Santa Rosa County Florida

Criminal Defense Attorney in Santa Rosa

DUI & Criminal defense lawyers in the local area are very familiar with Santa Rosa County’s aging courthouse located in Milton, FL. Santa Rosa County, along with Okaloosa, Escambia, and Walton counties, is part of the four (4) county First Judicial Circuit.

Both misdemeanors and felonies are handled in the Milton, Florida, courthouse, and there are two (2) County Court (misdemeanor) divisions and one (1) combined Circuit Court division primarily handled by a single Circuit Court Judge.

Although roughly the size of neighboring Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County was the last county in the circuit to allow the sale of alcohol, and later, the sale of “hard” alcohol. This cultural difference is profound, and despite a growth in population for the past several decades, has resulted in jury pools more likely to oppose alcohol on religious or moral grounds. Picking a jury for DUI and other alcohol-related cases takes even more care than usual.

Your DUI and criminal defense attorney will need to be very familiar with Santa Rosa County’s community. Entire jury pools for DUI or BUI cases have been filled with supposed “peers” who oppose alcohol for religious or moral reasons.

The main cities and communities within Santa Rosa County are:

  • Milton
  • Navarre Beach
  • Pace
  • Gulf Breeze
  • Oriole Beach
  • Jay
  • Munson
  • Bagdad

Many unwary tourists are arrested as a result of traffic stops in the Gulf Breeze area. Many locals consider Gulf Breeze, Florida to be a “speed trap” since aggressive law enforcement of traffic laws is common during the tourist seasons.

Common Crimes in Santa Rosa County, Florida

In the year 2019, there were 6,477 total arrests in Santa Rosa County, Florida, compared to the previous year when there were 7,532 total arrests. From 2018 to 2019, there was also a reduction in total index offenses, going from 2,059 down to 1,885 the next year. Most offenses fall under Part II Offense arrests, which include driving under the influence (DUI), disorderly conduct, liquor offenses, simple assault, forgery and counterfeiting, drug offenses, and many others.

Areas of Practice

At Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm we strive to provide the best defense possible for all of our clients and to protect their rights. We aggressively ensure that the prosecution has sufficiently proved the charges. We guide our clients through the complexities of the legal system and prepare them for what they are up against. Our criminal defense practice areas include:

Santa Rosa County Criminal Defense Resources

How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

A conviction comes with many different consequences, including fines and even the revocation of certain civil rights and privileges, such as your driver’s license. But a conviction can also come up in the public record when an employer or landlord is doing a background check on you. It is the job of the criminal defense lawyer to negotiate the best deal possible for their client, or plea bargain. We fight hard against the prosecutor to reduce your sentence and maybe even illuminate some or all of the charges against you.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the commonly-asked questions we receive at Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm. However, we know that with the complexities of these cases that it is hard to answer every question about criminal defense law. That’s why we strongly encourage you to call our office to schedule your free consultation so we can speak with you directly about your criminal conviction or upcoming court date.

Do I have to talk to the officer when I am being arrested?

With the exception of information to identify yourself (i.e. your name), there is no state or federal law that says that you have to talk to law enforcement officers or anyone else for that matter. In fact, it’s best to say less. You cannot be punished for refusing to talk to the police. 

What should I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?

If you missed a court date or believe that you may be under investigation for a crime, then you need to surrender yourself to the police, but keep our number handy so you can call us. Voluntarily surrendering yourself is a preferable method to having officers arrest you by surprise. The judge and the court will be much more willing to work with you if you surrender yourself.

Next, it is important for you to call us. We can then guide you through what to expect next, prepare you for court and advise you of your rights.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

All violations are classified into three general categories: infractions, misdemeanors or felonies. Whether or not a crime is deemed a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the seriousness. 


These are the least serious of crimes and are usually a violation of an ordinance or law, such as when a person parks in an illegal spot and receives a parking ticket. Other offenses include trespassing, disturbing the peace, and littering. These usually carry no jail time and sometimes no court time, either. Criminal defense attorneys are usually not necessary in these cases.


If a violation of the law was much more serious than an infraction, then the defendant can be arrested and charged. Misdemeanors are classified into two general categories:

  1. Second degree misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of sixty (60) days in jail
  2. First degree misdemeanors with a maximum of up to one year in jail

Additionally, instead of being held in a high-security prison, a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor may serve their time at a local county jail.

It’s important to note that a misdemeanor can become a felony based on the seriousness of the crime or how many times the crime has been committed prior. For example, most states will raise a DUI conviction from a misdemeanor to a felony charge if the defendant has had three or more DUI convictions within the past ten years, even if those were received in another state. But a person can also receive a felony conviction after their first DUI if they caused significant property damage and injury or even death to the other driver and/or their passengers.

It should be noted that misdemeanor crimes are not equal. A misdemeanor DUI may affect you differently than a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, for instance. Certain misdemeanors may have long-term consequences on your life and your future earnings. Consequently, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your charges. 

Felony Charges

The penalties for a felony conviction are much more severe than they are for a misdemeanor. The minimum prison sentence for a felony charge is one year in either a state or federal prison. In Florida, a felony charge can also come with a loss of rights, including:

  • The right to vote
  • The right to hold office
  • The right to sit on a jury
  • The right to hold certain occupational licenses

Felony charges in Florida are categorized as third-degree felonies, second-degree felonies, third-degree felonies, life felonies, and capital felonies. 

Why Choose Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm?

Practicing criminal defense law exclusively since 1990, Mr. Stephen G. Cobb, Esquire has helped hundreds of individuals and families in Florida. Among his many professional accomplishments include certification as a Criminal Trial Law Specialist by the Florida Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization and Education. Not only is he knowledgeable about the laws that could help you save your reputation, but he is a native Florida resident with a deep connection to the local area. He has helped innocent people get back to their lives and can help those who have been wrongly accused of moving on past this horrifying experience. When you need a criminal defense attorney who fights aggressively in Santa Rosa County, then you need the Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm. Call now to set up your free case evaluation.