Attorney Venessa Bornost Smiling in Black and White

My path into the legal profession was certainly not the most conventional route that most lawyers follow. From a young age, I took a strong interest in the law, but that interest initially led me toward the law enforcement side of the justice system. When I left for college in 1989, I decided to study criminology at Florida State University. Upon graduation in 1993, I took up a position with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff. My drive to succeed and passion for criminal justice soon paved the way for me to be promoted to the position of Narcotics Detective, and eventually earned me a spot on the Pinellas County SWAT Team. During my time working as a narcotics detective and as a SWAT team member, I picked up extremely valuable knowledge about the criminal justice system, especially as it relates to drug offenders.

By 2001, I began to realize how many individuals were falling through the cracks of the system, and I couldn't continue to sit by and watch it happen. That's when I decided to enter law school and pursue a career in the legal profession as a criminal prosecutor. I was quickly accepted into the Nova Southeastern School of Law in Ft. Lauderdale and I began my coursework while continuing my work at the Pinellas County Sheriff's office. After three long years of juggling intense course work with my job in law enforcement, I was able to earn my Juris Doctor.

I believe everyone has the right to a strong defense, and I aim to provide that to every client that walks into my office.

Transitioning from law enforcement to prosecution.

After graduating from law school, I began studying for the state bar while trying to map out my future as an attorney. After passing the bar in 2006, I was finally brought in as one of the lead prosecutors for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County. I began prosecuting a wide variety of criminal court cases, from DUI and traffic violations to misdemeanor crimes, drug offenses, domestic violence, and felony cases. For over two years I worked the criminal circuit, picking up extensive experience that involved jury trials, non-jury trials, motion to suppress arguments, and other daily courtroom criminal procedures.

During my time as a prosecutor, I had the benefit of witnessing first hand the wheels of the criminal justice system in motion. I learned the ins and outs of courtroom procedure, as well as best practices for prosecuting criminal offenders facing virtually any charge. Despite my success as a prosecutor, I began to feel like there were a growing number of individuals who continued to face criminal charges without adequate or fair representation. After some considerable thought, I decided that my knowledge and experience might be better served if I were using my skills to protect people rather than prosecute them.

Changing Sides

By 2008, I decided to open my own firm so that I could provide people with the very best in legal counsel and representation for those on the other side of the courtroom. Now, after more than a decade of working under the name of my own firm, Venessa Bornost, P.A., I've realized that providing legal help to those in need has become my true calling in life. As a former law enforcement officer and criminal prosecutor, I feel like my past experiences have provided me with a unique opportunity to offer legal guidance and a perspective that most other defense lawyers simply can't — and I'm proud to offer that advantage to every single client that walks through my doors.

At the end of the day, I feel like my entire journey up to this point has put me in a position to provide excellent criminal defense services to countless individuals across the Tampa Bay area. I'm proud to serve the wonderful citizens of this community, and I'm happy to do so in an honest and cost-effective way. I value the relationships I have with my clients, and I look forward to providing quality criminal defense counsel to anyone who is in need.

Bar Admissions

  • Florida State Bar, 2006


  • B.S. Criminology - Florida State University, Tallahassee 1993

  • J.D. - Nova Southeastern School of Law, Fr. Lauderdale, 2004

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office - Assistant State Attorney, 2008

  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Largo - Deputy Sheriff, Narcotics Detective, SWAT Member, 1995-2002

  • Major League Baseball, New York - Resident Security Agent, 1998-2002

  • Saint Petersburg Junior College, St. Petersburg - Instructor 1998-2002

  • Better Business Bureau - Member