Sarasota Criminal Lawyer

Criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel stops at nothing to bring you the best outcome possible.


You Deserve a Top-Tier Criminal Defense Lawyer in Sarasota, FL

Erika Valcarcel has a history of success and reputation for high-quality criminal law defense. For the past two decades, she’s provided those who have been accused of a crime in Sarasota and Manatee County, Florida with legal representation they can trust.

Erika’s experience has given her tremendous insight into the Florida criminal justice system – not only as an aggressive defense lawyer, but also as a former prosecutor in thousands of local cases. If you’ve been accused or arrested in the area, contact Erika Valcarcel to get started on your case.

Read Erika's Bio

Defending Manatee & Sarasota Counties

Avoid Conviction & Reclaim Your Life

If you’re facing criminal charges in Sarasota or Manatee County in Florida, the most important thing you can do is hire the right defense attorney. Trying to fight off a conviction by yourself is like going into battle without armor. You need an ally to defend you effectively.

Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Lawyer, P.A. can help you avoid the serious consequences of a conviction and put the past behind you. Erika works hard to empower clients and provide clarity on the criminal process. You will receive an honest evaluation of your Sarasota criminal case from a lawyer who views you as a person, not a charge. Together, you can preserve your future and reclaim your life with as little impact as possible.

“I believe in being there for my clients. If you hire me, we’re a team.”

Erika Fights Against Sarasota Criminal Charges


A Florida DUI conviction can lead to jail, fines and fees, probation, suspension or loss of your driver’s license, mandated treatment, and a permanent record – to name a few. Simply, your freedom and rights are at stake after a DUI. Erika has guided countless clients through Florida DUI charges, and her efforts have led to remarkable outcomes.

To learn more about how Erika Valcarcel can help with drunk driving charges in Sarasota and Manatee County contact us and review these Florida DUI defense resources:

Drug Crimes Defense

Florida, drug charges often lead to harsh penalties over rehab. But Erika Valcarcel believes in supporting those with substance issues and securing the best possible result that address the issues. From possession to trafficking, we’re here to listen, advocate for your interests, and fight back on your drug crime charges.

Learn more about how Erika can help you with Sarasota drug offenses:

Weapons Crimes Defense

Even an accusation of a weapon or firearm crime can put your future and reputation in jeopardy. If convicted, you could face time in prison, loss of your Second Amendment rights, and other harsh consequences. If you’ve been accused or arrested for any kind of weapons crime, you need an aggressive defense attorney to preserve your reputation and clear your name.

Erika Valcarcel can defend against any weapons offense allegations in Sarasota County and Manatee County, including:

Violent Crimes Defense

Violent crimes carry significant consequences, with some involving life in prison or even the death penalty. If you’re facing any kind of violent offense in Florida, you need an attorney to protect your rights and build a solid strategy. Erika Valcarcel knows what it takes to get violent charges reduced or even dismissed and is ready to help you.

Theft & Fraud Defense

Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony, theft and fraud charges are taken seriously in Florida. Even being accused of shoplifting a could result in a misdemeanor conviction and a jail sentence. But the greater the value of the alleged theft, the more severe the punishment. Erika’s skill and experience in Sarasota-area criminal courts allows her to predict local strategies and craft tailored defenses against theft and fraud charges.

Our Clients Confirm –
Erika Makes You a Priority.

I will forever be grateful.

“Her knowledge of the system and listening to her clients for the best outcome is by far beyond compare! I honestly cannot say enough about what she has done for us and will forever be grateful.” – R.M.

She took a huge burden off my shoulders.

“Valcarcel is the best you will find. She took a huge burden off my shoulders… Her knowledge is extensive, and her advice has always been right on the mark. You cannot go wrong securing her.” – J.A.

Erika is the helping hand you want.

“Erika’s website alone gave me more insight than all the previous lawyers I had spoken to. She was 3 hours away…but it was as if she was side by side with me. Quick to respond, quick to do research, and always prepared. She is the helping hand you want when you need! I highly recommend Ms. Valcarcel.” – H.M.

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See What Erika Can Do

DUI Charges Reduced to Reckless Driving

Grand Theft Charges Reduced

Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed in 10 Days

Read More Case Results

Hire the Right Sarasota Defense Attorney – Turn to Erika

Building a strong legal defense is like playing chess. You must be strategic with every decision, anticipate your opponent’s moves, and adapt to a fast-paced environment while remaining calm under pressure. Dominating require skill – the same goes for defending against criminal charges.

Don’t settle for a Sarasota defense attorney who isn’t up to the task.

If you truly want to protect your future from a conviction, you need a defense attorney with the stamina, skill, and compassion it takes to get the job done. As your Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, Erika Valcarcel can provide you with the unwavering focus and confidence necessary to secure justice on your behalf.

Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Set Apart by Experience, Skill & Compassion

As your Sarasota criminal lawyer, Erika Valcarcel will customize a defense strategy that fits your interests and the unique details of your case. She is fully prepared to fight for you at trial, applying her former experience as a prosecutor to anticipate the other side’s strategies and how to reason with them during negotiation.

Potential defenses against your criminal charges can include challenging the constitutionality of your arrest, claiming you acted out of self-defense, using witness testimony and evidence to support your alibi, and more.

Sarasota, FL Criminal Defense Info & Resources

It’s never too early to speak to a good, local criminal defense lawyer. Even if you haven’t yet been arrested or charged but are merely under investigation, Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. can help you.

  • Police Investigations
  • Police Questioning
  • Arrests
  • Arraignments
  • Bail Hearings
  • Pretrial Hearings
  • Bench or Jury Trials

Understanding the Sarasota Criminal Justice System

Sarasota’s criminal justice system operates within Florida state laws, but it also has specific local laws and ordinances. Knowing how to navigate the court system after you’ve been charged with a crime in Sarasota or Manatee County is crucial.

The primary law enforcement agency in Sarasota is the Sarasota Police Department. They are responsible for investigations and arrests, whereas the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office oversees the Sarasota County Jail. If you’re awaiting trial or serving a short sentence, you will be sent to the county jail.

You will then have an initial court appearance where the judge will determine whether you should be released without charges or on bail. Afterward, you will attend an arraignment, which informs you of your charges and offers you the chance to enter a plea deal.

There are five courthouses in the 12th district. For misdemeanor offenses and traffic violations, you will have your arraignment, preliminary hearing, and trial at a county court. For felony offenses and juvenile cases, you will attend these at a Florida Circuit Criminal Court. You can find the names and contact information of each of the judges and magistrates here.

If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor, the judge may sentence you immediately after the guilty verdict. However, if you are found guilty of a felony, a sentencing hearing will be set for a later date. If convicted of a serious crime, you will be sent to a state prison rather than kept at the county jail.

For more information on the Sarasota criminal justice system, check out our page on navigating the court process.

Criminal Defense Law FAQs

What’s the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A felony is more serious than a misdemeanor charge and carries higher penalties. In Florida, a conviction of a misdemeanor offense involves a jail sentence of less than one year, whereas a felony conviction will come with a prison sentence of one year or more.

What do I do if I have a warrant out for my arrest in Florida?

For more information on what to do about a warrant, this blog is a good starting place.

If you or someone you know has an arrest warrant out in Florida, don’t wait to contact a criminal defense attorney. Partnering with a lawyer can help you understand your rights and decide the best course of action to resolve the warrant properly and efficiently.

Can the police arrest me if the victim doesn’t want to press charges?

The short answer is, yes, the police can make arrest you and refer the matter to the state for charges despite the alleged victim’s wishes. However, all hope is not lost.

Read our blog on what happens when an alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges against you and how Sarasota criminal defense attorney Erika Valcarcel can help.

Can Florida police look through your phone during an arrest?

While police may go through your car and pat you down, they can’t search your phone or force you to unlock it without a warrant. However, there are certain circumstances where they can search your phone without a warrant.

Read our blog: “Can Florida Police Search Your Phone During an Arrest?” for more information, and contact Erika Valcarcel for help understanding your rights during an arrest and Florida’s search and seizure laws.

What if I’ve been wrongfully arrested?

If you’ve been wrongfully arrested, Erika Valcarcel can further investigate your case and build your defense. Check out our blog on “What to Do if You’ve Been Wrongfully Arrested” for further information and contact Erika Valcarcel for personalized guidance.

What are my rights if I’ve been arrested?

If you’ve been arrested of an alleged crime in Florida, two of the most important rights you can exercise are the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present. If you’re being questioned, it is imperative to have a legal advocate on your side to protect your rights and ensure you do not incriminate yourself.