Skip to main content

Varinia Van Ness

Criminal defense Attorney at Sarasota, FL

5.0   68 reviews
  • Licensed for 32 years
    State FL
    Acquired 1991
    Member in Good Standing No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Varinia

Learn Varinia’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    Violations of Probation, Trafficking drugs, Search Warrant cases, Violent cases. We handles all criminal cases

    33 years

  2. DUI and DWI

    33 years

  3. Domestic violence

  4. Juvenile law

    33 years

  5. Violent crime

  6. Sex crime

Thank you so much for visiting my profile. Please visit my web cite at and view "as seen on TV" for footage on National Television Appearances on The O'Reilly Factor and guest commentator on Court TV. You can also view apppearances on Spanish Television "La Guia TV".


Please visit my web cite at . 

Photos and videos


Van Ness Law Group, P.A.
46 N. Washington Blvd.
Suite 9
Sarasota, FL, 34236-5932

Criminal Defense lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  68 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Weston | March 8, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The greatest ever
Highly recommend comassionate has helped many of my friends and family always great results from an outstanding knowledgeable attorney who is honestly here for the right reasons....
Posted by anonymous | April 22, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Representation I've Ever Had
Varinia is a force to be reckoned with. Her professionalism, attention to detail, and experience leave no question that you are being represented by the best attorney in the area. I've consulted with and hired multiple attornies in the past and after choosing Varinia Van Ness as my recent representation the only regret I have is not consulting with her sooner. Varinia far exceeded my expectations and is undoubtedly the best attorney to go with based on my experience.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | October 8, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very Professional
I recently had the opportunity to seek advice from the Van Ness Law firm with Varinia Van Ness and her associate Elizabeth Loeffler. When we met with Varinia Van Ness at her law office, I was immediately very impressed with her Professional approach and her attention given to the details. She was extremely well organized to our situation. Also, her immediate follow up was very much appreciated. I would definitely highly recommend Varinia Van Ness and her law firm to those who need legal advice.
Read less
Posted by Laura | June 20, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A force to be reckoned with
There are not enough words to describe this powerhouse of a woman. Varinia Van Ness is extremely knowledgeable of criminal law. She is professional, dedicated, honest and works hard for her clients. She researched the case law related to my situation and worked relentlessly to gather all the facts and review all evidence. She kept me informed every step of the way. Her staff is tremendous! Varinia is a fighter in the courtroom, she is persistent, fearless, confident and will put a bully and liar to shame. She’s a very gifted attorney and an incredible woman. I cannot say enough about her and her dedication to her clients. She sincerely cares and will fight for you every step of the way. She won my case and I cannot recommend her enough! Thank you Varinia, I know God put you in my path and I am forever grateful
Read less
Posted by Justin | October 30, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best criminal lawyer in Sarasota fl “ the bulldog”
She will fight for you and the rights we have in America. I was told she was the bulldog of Sarasota county court room and it was not a lie. She went in hard and kept the facts in front of the law and she came through with a big win for me and her Law firm. Thanks for helping me she is the best... facts
Posted by anonymous | June 5, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Representation!
I found Ms. Van Ness through AVVO and was immediately impressed with other reviewer's statements regarding their experiences with her team. After consulting with three potential lawyers, I knew that Ms. Van Ness was the representation I needed to fight the charges against me. Her unstoppable combination of empathy, knowledge of the law, and fighting spirit instilled in me the confidence I needed to get through this delicate and confusing period in my life. Ms. Van Ness is not the type of lawyer who is willing to settle a case just because it would be easier for her; she fights for the rights and dignity of her clients until the very end! As her slogan goes - they have to get through her to get to us! I have absolutely no doubt that any alternative representation would have accepted a deal which would have left me to face parole, fines, and more. However, thanks to her admirable tenacity and dedication to my case, my charges were completely dropped! I have nothing but the utmost reverence and gratitude for Ms. Van Ness and her entire team!
Read less
Posted by Hanoi | September 30, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The best!, Excellent, Fighter, The most experienced are too little words for her.
No words can describe Varinia! The most experienced lawyer that you would always want to be represented by. Her professionalism, knowledge, confidence, determination, and courage goes beyond words. She is a FIGHTER!!, but you don't know it well until you see her do her job! She can not be compared, is true to her words, direct and very honest! The communication she establishes with her clients is simply unique, no other lawyer will call to keep you informed as much as she does. Her staff is absolutely excellent and competent !! I found her on Avvo, read all her reviews and thought she is really great. I hired her to represent my brother in Sarasota, but he had another case in Miami. We were desperate and not satisfied with the way his attorney was handling things and also hired her to assist this lawyer in my brother's case. Since she took part in the first case it turned 360 degrees. She guided both cases all the way to the end in Sarasota. The results exceeded what we expected. When she called me and told me about it ; it was like a gift from God. We are so grateful.. I told her once how blessed she is. When she defends; she shines like a "STAR" and gives a new opportunity in life to those whom she defends. Varinia, thank you very much! You will always be a very important part of our lives. We wish you the best in your life, thanks for existing! You are the "BEST" attorney ever, it doesn't matter where you practice, you were born for your profession. Highly recommended!
Read less
Posted by Lisa | September 2, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Exceptional and Impressive experience!
I am a professional business woman and work with many attorneys in my profession but never had the need for a criminal attorney. When my minor daughter was facing possible charges that could ruin her future, I was at a loss what to do, I was referred to Varina, I swear God lead me to her, after the first consultation, I just knew this was the attorney for us. Her confidence, professionalism and empathy to our cause was astounding. Our case was unique, she was relentless in checking the facts, investigating the case law relative to to our situation, had many contacts and resources to utilize and both cases resulted in case dismissed! Varinia gave my daughter her life back and I will be forever grateful and I would recommend her every time anyone ask.
Read less
Posted by Khadeen | August 19, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Attorney VanNess is beyond Excellent!!
This lawyer makes me feel confident with the first conversation we had. She was true to her words and was very realistic in explaining my case and the possibilities. She has an amazing ability of communicating with her clients. She briefed me on everything, right throughout the process of my case. She also has a wonderful team that is very knowledgable about what's going on. With most attorneys they want massive up front fees, Attorney VanNess worked with me and arranged a payment plan which I could accommodate. I am so grateful to call her "my lawyer". We need more lawyers like this in the legal field, who get thing done. Thanks to Varinia, I don't have to look over my shoulders anymore!! Great Job Varinia!
Read less
Posted by Ka096 | April 30, 2015
Very Aggressive Attorney
Was arrested for 2nd DUI and was looking at 1 month jail time, 1 year probation, 1 year license suspension and 2500 in fines. Case went on for 7 months, Varinia had all my charges dismissed. I would highly recommend her.
Posted by anonymous | April 25, 2015
Wonderful attorney!
Ms. Van Ness helped my family through a very difficult situation. She is knowledgeable and focused. She not only helped us handle the immediate situation, but she also quickly and efficiently handled several other issues that came up.
Posted by Lourdes | March 17, 2015
Van Ness is a fighter! Excellent lawyer!
After spending countless hours on the Internet trying to decide on which lawyer to pick for my case, I stumble upon Varinia Van Ness' profile which spoke to me due to all the excellent reviews and her past experience in the field. I live three hours away from Sarasota and it is hard to confide in someone you can't even meet in person for a consultation. We met through Skype for the first time and as soon as I heard her speak, I knew she would be the right one. She is a fighter, she is knowledgeable, she is humble, she clearly doesn't take *** from anyone. Van Ness took my case and worked hard throughout the whole process until finally my charges were dropped!! I couldn't be happier! Thank you once again Ms. Van Ness, for a lot of things; for always being in contact with me and keeping me updated on everything, for being persistent and for being a fighter. You obviously know what you're doing and I would be more than happy to recommend you to everyone.
Read less
Posted by Nicole | March 6, 2015
Best Attorney in town
Van Ness was true to her word, everything she said she was going to do she did.......and more. I found her to be the best attorney that my husband and I have ever dealt with. She fights for her clients and we will be forever grateful for everything she has done. I would recommend her to anyone!
Posted by anonymous | December 29, 2014
Amazing Experience
My 19 yo son was charged with a 2nd degree felony, a crime that could have included a 25 year prison sentence. Ms. Van Ness was able to reduce his charge to a 1st degree misdemeanor with probation, fines/restitution and community service (no jail or prison time). We were terrified when he was arrested and took one week to research & meet with 5 of the top highly rated AVVO SRQ area lawyers (we read all of the reviews on AVVO for each lawyer to start). Ms. Van Ness was the one we chose because: 1) She had a lot of criminal experience, not just a lot of DUI's (and she was a prosecutor for 7 years previously, so she knows both side of the law). 2) Her reviews were excellent on AVVO and we could see she successfully handled many criminal cases and her clients really seemed to like her. 3) When we met with her in person she was very sincere, straight forward and knowledgable and we left feeling better and hopeful (whereas some of the lawyers were very dramatic, using pressure/scare tactics) 4) Her fee was very reasonable (some lawyers wouldn't give a fee and one of the other high-pressure lawyers wanted 25K upfront.) 5) Ms. Van Ness was very communicative and responsive regarding emails, phone calls, etc. 6) She is a fighter. She worked hard to help my son receive a fair and just punishment for his actions. 7) She cares. When you meet with her and speak with her you'll understand. She really cares. She wants to see justice done because sometimes people (especially young people) do stupid things and deserve second chances. Thank God my son was lucky enough to get his! Thank you Varinia!
Read less
Posted by Jordan | December 10, 2014
Highly Recommend Attorney
After talking to 3 separate attorneys, Van Ness was the only one who immediately made feel comfortable about the whole ordeal. She knows how to be fierce and will not let the state bully her in anyway. A great person to have fighting for you.
Posted by Deb | September 8, 2014
Mistaken Identity
After speaking with Ms Van Ness the first time I immediately was able to breathe a sigh of relief. She was the first person who did not treat me as if I was guilty until proven innocent. She was kind and compassionate. She was informed about my case prior to my arrival. She took her time with me and kept excellent notes. I never felt rushed. I felt like she believed me and was going to defend me as if I were one of her own family members. She gave me hope that everything was going to turn out ok and her slogan they have to get thru us to get to very true. She is very very knowledgeable and I knew without a doubt that I had hired someone extremely tough and capable. My charges were dropped and I know it was because we kept digging and digging and chipping away at their case. Don't look any further , if you have read this much you should stop here and hire her. I am from NY and she rivals a tough NY attorney any day!
Read less
Posted by anonymous | September 2, 2014
A champion Ward of The Court...
Varinia Van Ness took over my son's criminal case, which was fast becoming a nightmare, at that point. After a short time with two different attorneys. The first one backed off the case, because of it's continuing complications. The second was not familiar with the enormity of the case's background and underlying problems. At that point we were discouraged, and felt that a fair trial in Sarasota County was not possible. Knowing from past experience Ms. Van Ness's winning abilities, in the courtroom, we knew if anyone could unravel the mess this case had become, it was her. I was so relieved when she accepted to take the case. Watching her in the courtroom, standing up for the rights of her client, I finally relaxed for the first time in months. She made sense of everything, showed cause and reasons for things that were not understandable, up to that point, and stayed focused on the most important factors of the case. Even with her demanding schedule, she kept us updated on every motion, hearing, court date, & changes, either in person or through her office. Everyone at The Van Ness Law Firm was helpful and pleasant. Varinia is very knowledgeable, and does her homework. She walks into the courtroom with confidence, & calm, and does not flinch under fire. She shows her superior attributes in debating the Law, and it's obvious that she has the respect of the entire courtroom. Certainly an advocate for the underdog , Ms Van Ness proves that she is a top notch lawyer. She gave us hope, showed compassion to my son, and was supportive & patient with my entire family. I am extremely grateful for everything she has done for us. All charges against my son, were dropped, due to her " Champion efforts", in proving the State's case to be seriously flawed and unreasonable. Lovely and charming, Varinia is a dynamo force set out to win her case. If you are in need of warrior at your side, do not give up hope. Varinia will fight for you to the finish.. A happy, thankful Mom..
Read less
Posted by JonathanJohnson | July 25, 2014
When she told me she was a Bull Dog in the courtroom I hired her
Top of the line attorney! You will not find anyone more dedicated to what she does than Mrs. Van Ness period end of sentence! I have used her multiple times and had success each time. If you hire another lawyer and walk away with an outcome you are unhappy with, Its because you didn't call this woman right here! If I ever had another issue in Sarasota, she'd be my 1st phone call!
Read less
Posted by CL | July 6, 2014
Simply THE Best Attorney In SW Florida
Cliff Notes: I retained Ms. Van Ness late on Monday afternoon. She sprung into action immediately. 2 days later, Thursday morning OF THE SAME WEEK, charges were dropped by the State Attorney's office!! All of the reviews and information regarding Ms. Van Ness actually do not even begin to accurately describe her knowledge, skill, finesse, and compassion for her clients. In those few short days, she and her superior staff kept in close contact, and any email sent to Ms. Van Ness was responded to personally within a few short hours, at most, even when she was in court! The absolute devastating and nerve racking legal matter was put to rest quicker than I could ever imagine and Ms. Van Ness EXCEEDED what she claimed she would do with my case. Within 24 hours she was in contact with the State Attorney, providing detailed information, filed pleadings with the Court, and requested Discovery - while updating me on all she was doing. I honestly cannot put to words how much I would and do recommend Ms. Van Ness and her practice (her assistant Debbie is of the same caliber of professionalism - providing prompt friendly response and help). Anyone in need of legal counsel, and not consulting with Ms. Van Ness FIRST, is making a huge mistake and doing themselves a disservice.
Read less
Posted by Donna | May 21, 2014
Job Well Done
My family was in a difficult situation with my son's legal issues. Varinia was highly recommended to defend my son and she lived up to the recommendation plus more. In addition to her legal skills she is very genuine and supportive. This is true for her staff too. Now I am the one highly recommending her.
View less reviews


  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • President
  • Van Ness Law Group, P.A.
  • 2002 - Present
  • Program Attorney
  • Guardian Ad Litem Program
  • 1998 - 2002
  • Assistant State Attorney
  • Office of the State Attorney (Sarasota) 6 1/2 years
  • 1991 - 1998


  • Stetson University College of Law
  • Juris Doctor
  • 1991
  • University of Florida
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • 1988

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Delane Johnson
  • Victory
  • Simmons vs. State
  • Victory


  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Board of Directors
  • 2009 - Present
  • Junior League of Sarasota
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Sarasota Chapter
  • President
  • 2008 - 2012
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Florida Chapter
  • Member
  • 2007 - 2012
  • Children's Guardian Fund
  • Board of Directors
  • 2002 - 2004
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • BV Rating,
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2006

Speaking Engagements

  • Breath Blood and Tears
  • DUI How do defend Refusals
  • 2016
  • Breath Blood and Tears
  • DUI Jury Selection
  • 2015
  • Blood Breath and Tears
  • Ethics Panel
  • 2014
  • Masters of DUI
  • Ethics Panel
  • 2013
  • The Practice
  • Solo Practice--The Women of FACDL
  • 2012
  • Family Law Seminar
  • Criminal Law Issues that Impact Family Law Issues
  • 2008
  • Girl's Inc., Girls' Rights Week
  • Panel discussion on the Super Girl Dilemma. Guest panelist in group of role models who have achieved a great deal.
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (18)
Given (9)
Endorse Varinia
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Virinia without reservation. Her reputation precedes her as one of the most passionate advocates for her clients. The results speak for themselves."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Varinia is a tenacious and intelligent attorney who takes great pride in representing her clients. One can find her daily in the courtrooms of Florida fighting for her clients' rights. She combines this with a spirit for contributing to the local community. Her dedication to client and community make her an advocate I would highly recommend."
Criminal defense Attorney | Nov 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I've had the honor of knowing Varinia for quite some time and have always found her to be extremely knowlegeable and professional. I would highly recommend her to anyone who needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Varinia, I have witnessed her in court on multiple occasions and she have superior intellect and fights hard for her clients. She is a great attorney and is well respected by all on the defense bar."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Ms. Van Ness is a great lawyer and is always willing to help. I would recomend this lawyer to anyone needing her services. JRA"
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Dec 08
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Varinia Van Ness. This lady knows her stuff. She is a true advocate for her clients and does not back down from a fight. She works hard and get the results."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Varinia Van Ness is the type of lawyer that other lawyers go to with questions. She is knowledgeable and treats people with respect. She is an excellent attorney."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known Varinia Van Ness for nearly ten years. She is very knowledgeable and deeply committed to her Clients. Varinia's courtroom presence is one of the best I have ever seen. She is confident, smart and understands the methods necessary for winning cases. If you are in need of an excellent attorney, you must contact Varinia Van Ness."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Very experienced lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work, she is an excellent attorney."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Aggressive is the best word to describe Varinia. She can be relentless when defending her clients. She is a very strong attorney. Varinia is also involved in the community and takes her work seriously."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Ms. Van Ness is one of the premier attorneys in the Sarasota area. I have found her to be very knowledgeable and one of the most insightful attorneys in the State of Florida. I feel confident that if I am referring a case to her, that the client will be in extremely good hands."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. I have been following the Delane Johnson case. Varinia Van Ness did a great job taking on the Bradenton Police Department and City Attorney for the way they handle forfeiture cases."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Varinia is an attorney that is so dedicated to her clients and protecting their rights. She is fearless in the courtroom and a credit to our profession."
View more endorsements
Criminal defense
Personal injury
Criminal defense
Criminal defense
Criminal defense
Commercial real estate
Criminal defense
Speeding and traffic ticket
Criminal defense