You CAN change your life

You hired a hitman? He bought a house for his girlfriend? She drained your bank accounts? In over 30 years, we have heard it all. Better yet, Joseph Registrato is a Marine Combat Veteran who fights smart, fights hard, and measures the costs of war with compassion.

Divorce is not a dirty word. It is sometimes the only way out of a relationship that has grown toxic for everyone involved, including, but often overlooked, the children. Mr. Registrato often reminds us at the Tampa Legal Team that if you can help a child in a tough situation, you change the world.

It takes courage to change your life. If Divorce is the change you need, call Mr. Registrato for a free consultation. Some unpleasantries can be avoided easily with a veteran lawyer in the driver seat. Let us help you get into and out of this fight with the fewest scars.  Let’s change your life. 813.247.1900.

Never Surrender

“Never Surrender” is a byword of the Tampa Legal Team. This is because we believe that perseverance is the best course when fighting for a cause. We have no fear of the courts. The courts, the great arbiters of truth and justice, have once again come through for America. It is the courts that continue to Make America Great.

Pandemic Time Sharing

Why would you include a Pandemic Time Sharing Clause in your Parenting Plan? Until March 2020, this was definitely not something on most people’s minds. But like any Time Sharing provision, co-parents have found themselves embattled over sometimes minor disputes. Well this IS something, now. If you have establish some trust with your co-parent over this pandemic, excellent. You are not in the majority. If you are on-edge or uneasy about the potential disputes as the days and weeks linger, you are not alone. More alarming, if you have concerns about the health and safety of your children and your family because of this pandemic because of your time-sharing plan, do not suffer silently. Your greatest responsibility is your family. Never Surrender your kids to harm or fear.

These days courts are really relying on parents to reach resolutions and solve issues on their own. Lawyers had not always encouraged it for a variety of reasons. Court can often lead parents to agree. Perhaps concerns over Health & Safety has replaced the fear of losing in court. So teaching some agreement ahead of a crisis is the key. It can also become enforceable as a temporary measure, without fear you are giving up or taking something permanently. You should have a lawyer help craft the agreement to protect the health & safety of your children sooner than later. This could be an agreed upon suspension of Time Sharing. It could be less back and forth. It could adjust for new schedules, schoolwork, travel restrictions, internet, telephone, and video interactions, etc. Our significant concern is that our clients will suffer silently. Many of these concerns can be avoided and negotiated, then solidified in the event of a dispute, while we all ride out the pandemic.

Alternatively, some children are really exposed to more health and safety risks with the spread of the coronavirus, specifically CoVid-19. In these circumstances, you may be seeking relief from the Court on time sharing. Some of the stories we are hearing are real emergencies. Some parents are learning that a 7-year-old child is being left home alone by a co-parent because daycares are closed. In some circumstances, the Department of Children and Families is threatening to place children in Foster Care unless the protective parent takes steps to intervene, assist, or modify the current time-sharing arrangement. These may be emergencies that require immediate court action but often times cooler heads can prevail with a temporary time sharing modification.

We will survive the pandemic. There are a lot of stressors in the lives of many at the moment. A parenting plan is designed to add predictability in the event parents cannot agree on the best interests of the children. Our Lawyers are currently available 24/7 to discuss the Health & Safety of your children in this pandemic. These calls are complimentary and confidential. If you need to retain our services during this pandemic, we are offering reduced rates to help ease the stress and anxiety of your concerns. As Tampa Legal Team Partner, Joseph J. Registrato, Esq. says, “we really do try to make it so people can afford us when times are tough.” The number to call is 813-247-1900.

Home Crisis Intervention – CoViD-19

Tampa Legal Team Offers Intervention during Domestic Violence Incidents Brought on by Corona Virus crisis.  

            In response to warnings that stress caused by the coronavirus crisis will spur an increase in domestic violence, the Tampa Legal Team is offering a special service to families, victims and others who may be affected during the crisis. 

            The Tampa Legal Team is offering to intervene during any potentially dangerous domestic violence incident with free advice and counseling in an effort to prevent injuries and avoid criminal charges that may include child and spouse abuse.  Call 24-7 for free advice before injury or violence is imminent, during this crisis period.   If further legal assistance is needed for those that call Tampa Legal Team, a reduced hourly rate and retainer agreement, as low as 50-per-cent off, is offered.  This will apply to domestic violence injunctions and/or representation in criminal or civil matters such as battery charges or divorce.     

             The number to call 24 hours a day seven days a week is 813-247-1900.   Additional information about domestic violence in general is available on the firm’s website at

            Tampa Legal Team partner Jeffery Marshall said, “By intervention we mean getting involved in your situation, whatever is going on. This is based on having represented clients in domestic-violence injunctions, misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases, child custody cases, and child dependency proceedings.  Strategies may include leaving the home temporarily, willingness to mediate between participants, ways to disengage with aggressors, and whatever it takes to offer alternatives to violence.”

By intervention we mean getting involved in your situation… and whatever it takes to offer alternatives to violence.

            The Washington Post on Friday reported that domestic violence advocates in communities from Washington, D. C. to Washington State have begun to sound the alarm over the danger caused by stress brought on by the virus.

            The Post quoted Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  “We know that when there’s added stress in the home it can increase the frequency and severity of abuse.  We’re trying to prepare survivors for that,” Ray-Jones said.

Never Surrender

Why We Say Never Surrender

It may seem simpler to take the path of least resistance, give in to what appears to be overwhelming odds, settle the case, accept a tempting offer.  While this decision may provide temporary relief from the stress and uncertainty of a legal battle, we inevitably wonder whether a fight to the finish would have been the wiser course.  This is doubly true when the cause is righteous.  

We unabashedly take our inspiration from the following, a speech given by Winston Churchill in 1940 on the eve of World War II.  He told the world:  

“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

Mandatory Jail for Suspended License

From the Tampa Legal Team News Service

Now drivers with suspended licenses face mandatory jail for driving.  Judges lose discretion at the hands of the Florida Legislature.
Photo by Donald Tong on

               A whole raft of new laws is coming into effect on October 1, 2019, as part of the Criminal Justice reform bill that was passed by the legislature in July.  Getting the most attention are measures that are being applauded as forward thinking and progressive, providing for alternatives to incarceration, new drug courts and other means that take into consideration mental health and substance abuse problems of those being released from prison.

One of the new laws that will get unanimous support allows veterinarians to report suspected incidents of animal abuse.  Why didn’t somebody think of that before?

               While most of the news laws look to be forward-thinking, progressive measures  which call for less jail time and give more discretion to judges, one of the news laws that is not being talked about much appears to require more incarceration, not less, and takes away discretion of judges when dealing with misdemeanor driving cases.

               A version of what are called the Laws of Florida, Chapter 2019-167, and on October 1, 2019 will go into effect as Florida Statute 322.34 that has been edited to get right to the point states as follows:

               “(2) Any person whose driver license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked… or who does not have a driver license or driving privilege…who, knowing of such cancellation, suspension, or revocation, or suspension or revocation equivalent status, drives a motor vehicle…commits:

               (b)          1. A misdemeanor of the first degree … upon a second or subsequent conviction…

                              2. A person convicted of a third or subsequent conviction, except as provided in paragraph (c), must serve a minimum of 10 days in jail.”

               The statute goes on to say that under some circumstances, a third or subsequent conviction of driving while license suspended may be charged as a felony.  But if upon a third conviction it is not charged as a felony, the defendant must go to jail for ten days.

               Lawyers and judges in county court are faced with the problem of handing out justice to misdemeanants and traffic offenders.  In contrast to circuit court, where more serious, often violent offenders reside, persons charged with misdemeanors are frequently wrestling with difficulties of a much more mundane existence.

While a driver’s license may be suspended for committed a serious offense such as driving under the influence, a driver’s license may also be suspended for failure to pay traffic fines or falling behind on child support.  If a traffic fine is not paid within a certain time period, the fine is increased by a whopping 40 per cent, which often puts the fine out of reach for some defendants.

               Faced with bills to pay and children to feed, people often take the risk of driving without a license just to keep their job, and if caught take the risk of being placed on probation.  Even a cursory observation of daily life in county court would show that defense lawyers, judges, even prosecutors, try hard to find alternatives to incarceration.

               Enter the Florida legislature.  Now, upon a third conviction of driving while license suspended, you MUST go to jail for TEN DAYS.  

               COMMENTARY:  The legislature should be commended on the 2019 version of the Crime Reform Act.  It is a solid effort to move forward on many issues, including mass incarceration, treatment of juveniles and non-violent offenders.  However, of the three branches of government, it is this lawyer’s opinion that the judiciary tries the hardest to uphold the Constitution and staunchly refuses to give in to political pressure or the whims of lobbyists.   If a person in government should hold the power of incarceration over a citizen, it ought to be a man or woman wearing a robe and blindfold.     

Changes to Marijuana Prosecutions in Hillsborough County

From the Tampa Legal Team: News you can use. Memo has gone out from Andrew H. Warren, State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit regarding changes to marijuana prosecutions in Hillsborough County, as follows:

“Effective immediately, our office will not file charges nor prosecute any cannabis case with an offense date on or after July 1, 2019 without a scientifically reliable, admissible test that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance contains a THC level above the 0.3% threshold that distinguishes illegal cannabis from legal hemp. Among cannabis-related offenses, our office will continue to prioritize felonies: trafficking, manufacturing, delivery, sale, possession with intent, and felony-amount possession cases, while continuing to deprioritize the prosecution of misdemeanor cannabis cases in favor of established diversion and civil citation programs. Also, we will continue to prioritize the prosecution of cannabis-related felonies in which other felonies are part of the same transaction or occurrence, such as [a] felon in possession of a firearm or offenses involving other controlled substances.”

State Attorney Andrew H. WArren, 13th Judicial Circuit, Florida.

Joe’s Commentary on Changes to Marijuana Prosecutions:

This memo is too important to make light of or over emphasize. It’s just one defense lawyer’s opinion, but I think Mr. Warren has struck a blow for fairness and equality and ought to be applauded for the depth and quality thought that is behind the broad philosophy expressed therein. I for one think it will make a real difference in our community.

Plain Smell problems

Lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers have been wrestling with the fine points of the “plain view” exception to the warrant requirement since around 1980, but as sometimes happens, the doctrine has grown to include “plain feel” cases and most notably for the hemp v. marijuana discussion, “plain smell” cases.

Continue reading “Changes to Marijuana Prosecutions in Hillsborough County”

Tampa Legal Team is Opening for Business

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After working for the past five years for the terrific office of the Public Defender led by the indefatigable defender of rights of the accused Julianne M. Holt, the law office of Joseph J. Registrato is relaunching as of Thursday, September 5th, 2019. The new firm name is Tampa Legal Team and we are opening for business accepting both criminal law and family law clients across Tampa Bay.

Our new website is up and running and friends and former clients are welcome to come in and look us up. We’re preparing some innovations and even adding a face or two to the practice in the near future, so don’t be shy. Connect with us on Facebook or even give us a call and say hello!

Against all odds, we have been able to maintain our old telephone number, 813-247-1900, and we try to answer that number 24-7, although if you happen to call when we’re away please leave a message and somebody will get back to you pronto.

We remain at 2607 N. 15th Street, in Ybor City, which is almost at the corner of 15th Street and Columbus Drive and almost directly across the street from the famous La Segunda Bakery, which is responsible for making most all the Cuban bread to Tampa, Florida, every day, a fairly tall order.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood at 4 or 5 a.m., you can catch a whiff of the great smells emanating from the bakery and see hordes of Cuban bread devotees streaming in and out carrying huge bags loaded to the brim with those long heavenly loaves. Definitely check out their website as they have included a short video about their history in Ybor.

Should I Represent Myself in Court?

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The question comes up in many cases of so-called minor crimes and misdemeanors. “Can’t I represent myself?”

My answer is that no person should represent himself or herself in a civil or criminal case. It’s just too difficult and specialized and so many regret the decision. There’s an old saying, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” I would expand on that to read: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client and a fool for a lawyer.” I don’t know how many times I have been asked this question. “Can I do it myself?” I usually respond by asking if they had a notion to fly to the moon, would they take up a wrench and screwdriver and start building a rocket ship?

Here are some reasons PEOPLE should not represent THEMSELVES IN COURT:

1. The criminal justice system is a world you’re not expecting.

Some people believe they can walk into court and explain things to a fair and compassionate judge and things will work out for the best. This is wrong on so many counts it’s hard to know where to start.

Continue reading “Should I Represent Myself in Court?”