most respected source of authoritative information about members of the legal community. An AV rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest level of skill, integrity, and ethical standards.

He has been named a Florida Super Lawyer by Florida Super Magazine in 2009 and one of the top 100 Trial Attorneys in Florida by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Experience, Background, Honors, and Achievements, Professional Experience and Recognitions

  • Board Certified as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Law by The Florida Bar since 1987 .One of the first attorneys in the state to be attain certification as a specialist in criminal trial law.
  • The first attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida to be awarded board certification as a criminal trial law specialist
  • Named to Who’s Who in America 1997 – present
  • Named to Who’s Who in American Law 1997 – present
  • Named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America 2009 to present
  • Rated 10.0 by AVVO, Superb
  • Named to Top 100 Trial Lawyers by National Trial Lawyers Assoc. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Top Lawyer of Tampa Bay- 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (Tampa Bay Magazine)
  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, highest rating available in legal ability and ethics*
  • Selected to Florida Super Lawyers 2009
  • Selected to Leadership Pinellas 1998
  • Past Chairperson of Florida Bar Grievance Committee 6A, and also Chairperson of Grievance Committee 6D (Hearing complaints against Florida attorneys and discipline)(3 year appointments)
  • Former Assistant State Attorney 6th Judicial Circuit 1978-1986
    • For Pinellas and Pasco Counties
    • Lead Trial Attorney
    • Division Director (one of three), supervised one third of the felony and misdemeanor trial divisions, responsible for filing and sentencing decisions, attorney training, trials of major cases including homicides, drug trafficking, sex crimes, and violent crimes.
    • On-call Homicide response attorney, responded to scenes of homicides to advise and assist law enforcement in the on-scene investigation and meet with the medical examiner on scene
    • DUI/traffic court supervisor

          . Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney

Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in the State of Florida by American Society of Legal Advocates, Nationally Ranked Criminal Defense Attorney by National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorney, Tam;a Bays Top Lawyers by Tampa Bay Magazine, Top 100 Criminal Trial Lawyer by National Trial Lawyers, Top  Ranked criminal defense lawyer by Martindale-Hubbel

Admitted to Practice before the following courts:

  • All Florida State Courts including Florida Supreme Court (1978)
  • The United States Supreme Court (1982)
  • The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (New Orleans) (1981)
  • The United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Atlanta) (1981)
  • The United States Middle District of Florida (1978)

Professional Organizations

  • Pinellas County Trial Lawyers Association
  • Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Clearwater Bar Association
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
  • Florida Bar
  • Colorado Bar

Pre-Legal Education and Background

Auburn University

  • Bachelors Degree BS in Business and Management
  • Selected to National Leadership Honorary
  • President Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
  • Assistant Director of Auburn Free University
  • Treasurer of Business Fraternity
  • Varsity tennis team starter for four years
  • U.S. Air Force ROTC

Post college and Graduate School

  • Masters studies in psychology and counseling at Northern Michigan University 1973-1974
  • Active duty U.S. Air Force, K.I. Sawyer AF base, Marquette, Mi 1973-1975 (active)(1st Lt.), 1975-1979 (reserves).
  • Procurement Officer course completion in Government Contract Law Lowery Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Appointed by Base commander as special investigator regarding suspected irregularities in the 410th Combat Support Group Transportation Squadron
  • Radio announcer and music director on experimental cable radio station in Marquette and Gwinn, Michigan 1973-1975

Law School & Legal Education

  • University of Florida, 1977, Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Served as: Chief Defense Counsel Honor Court, 1976
  • Appointed and served as a Student Supreme Court Justice for the University of Florida, 1977
  • President Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity

Continuing Legal Education

Larry Sandefer has maintained his continued legal education through courtroom experience, continued training, lecturing, courses, and seminars

  • Graduate Criminal Trial Advocacy Institute at University of Florida
  • Homicide Specific Continuing Education Schools/Seminars
    • Life over Death
    • Death is Different

DUI Continuing Education Schools/Seminars

  • DUI,- Defending with Ingenuity, Las Vegas, NV, 2003, by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the National College of DUI Attorneys
  • Winning with DUI, Las Vegas, NV, 2008, by NACDL and National College of DUI Attorneys
  • “Blood, Breath and Tears”, presented by the Florida Bar, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013
  • Intoxilyzer 8000, Fl Bar 2005, 2010
  • “Masters of DUI”, Fl Bar, 1999, 2009, 2014, 2015
  • Strategies in DUI cases, Lorman 2000, 2005
  • DUI defense tactics 1997

Numerous Courses and schools regarding the following topics:

  • Top Gun Criminal Defense Attorneys Seminar (Co-sponsor) Don Cesar Resort 1996
  • Polygraphs
  • Trial Tactics
  • Sentencing Guidelines
  • Domestic Violence
  • Search Warrants
  • Obscenity and Pornography
  • Use of experts in Trial
  • Evidence
  • False Child Abuse Allegations
  • False Confessions
  • Police Interrogation Techniques
  • Blood Spatter Evidence
  • DNA
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) School on undercover narcotics training
  • National college of district attorneys conference on organized crime, Chicago 1985
  • National college of district attorneys conference on violent crime 1984
  • Annual state prosecutors conventions and seminar 1978 through 1984
* CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings evaluate two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.