Email MeMichael A. Fiumara
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Fiumara graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa. He received a Master's Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Later, he earned his Law Degree from the Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, 1989.
Mr. Fiumara has been practicing primarily in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury, land use and zoning law for the past fourteen years in Sonoma County.
Hence, Mr. Fiumara is very familiar with the local Sonoma County Judges, court procedures and the way to get things done on your behalf.
Mr. Fiumara takes a great deal of pride in working together with the local courts, the prosecution, probation and program providers to tailor alternatives to jail and/or prison. Please also see our section on: alternatives to jail.
For those defendants the prosecution can prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Fiumara's keen negotiation skills and his assertive demeanor have been instrumental in obtaining favorable sentences. When trial is necessary, Mr. Fiumara has been known to team up with the best litigators to make sure that you have all of the resources that you need to win your case and get an acquittal. Strategy and winning pre-trial motions from the very beginning is the first line of defense. In the very least, Mr. Fiumara has a good track record of reducing an accused person's fines and reducing charges from felonies to misdemeanors. Mr. Fiumara has also worked to set aside and expunge felonies and misdemeanors so that defendants can get a new start on life.
The types of criminal defense cases Mr. Fiumara has had experience working on include, but is not limited to:
- All serious felonies
- All misdemeanor cases
- All juvenile law matters
- Domestic violence
- Drug possession/sale
- Marijuana possession
- All DUI cases
- Repeat offenders
- Driving with a suspended license
- DMV hearings
- Probation violation hearings
- Sex crimes/lewd conduct
- Indecent exposure and sex related cases
- Fishing & game violations
Mr. Fiumara has been practicing personal injury law as long as he has practiced criminal defense. However, prior to moving to Sonoma County, Mr. Fiumara had the distinction of working with a well-respected San Francisco boutique insurance defense law firm in the financial district. There he gained very valuable insight on how the insurance industry values and defends claims. With this experience, Mr. Fiumara has been very effective at settling personal injury claims often without the need to litigate, thus saving the aggrieved and injured plaintiff time and expense. But, when litigation is required to obtain a fair monetary award, Mr. Fiumara and his team of investigators and litigators go all out and pull no stops. Please see recent settlement under "Personal Injury" section.
The types of personal injury cases that Mr. Fiumara and his team of litigators have a great deal of experience working on include, but is not limited to, the following:
- All automobile accidents and collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Passenger rights
- Bus/train/public transit accidents
- Pedestrian injuries
- Animal inflicted injuries/dog bites
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries
- Work related injuries
- Wrongful death
- Industrial accidents
- Explosion/burn injuries
- Farm and ranch accidents
- All other accidents involving injury or loss of life, including fatal automobile accidents
Mr. Fiumara has the unique distinction in this County of not only possessing a Law Degree, but he has earned a separate Master's Degree in City Planning from one of the best Ivy League Schools in the Country, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Before practicing law, his second career, Mr. Fiumara had more than 15 years of land use, zoning and government work experience. He worked for the infamous New York City Mayor Edward Koch in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If you can work for Mayor Koch and survive in New York City at the same time, you can thrive anywhere else! Later, the City of Newark, New Jersey hired Mr. Fiumara as their Senior Comprehensive Planner for the City. He stayed in that position until he began law school at Rutgers University in New Jersey because he wanted to be further challenged.
Mr. Fiumara also gained insightful and valuable land use experience when he served as a tremendously active planning board member in the rapidly growing Philadelphia suburb of Voorhees, New Jersey. There he worked with planners, developers, politicians and individual property owners to develop and implement a master plan and site design review plan. In Philadelphia, while a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Fiumara worked in the City's Gift Property Program where he worked with a wide variety of community groups and nonprofit organizations to help improve the City's housing stock.
All the above mentioned experience and organizational skill development has sharpened Mr. Fiumara's ability to successfully resolve many of the complex land use conflicts that he is hired to resolve in Santa Rosa and in Sonoma County. The types of land use & zoning cases Mr. Fiumara has had experience working on include, but are not limited to:
- Violation of Sonoma County or Santa Rosa building and/or zoning codes
- Illegal dwelling unit issues/red tag concerns
- Construction without permits/unlawful construction
- Illegal septic systems
- Structures converted to a second unit illegally (illegal conversions)
- Nuisance abatement
- Use permits/modifications/variances
- Business licenses
- Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) hearings (all administrative hearings)
- Legalize unlawful construction
- Eminent domain
- Water & sewer connections/ City utilities
EDUCATION LAW AND STUDENT ADVOCACY
Mr. Fiumara has had the unique experience of having been employed by the Santa Rosa City School District as an outreach leader and liaison for the students, particularly Latino and minority students. This experience enables Mr. Fiumara to understand how School Districts respond to student discipline and other safety concerns on campus. As a result, Mr. Fiumara has represented dozens of students against overzealous "zero tolerance" School District policies for infractions and violations relating to the Education Code.
Mr. Fiumara has represented dozens of students in disciplinary hearings before administrative panels and school boards. Many times students have been denied their due process rights by inflexible disciplinary codes that use catch all categories like "insubordination and disrespect" to mandate suspension or expulsion. Often times, the Education Code has little regard for the circumstances or nature of the offense, or the student's history. Mr. Fiumara's strong advocacy on behalf of his clients has been covered by the PacificSun, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat and The San Francisco Daily Journal. Copies of these articles will be furnished upon request.
Mr. Fiumara has challenged expulsion proceedings which violate students' rights due to violation of their due process rights, and has worked with other counsel around the State to expunge school board policies (see the San Francisco Daily Journal, Wednesday, November 20, 2002, front page story "Class Actions-Do Expulsion Proceedings Violate Students' Due Process Rights? Lawyers Defending Several Young Men Argue That They Do").
Mr. Fiumara has appeared before many local and Bay Area School Boards representing students in expulsion hearings. He has been successful at working out arrangements to avoid the harsh effects of expulsion. Instead of expulsion, Mr. Fiumara has negotiated reasonable suspension/expulsion terms and conditions which allow the students back into the classroom while at the same time protecting the student's school record. Often times the student's cumulative school file and school records are incorrect or include information that could be potentially harmful. Mr. Fiumara has successfully used the Education Code to remove erroneous records, comments and other harmful information from the student's cumulative and other school files.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Law
- Personal Injury
- Land Use
- Rutgers School of Law - Camden, Camden, New Jersey - 1989
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
- Master's Degree
- Major: City Planning
- Rutgers University
- Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
Professional Associations and Memberships
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
- California Public Defender's Association, Member
- Criminal Defense Section of the Sonoma County Bar, Member
- Sonoma County Lawyer Referral Service, Recipient of Certificate of Appreciation, Member
- Consumer Attorneys of Sonoma County, Former Vice President and Member
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Former Advisor and Board Member
- Sonoma County Ombudsman Program, Former Board Member
- Santa Rosa Downtown Business Association, Former Member
- Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Member, Former Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee
Pro Bono Activities
- Former Board Member, Friends Outside an Organization that helps inmates and their Families
- Former Advisory Board Member, The Friends of the Sonoma County Library
- Member, Volunteer, Sonoma County Council on Aging and a Panelist on their Lawyer Referral Service
- Former Advisory Board Member, Fountaingrove Lodge
- Former Advisory Board and Member, Sonoma County Adult Literacy
- Former President, Current Board Member, Santa Rosa Democratic Club
- Former Volunteer and Employee, Santa Rosa Junior High School