Okaloosa County Sex Offense Dismissed
I’ve been practicing as a criminal defense lawyer in Okaloosa County since 2001. You would think that after that long, I’d have seen it all. Let’s just say that this case presented some unique challenges.
JH hired me after being arrested for sexually exposing himself on the side of the road. At the time we were hired, it was uncertain whether the case would be filed as a felony Lewd or Lascivious Conduct, or as a misdemeanor Indecent Exposure. If it went felony, he was looking at up to 5 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender. As a misdemeanor, he was facing up to a year in jail and a conviction on his record.
I knew that my first priority had to be making sure that the case was filed and resolved as a misdemeanor.
Being arrested for any offense is embarrassing enough. When the arrest is for exposing yourself in broad daylight in public, it’s mortifying. Needless to say, JH was extremely embarrassed and scared. He had recently had a nasty breakup and as a result believed the “anonymous caller” who turned him in was his ex-girlfriend. He claimed that he was parked on the side of the road in Destin using his cell phone. When confronted by law enforcement, he adamantly denied exposing himself to the caller. However, he did admit to being in the area that the caller reported from. And, there was certain “physical evidence” that was identified at the scene.
JH was looking to us to save his career and his reputation. He was a military veteran and was employed with a military contracting firm in Okaloosa County. A conviction of this magnitude would have resulted in a total career loss.
I was able to work with the prosecutor in this case to get JH the help he needed and keep the case in misdemeanor court where it belonged. I also secured a pretrial diversion agreement for him that led to all charges being dismissed once he completed all of his requirements.