Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney

Our Case Results

At Albert J. Sauline, Attorney at Law, we focus on achieving the results our clients desire, inquiring from the very first free consultation as to what direction the client wishes to proceed. In accordance with Florida Bar Rule 4-7.13 and 4-7.14, the following are objectively verifiable results of just a sample of the matters we have handled.

Note: Results may not be typical. You may not have as beneficial of a result.

    • Simple Battery - Panama City Beach Dismissed

      The Defendant, who is a former Major League Baseball player that previously played with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks, is now enjoying life as a baseball coach with a little league team. During a baseball tournament in Panama City Beach, the Defendant became upset with a bad call made by the umpire. The witnesses stated that the Defendant approached the umpire, yelled about the bad call, and pushed the umpire as the umpire was turning around to walk away, causing the umpire to fall to the ground and lead to scratches the umpire’s face. Thus, the Defendant was charged with Simple Battery in Florida. Through extensive plea negotiations and discovery with the State, we were able to achieve a dismissal of all Criminal charges, allowing the Defendant to complete a three-month Pre-Trial Intervention (i.e. Diversion) program with no restitution, no probation, no jail, no anger management, and no Criminal conviction.

    • Felony Probation - Bay County Absconding – Probation Revoked

      The Defendant was placed on Felony probation in May of 2005 for the offenses of Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Upon starting probation, the Defendant committed her first violation of probation only two months after starting probation and received reinstatement in July of 2005. Upon being reinstated, the Defendant absconded and remained on the run for 13 years until turning herself into law enforcement in early 2018. Naturally, by absconding for 13 years, the Defendant failed to complete most every single requirement of probation. Having said, the Defendant had stayed out of trouble during that 13 year period, not even receive so much as a civil speeding citation. The Defendant is now disabled and needs to be home with her family. Through extensive negotiations with the State, and through an extensive explanation of circumstances to the Court, we were able to have the Defendant’s probation revoked and the Defendant received a time served sentence. Thus, after 13 years of being on the run while absconding, the Defendant walked away with no more probation and a time served sentence.

    • Lewd or Lascivious Molestation on a Child Under the age or 12 Dismissed

      The Defendant, a 44-year-old male, was arrested for Lewd or Lascivious Molestation on a Child Under the age of 12, which is a Life felony in Florida. The alleged victim was his step-daughter, who was mad at the Defendant’s wife and him for moving the child away from their previous home outside of Florida. Throughout the prosecution of the case, the State of Florida would not provide discovery, stating they were still in the “investigative” stage despite the fact the Defendant had been arrested, his Mugshot placed all over the news, and out of the money paid in bond. In other words, an Information (i.e. formal charging document) had not been filed. As time went by, it became apparent the State was overlooking the timeline for filing formal charges against a Defendant, as the State Attorney only has 175-days from the date of arrest to file a formal charging document, and the State failed to do such. Therefore, on the 176th day following the Defendant’s arrest, Attorney Sauline promptly filed a Motion to Dismiss Due to a Speedy Trial Violation. The State, knowing time had expired and as a matter of law the case was already dismissed, filed only 29 minutes later a No Information document, trying to explain the situation and that the time lapse which occurred was always intentional, even though we all know a No Information is normally filed within the 175-day speedy trial period, and once day 176 arrives the case is automatically dismissed if no formal charging document has been filed. Thus, by closely watching the procedure of the State’s case, Attorney Sauline was able to secure a dismissal by allowing the State to drop the ball, figuratively speaking. As such, the Defendant walked free from all charges and is eligible to even have his record Sealed or Expunged.

    • Aggravated Assault with a Knife 3rd Degree Felony - Panama City Misdemeanor Assault & Withhold of Adjudication

      The Defendant was present at the No Name Lounge in Panama City, consuming alcohol with other customers, at which time he was escorted out of the bar by management due to the Defendant’s excessive intoxication. This was the second time the Defendant had been escorted out of the No Name Lounge, as once before such occurred within the past few weeks. This time, however, while the No Name Lounge Manager was offering to call a taxi to drive the Defendant home, the Defendant decided to pull a knife on the No Name Lounge’s Manager, all while arguing in the parking lot. Panama City Police arrived and arrested the Defendant for Aggravated Assault with a Knife, a 3rd Degree Felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Following extensive discovery, including numerous depositions, and intense plea negotiations, we were able to secure a Misdemeanor Assault and a Withhold of Adjudication, which means no prison, no jail, no Felony on the Defendant’s record, no loss of civil rights or voting rights, and not even a Misdemeanor conviction since it was a Withhold of Adjudication. The Defendant literally walked away with zero conviction(s) on his Criminal history.

    • Accessary After the Fact to Second Degree Murder - Bay County Early termination of Probation - No Prison Time

      The Defendant was arrested for Accessary After the Fact to Second Degree Murder, as the Defendant drove one of two shooters away from Bay County, all the way down to Central Florida, in an effort to avoid a Murder prosecution. Upon receiving a search warrant for her home, as the shooter had been living with her and the Murder weapon was suspected to be hidden in her house, law enforcement found Cocaine, Marijuana, Phenobarbital, and Drug Paraphernalia. Through extensive discovery and plea negotiations over the course an entire year, we were able to secure only 36 months of Probation, with an early termination of Probation after only 18 months, and a withhold of adjudication on all charges. Thus, the Defendant has no Criminal convictions for any of the offenses listed above, as the State even agreed to dismiss the Cocaine charge. Zero prison was issued, and zero convictions were placed on the Defendant’s Criminal history.

    • 2nd DUI - Panama City Beach Reduced To Reckless Driving

      The Defendant was arrested for his 2nd DUI, as he previously had a DUI conviction from when he was only 18 years old. The traffic stop for his 2nd DUI was made by the Panama City Beach Police Department, and was based merely upon his headlights were off just after pulling out of a popular nightclub in Panama City Beach after 2 am. There was no weaving, no speeding, nor any other basis for the traffic stop. Upon being pulled over, the Defendant refused to provide any breath, blood or urine sample, as well as refused to perform any roadside Field Sobriety Evaluations. However, on the ride to the Bay County Jail, he did state he was sorry for messing up and asked to talk to the police officer off the record. After extensive and intense negotiating with the State for nearly an entire year, including discussions with supervisors in the State Attorney’s Office, we were able to secure a Reckless Driving despite it being the Defendant’s 2nd DUI offense.

    • DUI - Panama City Reduced Reckless Driving With No Jail

      The Defendant had finished drinks at Outback Steakhouse on 23rd Street in Panama City and decided to drive up to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport to pick up a loved one who was flying in that evening. While in the airport parking lot, she backed into another parked vehicle while maneuvering to park. The Defendant left the scene, entered the airport and ordered an alcoholic drink at the bar. Airport Police made contact with her, brought her back to the scene of the accident, informed her a person in the parking lot saw her driving, hit the other vehicle and leave the scene. The Airport Police detected the alcohol and subsequently arrested the Defendant for Driving Under the Influence. The Defendant had a breath alcohol level of 0.12, which is well over the 0.8 legal limit. Through extensive plea negotiations with the State, we were able to secure her a Reckless Driving with no jail, no probation, no DUI School, no Victim Impact Panel, no driver’s license suspension, no ignition interlock device, no community service, no vehicle impound, and no adjudication, as the Court agreed to withhold the adjudication. Therefore, the client did not even have a Criminal conviction on her record, and simply had to pay $550.00 to the Clerk of Court.

    • 3rd Degree Felony of Uttering a Forged Instrument - Jackson County Dismissed

      The Defendant, who was a college student from Kazakhstan, had been in Jackson County while visiting the United States on a J-1 Work Visa. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office received complaints of a group of foreigners visiting truck stops throughout Jackson County, and the entire state of Florida for that matter, engaging in a scheme to defraud. Specifically, the group was Uttering Forged Checks which were supposed to be used by truckers who were in need of funds from their trucking companies. Instead, the forged documents were being used by a group of foreigners. The Defendant was arrested while in a vehicle with a group of other foreigners, and formally charged via an Information for the 3rd Degree Felony of Uttering a Forged Instrument. Though extensive plea negotiations with the State, we were able to secure an outright dismissal of all Criminal charges in exchange for the Defendant being formally deported from the United States and returning home to college in Kazakhstan, which is exactly where the Defendant intended to return just the same. Thus, the Defendant has a completely clean record regarding his time in the United States.

    • Aggravated Battery with a Firearm

      The Defendant was arrested for Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, allegedly having shot her boyfriend in the shoulder during an argument. The Defendant had shot her boyfriend once before on a prior occasion, but was not prosecuted for such. Thus, this was the second time the Defendant had shot her boyfriend. The Defendant was facing at least 25 years in prison, up to Life in prison, per Florida’s 10-20-Life statute. However, through extensive discovery and lengthy plea negotiations with the State, we were able to secure a reduced charge of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and mere probation with a suspended prison sentence, rather than the lengthy mandatory prison sentence required by Florida’s 10-20-Life statute.

    • Burglary with Firearm & Probation Violation Case - Bay County

      The Defendant was subject to an investigation by the Springfield Police Department, and subsequently was formally charged by the Office of the State Attorney with Burglary while Armed with a Firearm, an offense punishable by a minimum of 10 years day for day in prison with no early release, up to a maximum of Life in prison, per Florida’s 10-20-Life statute, and fines up to $15,000. This allegation also violated the Defendant's felony probation, as the Defendant had been on probation for 3rd Degree Felony Grand Theft, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Thus, the Defendant faced a maximum sentence of Life plus five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. In negotiating with the State, we were able to keep the Defendant out of prison all together, having the possible Life sentence felony charge of Burglary while Armed with a Firearm reduced to mere 2nd Degree Felony Burglary, and having the Defendant’s Violation of Probation resolved without prison. By the Defendant working with the State, having an open dialogue between both sides and exchanging pertinent information my client wished to exchange, we were able to resolve the Defendant's case with no prison, receiving only two years of community control, followed by three years of standard probation, as well as required court costs & fines, and other standard conditions.

    • Felony DUI Case - Holmes County

      The Defendant was charged with Felony Driving Under the Influence (3 rd offense – priors) by the Florida Highway Patrol after wrecking his vehicle in Holmes County. The Defendant had two prior DUI convictions, and was driving westbound on Interstate 10 at 8:00 am when his vehicle went off the side of the roadway and landed in the woods, striking a tree. The arresting officer did not suspect a DUI until noticing an ignition interlock device installed in the Defendant's vehicle, as such are common when someone has multiple prior DUI’s so that the individual must blow into the device before driving the vehicle. Suddenly, the arresting officer began a DUI investigation. A blood sample was taken at the hospital, and the Defendant was clean for alcohol, but was found to have Alprazolam in his system. After much negotiating with the State, we were able to secure a misdemeanor Reckless Driving with no driver’s license suspension, no prison and no jail time whatsoever. Such a successful outcome was able to save the Defendant’s career, permitting him to continue traveling for work to care for his family. Such is an example of working through the process, maintaining a reasonable approach when negotiating with the State, and holding credibility through integrity when advising the State to take a closer look when analyzing a particular case to determine what is really going on with the situation.

    • Federal Misdemeanor No Valid Driver's License - Bay County

      The Defendant was an illegal immigrant driving on Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County, Florida at which time he wrecked his vehicle by flipping it upside down in a single car accident. The Defendant had no valid driver's license, nor even a pass from Tyndall to be on base, though he was not behind any gated areas, just on a side street off of US HIghway 98. The military police arrived to the crash scene and cited the Defendant for misdemeanor No Valid Driver's License. With the offense occurring on base, however, the Defendant was required to appear in Federal Court. By working diligently with the United States government, we were able to secure a mere $65.00 fine with no jail, no probation, and no immigration hold, despite the fact the Defendant was in the United States illegally, driving with no valid driver's license on an Air Force base, and did not even have a pass to be driving down the side roads off of US Highway 98.

    • Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and Probation Violation Case - Bay County

      The Defendant had been arrested by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for 2nd Degree Felony Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, for allegedly striking an individual with a baseball bat. Said allegation, as well as an allegation of absconding, led to a Violation of Probation, as the Defendant was already on felony probation for 3rd Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Thus, the Defendant faced up to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. In negotiating with the State, we were able to have the State not pursue (dismiss) the Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and have the Defendant’s Violation of Probation resolved with no prison and no new felony conviction or new conviction at all, despite the absconding allegation being pursued by the State. In fact, by the Defendant working with the State, having an open dialogue between both sides and exchanging pertinent information my client wished to exchange, the Court reinstated the Defendant’s probation with all previous conditions and only a $250.00 court costs & fines assessment, as if no violation occurred with respect to punishment other than paying said court costs & fines.

    • Two Civil Traffic Citations with a Bad Driving Record - Bay County

      The Defendant was traveling northbound on Florida’s State Route 79, near the West Bay Bridge in Bay County, where the speed limit is only 45 miles per hour. Unfortunately for the Defendant, this is a high targeted area for traffic violations, and a Florida Highway Patrolman was running laser radar that afternoon, clocking the Defendant at a rate of 77 mph. Upon getting pulled over, it only became worse for the Defendant, as he was also cited for failing to change his legal name / address on his driver’s license. Thus, he received two civil traffic citations, and had quite a driving record to go with it, including a citation in Bay County as recently as August 2016. The Defendant was concerned with even being able to keep his driver’s license if he received any more points at all on his driving record. Despite all of this, through negotiating with the FHP Trooper, we were able to secure a complete withhold of points on the Defendant’s driver’s license. All the Defendant had to do was pay a monetary fine and complete a basic driver’s course. The Defendant was able to keep his driver’s license after all.

    • Lewd & Lascivious Molestation upon an Elderly Adult in Bay County

      The Defendant was charged with Lewd & Lascivious Molestation upon an Elderly Adult in Bay County. Specifically, the Defendant worked for a local ambulance company, and was transporting a disabled adult. While in the back of the ambulance, the Defendant was alleged to have molested the disabled woman’s breast and nipple areas, as the Defendant was moaning in pleasure while receiving sexual gratification from the act. The victim was under tremendous medication, but was coming into and out of consciousness. The victim managed to view the Defendant’s name tag, and reported such upon arrival at the hospital. DNA testing was inconclusive from inside of the victim’s sports bra. Of course, the Defendant failed a lie detector test at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, though such is not admissible in Court. Despite having no prior criminal history, an offense of this nature, by itself, provides more than enough points to require prison per the Florida Scoresheet. Through extensive plea negotiations, we were able to secure a plea which allowed the Defendant to be placed on probation, as the State agreed to remove certain enhancement points assessed for sexual contact, and allow the Defendant to avoid any prison or jail time. The Defendant is not even on Community Control (i.e. house arrest), as the Defendant received probation despite the seriousness of the offense.

    • Multiple Drug Charges Case - Bay County

      The Defendant was on vacation with friends when she was arrested by the Panama City Police Department for numerous drug offenses, including being formally charged by the Office of the State Attorney for 1st Degree Felony Trafficking in Oxycodone with 4 grams to 14 grams (punishable up to 30 years in prison and a minimum mandatory day for day prison sentence of three years and mandatory $50,000 fine), 1st Degree Felony Trafficking in Hydrocodone with 4 grams to 14 grams (punishable up to 30 years in prison and a minimum mandatory day for day prison sentence of three years and mandatory $50,000 fine), 3rd Degree Felony Possession of Bath Salts (MDPV) with Intent to Sell or Distribute (punishable up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine), 3rd Degree Felony Possession of Amphetamine (punishable up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine), 3rd Degree Felony Possession of Oxymorphone (punishable up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine),3rd Degree Possession of Hydromorphone (punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine) and First Degree Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (punishable up to one year in the Bay County Jail and a $1,000 fine). As such, the Defendant faced up to 80 years in prison and one year in the Bay County Jail, with a minimum mandatory three year day for day prison sentence for Trafficking in Oxycodone (4 grams to 14 grams) and a separate minimum mandatory three year day for day prison sentence for Trafficking in Hydrocodone (4 grams to 14 grams). The Defendant also faced up to $121,000 in fines, with a minimum mandatory fine of $50,000 for each of the trafficking offenses (i.e. at least $100,000 mandatory fines between those two drug trafficking charges). In negotiating with the State, we were able to achieve a resolution which consisted of no prison and no mandatory minimum drug trafficking fines. The State agreed to reduce the Trafficking of Oxycodone and Trafficking of Hydrocodone to 2nd Degree Felony Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute the Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, and have the Defendant plea to the remaining original charges, with the Defendant receiving 10 years of regular probation (not even a drug offender probation) and the standard court costs & fines (no mandatory minimum trafficking fines or prison). Again, the Defendant received no prison, no mandatory drug trafficking fines, not even house arrest. Furthermore, the Defendant received time served on all charges except for the Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute of Oxycodone and Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute of Hydrocodone, meaning should she violate her felony probation, her potential prison exposure was cut by 20 years since she received time served on the four remaining felonies, and no jail exposure on the misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia either since such was time served as well. Thus, she is only on probation for Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute Oxycodone and Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute Hydrocodone.

    • Client Found Not Guilty of Violation of Probation on Life Felony – Gulf County

      Prior to hiring Attorney Sauline, the Defendant had been convicted years ago of 2 nd Degree Murder, a Life felony in Gulf County, and served prison time followed by Felony Probation. While on probation, the Defendant was arrested in Bay County for Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Use), and Permitting an Unauthorized Person to Drive (i.e. knowingly letting someone without a driver’s license drive the Defendant’s vehicle). These criminal charges, along with failing to pay Court costs and fines, resulted in a Violation of Probation in Gulf County. The Defendant faced Life in prison as a maximum punishment for the violation. The Circuit Court in Gulf County chose to proceed to an Evidentiary Hearing for the Violation of Probation, rather than waiting for the Bay County criminal charges to be resolved in a Bay County Courtroom. Following an Evidentiary Hearing on the Violation of Probation, which was prosecuted by the “Major Crimes Division” of the Office of the State Attorney for the 14 th Judicial Circuit, the Circuit Court in Gulf County found the Defendant Not Guilty of all allegations, including Not Guilty of even failing to pay her Court costs and fines. Instead of receiving up to Life in prison, the Defendant was home with her family that evening and the Gulf County Violation of Probation was dismissed, with probation reinstated in Gulf County to all previous terms.

    • Traffic Citation Dismissed - Bay County

      Client was issued a speeding ticket on April 23, 2015 for speeding in a school zone. The client volunteers with a local charity, one which offers assistance to those suffering during their final days of life, and was on her way from doing such work to a volunteer meeting. With her mind on her volunteer work, the Client did not notice she had entered a school zone, and was cited by Panama City Police for speeding in a school zone. Upon retaining our law office, we filed our standard pleadings, such as Notice of Appearance, Written Plea of Not Guilty & Demand for Traffic Hearing, as well as our Discovery demand, serving said documents upon the law enforcement officer who issued the citation. As the process moved along, we were given a contested hearing date of July 7, 2015. However, on June 26 th, 2015, the Officer had a change of heart, requesting the Court dismiss the citation. It was great to see law enforcement recognize the client’s dedication to her volunteer work with those suffering their final moments on this Earth, allowing the matter to be dismissed at his own request once evaluating the entire situation.

    • Possession of Semi-Automatic Firearm - U.S. District Court, N. District of FL

      Defendant was arrested while on a United States Naval Base in Panama City Beach for allegedly being in Possession of a Semi-Automatic Firearm with Ammunition, in violation of 18 USC 930, Federal Code. Such is punishable by up to one year of incarceration, as well as fines. After retaining our office to represent him, and negotiations with the Federal government, we were able to secure a Dismissal of any and all charges by the Assistant United States Attorney per Rule 48(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, thereby permitting the Defendant to walk free with no plea required, no fines, no probation, no incarceration, and no conviction on his criminal history. Thus, the Defendant has a clean record with respect to this arrest and prosecution of this firearm offense alleged to have taken place on a Naval Base, and prosecuted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida – Panama City Division. Such is an example of the success which occurs through reasonable discussions and negotiations with the Federal Government on behalf of our clients, respecting the position of the government while advocating for our clients.

    • DUI Involving Accident - Washington County

      Our client was charged by the Florida Highway Patrol with Driving Under the Influence following a crash of his vehicle. Upon arriving at the scene of the single vehicle crash, the Trooper observed our client outside of his vehicle, wandering around looking for his lost dog. Never did the Trooper observe our client behind the wheel of his vehicle. During the civil crash investigation, the Trooper obtained a statement from our client, at which time our client admitted to driving the vehicle involved in the wreck. Upon concluding the civil crash investigation, the same Trooper announced he was beginning his criminal investigation for Driving Under the Influence. The Trooper, however, forgot to once again ask the client who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Florida Statute 316.066(4) prohibits self-incriminating statements made during a civil crash investigation from being admitted during a criminal prosecution, as law enforcement must “change hats” by announcing the initiation of a criminal investigation and then once again ask the same question(s). Therefore, with no admission statement and the Trooper never having seen our client behind the wheel, the Driving Under the Influence single vehicle accident case was dismissed in its entirety. This is an example of the importance in hiring an attorney who focuses 100% of his caseload on Criminal Defense, knowing the technicalities of Florida DUI law.

    • Drug Trafficking & Probation Violation Case - Bay County

      30-Mar-2015

    • Drug Trafficking & Firearms Possession Case - Washington County

      Defendant was charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine, more than 14 grams but less than 28 grams, a First Degree Felony offense for which there is a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison, and a mandatory fine of $50,000. Law enforcement also charged the Defendant with being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, a Second Degree Felony Offense which is punishable up to 15 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison. Despite the Defendant having 12 prior felony convictions, and the Federal government considering bringing firearm charges on their own in United States District Court, our office was able to have the entire matter dismissed following a Motion to Dismiss, as the State had no DNA or fingerprints implicating our client, nor any admission statements or statements from anyone at all implying the drugs and gun belonged to the client. There was never any actual possession of these items, as the gun was under a sofa cushion outside of plain view and the drugs were in a bag on the other side of another individual sitting on the couch, not even next to our client. The bag was not clear, and no drugs were in plain view. Such is an example of the success which occurs through proper investigation of a Criminal matter using the tools of discovery provided to a Defendant under the Rules of Criminal Procedure.