DeThomasis & Buchanan, PA
Please Call : 352-378-1107
In 1989, attorneys Craig DeThomasis and Michael Buchanan began their professional association together in the private practice of criminal defense in Gainesville, Florida, after working together at the Office of the Public Defender for the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 1994, the law firm of DeThomasis & Buchanan, PA was formed and devoted to defending individuals charged with criminal misconduct in the state courts of Florida. Barbara Blount-Powell joined the firm in 2001 after practicing criminal law for sixteen years at the Office of the Public Defender for the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
The criminal defense attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan practice law exclusively in the Gainesville Florida area and have not merely opened a "branch" office in Gainesville. Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers in the Gainesville Area The criminal defense attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan are all ranked as "superb" and "preeminent" by Florida Bar approved independant lawyer rating organizations.
Each of the firm’s attorneys, Craig DeThomasis, Michael Buchanan and Barbara Blount-Powell, have practiced criminal defense for more than twenty-five years in Gainesville, Florida and the surrounding areas, including Alachua, Bradford, Levy, Union and Gilchrist Counties. Each attorney cares deeply about providing competent and effective legal representation to individuals facing governmental prosecution. Their combined experience, along with the assistance of a full time staff, can be relied upon to provide representation for individuals in all types of criminal litigation, from the least serious to the most complex.
A Gainesville Law Firm Devoted to Criminal Defense The lawyers in the DeThomasis & Buchanan firm have actual experience representing individuals in all types of criminal cases, and proceedings related to criminal cases, including the following:
Underage Alcohol Possession
Burglary, Domestic Violence
Drug Sale or Possession
DUI and related DMV hearings
Firearm and Weapon Offenses
Injunctions, Homicide, Robbery
Violation of Probation or Community Control and University of Florida Disciplinary Proceedings.
Contact a Gainesville criminal defense attorney from the DeThomasis & Buchanan law firm to protect your rights and fight for your freedom in court.
Please Call : 352-378-1107Michael R. BuchananEDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
Born and raised in the state of Florida, Michael attended Oviedo High School where he was Student Body President from 1976-1977. While attending Oviedo High School, Michael was captain of the debate team, winning first place in the state of Florida District Three Interscholastic Debate Tournament in 1975, 1976 and 1977. In 1976, he was awarded first place in Lincoln/Douglas debate for the South Eastern United States Region during the Bicentennial Youth debates.
Michael Buchanan attended college at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where he majored in Political Science. He attended UCF on scholarship for debate where he competed nationally in 1979 and 1980. In 1980, he was on one of only 56 teams nationally invited to attended the National Debate Tournament which was held in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from UCF, Magna Cum Laude, June 12, 1981.
Michael Buchanan attended the University of Florida College of Law. While in Law School he was selected to be a member of the Justice Campbell Thornall National Moot Court Board and was recognized as a outstanding senior member of the moot court team in 1984. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Law on May 5, 1984.
NATURE OF LEGAL WORK EXPERIENCE
For more than twenty-five years, Michael Buchanan’s practice of law has been primarily devoted to criminal defense. Criminal Defense represents 90% of the cases handled by Michael. He has previously represented citizens charged with first degree murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, grand theft, forgery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, drug sale, delivery, possession and numerous other criminal felony and misdemeanor offenses. Michael Buchanan has tried as lead counsel numerous jury and nonjury trials. Michael has actual jury trial experience handling cases where individuals have been charged with attempted murder, sexual battery, armed robbery, car jacking, child abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, resisting officer with violence, burglary, drug sale, drug possession, DUI (driving under the influence), battery, domestic violence and petit theft.
Since 1868, generations of lawyers have relied on the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory as an authoritative guide to the American legal profession. The Martindale-Hubbell database is regarded as a primary research source for information and ratings of law firms and attorneys around the world. Gainesville criminal defense attorney Michael R. Buchanan’s rating is AV - the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell. According to Martindale-Hubbell, an "AV rating indicates very high to preeminent legal ability and very high ethical standards as established by confidential opinions from members of the Bar." Click here to view Martindale-Hubbell’s online rating of Michael R. Buchanan.
The Florida Bar has also approved the use of "Avvo" and its rating service as another tool to assist people to make the best decisions for their legal needs. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers elements such as years of experience, education, disciplinary history, professional achievement, and industry recognition. Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Buchanan's Avvo rating is "superb". Click here to view Avvo's online rating of Michael R. Buchanan.
JURISDICTIONS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW
State of Florida
Federal, Northern District Court of Florida
Federal, Middle District Court of Florida
President 1992, Eighth Judicial Circuit Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Secretary/Treasurer 1991, Eighth Judicial Circuit Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Board of Directors 1993, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member, Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar, 1989 - present
Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1990 - present
Member, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1990 - present
Member, Eighth Judicial Circuit Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1990 - present
Legal Panel Member, American Civil Liberties Union, 1989 - 1993
Member, Alachua County Jail Population Task Force, appointed by Circuit Chief Judge Robert Cates, 1996
Member, Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee "B", 1993 - 1996
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
The law firm of DeThomasis and Buchanan encourages its personnel to advance their education and participate in programs which address the needs of its clients. In an effort to provide the most effective representation in a changing legal environment, the following courses are representative of the commitment to advancement of that education. Michael Buchanan has attended the following continuing legal education programs:
Florida Public Defender Association Conferences, Summer 1986, 1987
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Fall Seminar 1989, 1990, 1992; Summer 1990, 1992
"Life over Death" Death Penalty Conference Fall 1990, Winter 1992, Fall 1996, Fall 1998
Appellate Practice Pointers 1995; Eighth Judicial Circuit Chapter-FACDL
Grievance Committee Institute 1996
Survey of Florida Law - The Florida Bar 1997
University of Florida Professionalism Seminar - Criminal Law Group Discussion Leader 1999
Death in Different IX - Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, February 2003
Criminal Law Certification Review - Florida Bar/FACDL; 2003
Professionalism for Criminal Law - April 2003
Kids, Cops, and the Courts - April 2003
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 17th Annual Seminar 2004
Criminal Law Certification Review - October 2005
Ethics of Establishing the Client Relationship - April 2006
Case Evaluation and Selection (Instructor) - November 2007
Blood, Breath and Tears XV - DUI Seminar - September 2008
Ethical Issues in Criminal Law - March 2009
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 21st Annual Seminar - 2009
University of Florida Professionalism Seminar - Criminal Law Group Discussion Leader, April 2011
Eyewitness Identification, Litigation Training, January 2012
Masters of DUI 2012, The Florida Bar, April 2012
2012 Criminal Law Certification Review, April 2012
HOBBIES AND NONLEGAL INTERESTS
Michael R. Buchanan is an avid gardener who is often found pruning his plants and pulling weeds. His green thumb is widely recognized by his friends and neighbors. Michael is often found at the beach, camping, fishing or creating three dimensional mosaic art in his home art studio. A newspaper article appeared in the June 13, 2004 issue of the Gainesville Sun on Michael's mosaics titled "Gainesville lawyer Michael Buchanan is also an accomplished 3-D mosaic artist" Click here to read the article.Criminal Traffic Offenses
There are many traffic offenses which are prosecuted in the criminal courts which carry significant penalties and can significantly impact your driving privileges. Each of the attorneys at our firm has the experience to represent your interests in any of the various traffic offenses which are prosecuted in the criminal courts.
The criminal offense of reckless driving is governed by Florida Statute Section 316.192. Reckless driving can be alleged even if no traffic accident occurred. Instead, the offense alleges that you drove your vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of another person or property.
If you are convicted of reckless driving, you will receive (4) points on your driving record which can cause a serious increase in your insurance premiums, as well as a criminal record. However, the Court does have the option to “withhold adjudication”. If so, you will not receive any points on your Florida driving record or be “convicted” of the offense.
- For a first offense of reckless driving, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to 90 days, and a fine of $500.00.
- For a second offense or subsequent conviction for reckless driving, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to six (6) months and a fine of i$1,000. It is important that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney who has previously provided representation to individuals facing a charge of reckless driving and can provide you with the most effective defense.
Fleeing or Attempt to Elude an Officer
The criminal charge of fleeing and eluding is a serious criminal charge with serious penalties under Florida law. Unlike other felony offenses, the court is not allowed to withhold adjudication for the felony offense of fleeing and attempting to elude.
Additionally, the police may be able to criminally forfeit your vehicle unless you act quickly. An experienced criminal defense attorney can investigate defenses that exist in your case and provide you with the necessary advice and counsel when facing such a serious charge.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident or crash, commonly referred to as “hit and run”, is a serious criminal offense under Florida law with serious sanctions. In addition to huge fines and possible jail or prison time, the court can order a revocation or suspension of your Florida driver’s license. Even if you are able to avoid a suspension or revocation (depending on the type of offense) any charge of “leaving the scene” or “hit and run” in Florida can cause your auto insurance premiums to increase dramatically for many years to come if you are convicted of this offense.
Different statutes under Florida law address the criminal offense of leaving the scene of a crash depending on whether another occupied vehicle was involved, the extent of the property damage, and whether any personal injury or serious bodily injury was reported.
If you are being investigated for such an offense, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to making any statements to anyone.
Racing on Highways (Street Racing)
Racing on the highway or “street racing” as it is often called is a misdemeanor criminal traffic offense governed by Florida statutes. Racing can involve any number of different types of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, or SUV’s. A conviction for street racing carries considerable penalties including fines, possible jail time, suspension of your drivers license, and ultimately increased insurance premiums.
Subsequent or repeat convictions carry increased penalties and may even result in forfeiture of your vehicle.
Drivers, passengers, and in many instances spectators, can be charged with a violation of this statute. It is imperative that you obtain legal representation to defend against such a charge.
The attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan have the knowledge and experience to provide you with effective representation if you are charged with a racing offense.
Vehicular Homicide and Vehicle Manslaughter
The alleged crimes of vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter are quite serious and require a thorough investigation, assistance of forensic experts, and an experienced law firm to successfully present a defense.
It is important to retain the services of a law firm with the knowledge and experience to effectively conduct a proper investigation and to coordinate all phases of protecting your rights and presenting a defense.
At the law firm of DeThomasis & Buchanan, we take a team approach to the investigating and preparing of a defense to charges involving vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter.
Early retention of capable legal counsel is crucial to the preservation of helpful evidence and appropriate responses to law enforcement and insurance company inquiries. The potential consequences of vehicular homicide and manslaughter offenses include significant fines, years of imprisonment, and loss of driving privileges. Many times there are also civil lawsuits which arise that must be defended against as well. Our firm has the experience to defend you against any criminal charges and routinely works and coordinates efforts with the civil defense attorneys protecting your interests as well.Murder & Manslaughter
Criminal charges involving the death of another person are some of the most difficult and demanding to defend against. It is essential that a person who is accused in such a situation seek immediate advice and counsel of an experienced homicide attorney.
Each of the attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan, P.A. have defended numerous cases involving accusations of murder or manslaughter. Cases of this nature are always handled by more than one attorney and each of our attorneys has been defending persons accused of capital crimes for greater than 25 years.
The State typically assigns very experienced law enforcement officers and prosecutors to investigate, prosecute and handle homicide cases. Law enforcement typically utilizes very advanced technology and forensic "science" when they conduct homicide investigations and prosecutions. It is, therefore, critical and vital to retain an extremely experienced and reputable homicide criminal defense lawyer to defend these type of cases.
The firm of DeThomasis & Buchanan has experience representing persons accused of all levels of homicide at the trial court and post-conviction levels and of working closely with our own investigators, mental-health professionals, and other experts to prepare a defense.Expungement & Sealing of Criminal History Records
A criminal arrest can impair your life in many ways. Your criminal arrest history can be viewed by anyone because it is contained within Florida’s public records. Any time you apply for a job prospective employers can see your entire criminal history which can impact their hiring decision. This is also true for any housing or educational opportunities you may plan on pursuing.
Fortunately, Florida law allows for either sealing or expunging an official criminal record in cases that did not result in conviction.
Although the specific requirements for either the sealing or expungement process are different, both procedures allow a person the right to deny having been arrested or charged with a crime. The sealing process results in the file actually being placed under seal and removed from public access; the expungement process results in physical destruction of the file maintained by the Clerk of Court.
There are several offenses which are exempt from these procedures and several exceptions regarding your ability to lawfully deny the existence of an arrest or charge after it has been successfully sealed or expunged. A knowledgeable attorney who has pursued this remedy for previous clients will be able to determine your eligibility and can best advise you whether you should consider pursuing this procedure.
The attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan have represented numerous individuals who have successfully obtained either a sealing or expungement of their criminal history enabling them to proceed through life without the hindrance of a criminal record.Theft & FraudTheft may include the outright taking of property with the intent to keep it (such as shoplifting) or the temporary “borrowing” or use of property with no intent to keep the property (“joyriding”). Theft may be charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail, all the way up to a first degree felony punishable by 30 years, depending on the circumstances. The level and penalty for the crime charged may depend on the amount, value, or the type of property taken, the vulnerability of the victim, or the prior history of the alleged offender. “Property” may be an object, money, or an idea, like a trade secret.
Fraud, a form of theft, involves obtaining property by deceit, such as the providing of false information in a commercial transaction to obtain property or information.
Both criminal allegations can be deeply embarrassing and damaging to reputations and livelihoods.
How may a Gainesville theft and fraud attorney assist you with a charge of theft or fraud?
Retaining a knowledgeable and experienced attorney early in the process may resolve misunderstandings or uncover important facts in an accused’s defense. Diversion and restitution solutions may be negotiated early to avoid criminal liability. Overly aggressive law enforcement may be calmed with prompt provision of exculpatory information and a criminal prosecution diverted to a more appropriate place for civil dispute resolution.
Hire an experienced and competent Gaineville theft or fraud defense lawyer at DeThomasis and Buchanan to protect your rights, ensure accountability of the prosecution and preserve your defenses.