Proven Criminal and DUI Defense
I don’t care what you’re accused of doing. You are a human being and you deserve to have someone in your corner who will fight for you. I will not judge you; I’ll defend you. - Tim Flaherty

If you’ve been charged with a crime, call (850) 243-6097 to get a FREE consultation.

Blog Posts

Class Action Suit over Ex-Felon Voting Rights Part Of Larger Trend in Law

A recent class action lawsuit filed against the state of Florida by ex-felons claims the state’s law regarding the reinstitution of voting rights for those convicted of felonies is arbitrary, and therefore unconstitutional. The current process, the suit claims, offers no real path or framework for the approval of cases, which hinders these citizens from exercising a right guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. This suit is part of a larger trend in recent news as it relates to voting. Just how unbiased is this sacred institution in the USA? Let us take a more detailed look at the facts of the case.

The Case: Seven Ex-felons v. Florida

Florida is one of just four states that deny voting rights to convicted felons. However, they offer the possibility of having your right reinstated if you successfully petition the government to restore them. The outcome is dependent on the discretion of public officials. Once a person completes their sentence, they may appeal to the Executive Clemency Board—a board comprised of the Governor of Florida, the Attorney General, and other high-ranking officials—for reinstatement of their right to vote. The disenfranchised voters of Florida are just one part of an estimated 6 million disenfranchised voters in the United States.

The Complaint: Florida’s Application Process is Arbitrary

Claimants allege that even though there is a framework for submitting an application to “the board,” there is little in the way of a framework governing the decision. Furthermore, the suit claims the decision is completely up to the discretion of the board, but there is no law governing the time for a response or reasons for denying an application. Rather, the governor may deny a request at any time and for any reason. This process is what the suit holds to be unconstitutional. To make matters worse, the backlog of applications (there are over 10,000) decreased by only 75 in the last 6 months.

The Board’s Response

In an interesting defense, the board claimed in a hearing that the law did not bind them since “the law had already been followed.” It is true that by law those convicted of felonies lose their right to vote. Going further, the board claimed they were only a board of clemency, and that they go beyond their duties of the law by giving those who have turned their lives around a chance at regaining their rights.

We take no sides in this suit, but we hope to bring this issue to your attention to paint a better picture of how the nation views voting rights today. As legal practitioners, we hope we can do everything possible to protect all rights guaranteed by the constitution. At the Flaherty Defense Firm, we have a dedication to protecting the legal rights of people accused of crimes. If you are facing criminal accusations, contact our firm at (850) 243-6097 to see how we can protect your constitutional rights.


What Does Double Jeopardy Mean In Okaloosa County Criminal Cases?

When most people think of the term Double Jeopardy, they think it means that the court can never charge you with the same crime twice. While that is partially true, there are certain instances where you can be charged twice for the same offense. My goal is to give you the full meaning of double jeopardy and how it can apply to you or a loved one if you were arrested anywhere in Okaloosa County.

What is the reason behind having a rule against Double Jeopardy?

Broadly speaking, the Double Jeopardy Clause in Okaloosa County and throughout Florida accomplishes three major purposes:

  1. It prohibits prosecution and punishment for the same offense after an acquittal
  2. It prohibits prosecution and punishment for the same offense after conviction
  3. It prohibits multiple prosecutions and punishments for the same offense

In short, it was created to protect defendants from any potential abuse of state power and to ensure the finality of a judgment or sentence.

Double Jeopardy in Florida

There are two major references that Florida Courts base all their decisions on when deciding issues pertaining to double jeopardy.

Article 1, Section 9 of the Florida Constitution states:

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense, or be compelled in any criminal matter to be a witness against oneself.”

The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

These two references give us the general premise behind double jeopardy; however, each Florida court has a different opinion on how to interpret them. The law on double jeopardy is not 100 % clear so it is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense attorney who has the first hand knowledge and experience to ensure that you are not being wrongfully charged.

When Does the Double Jeopardy Clause not Protect Me from Prosecution?

As I previously mentioned, unfortunately there are times when the Double Jeopardy Clause does not apply. For instance, an individual can be tried twice based on the same facts as long as the elements of each crime are different. In addition, different jurisdictions can charge the same individual with the same crime based on the same facts without violating double jeopardy. For example, federal and state governments can charge the same defendant for the same conduct as long as some element or aspect of the defendant’s conduct violated both a federal law and a state law.

Examples: If a defendant is tried for a burglary that allegedly occurred at the Chevron gas station on March 1, 2005 and is acquitted, the defendant cannot be tried a second time for the burglary of that same gas station on the same date.

If the defendant is tried and acquitted for allegedly selling illegal narcotics at the Chevron gas station on March 1, 2005 to one person, that same defendant can still be tried for allegedly selling narcotics at the same gas station on March 1, 2005 to another person. Each time the narcotics are sold, it is a separate act and a separate offense, and they can both be tried without violating the double jeopardy clause.

Call us if you think Double Jeopardy applies in your case

The Double Jeopardy Clause can be applied to any proceeding in the state of Florida. This means that any misdemeanor or felony can be protected under the Double Jeopardy Clause and no matter what type of charge you are facing, it is important to contact an aggressive Okaloosa County defense attorney.

The Double Jeopardy Clause can seem confusing, but it is designed to protect you. Knowing your rights is crucial to keeping your freedom. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Okaloosa County and have any concerns regarding double jeopardy, call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for your free consultation.


I was Arrested on Spring Break in Destin, Okaloosa or Walton County

The sugar white sands of Okaloosa and Walton County are premier Spring Break hotspots.  Spring Breakers from all over the southeast flock to the Emerald Coast for its beautiful beaches and nightlife.  While you enjoy Spring Break 2017 and what Destin has to offer, don’t forget that leaving with a record is not what you bargained for.

The Okaloosa and Walton County Sheriff’s Offices continue to increase their police presence which leads to hundreds of Spring Break arrests every year.  Don’t be a statistic.  If you or another spring breaker have been arrested in Destin, Okaloosa or Walton County, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today.  For over 15 years we have been defending spring breakers. Our consult is free but the peace of mind is priceless. Call our office 24/7 at (850) 460-7470.

I was arrested for a misdemeanor; why do I need a Destin Spring Break Criminal Defense Attorney?

Simple.  Law Enforcement is out in full uniform and plain clothes with one purpose: arresting spring breakers.  With the odds stacked against you in an unfamiliar town, you need someone you can trust.  The most common offenses we see are alcohol related.  Literally hundreds of college co-eds are hauled off to jail every spring break for Minor in Possession of Alcohol offenses in Destin.  Warnings are not issued during Spring Break and there is no way to talk your way out of an arrest.  If law enforcement makes contact with you and believes you are committing a crime, you will go to jail.  Further, when you are arrested and released, law enforcement will likely give you your citation or notice to appear for court.  They may tell you to pay the fine and the record disappears.  They may tell you that this is only a misdemeanor and will not affect your future.

Do not rely on information relayed to you by someone that does not have your best interest in mind.

A misdemeanor can follow you for the rest of your life. A conviction never goes away and paying a fine will not make the arrest disappear. A conviction could result in loss of future jobs, loss of scholarships, loss of driving privileges, loss of financial aid, and much more.

The most common arrests in Destin during Spring Break:

Minor in Possession of Alcohol-misdemeanor offense
Penalty: Up to 60 days in county jail or 6 months’ probation
Possession of marijuana-misdemeanor offense
Penalty: Up to 1 year in jail or 12 months’ probation; Driver’s license suspension
Disorderly Intoxication-misdemeanor offense
Penalty: Up to 60 days in county jail or 6 months’ probation
Open House Parties
Penalty: Up to 60 days in county jail or 6 months’ probation
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia-misdemeanor offense
Penalty: Up to 1 year in jail or 12 months’ probation
Possession of Tobacco by Minor-misdemeanor offense
Penalty: Up to 1 year in jail or 12 months’ probation
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor-felony offense
Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison
Possession of a Controlled Substance-felony offense
Penalty: Offenses range from 5-30 years in prison

I was arrested in Destin on Spring Break, do I have to come back for Court?

If you have a private attorney, and you were arrested for a misdemeanor offense, Flaherty Defense Firm will preserve your rights and appear on your behalf.  However, if you do not have a private attorney and were arrested in Destin, you will have to be present for every court appearance.  Failure to appear for a court ordered appearance will result in a bench warrant for your arrest.  The court will not consider your busy college schedule.

What happens if I get arrested on Spring Break in Okaloosa or Walton County?

If you are arrested, there is nothing you can say or do to avoid being taken to jail.  You will be transported to either the Okaloosa County Jail in Crestview or Walton County Jail in DeFuniak Springs.  You will be entitled to a phone call after a lengthy booking process.  More often than not you will be given a bond and a notice to appear for your court date.  In serious offenses, such as felony charges, you may have to see a judge the morning after your arrest before a bond will be set.

Can’t I just pay the fine?

Sure, you can pay the fine.  The problem with paying the fine is that you have now signed away your rights to fight your case and get a better result.  You have also sacrificed the ability to have the record expunged (wiped clean).

I’m guilty, why fight?

Whether or not you committed the crime is irrelevant.  Preserving your right to fight the charges against you and make the State prove their case will be our number one goal.  Failure to fight can mean a conviction.  A guilty conviction, no matter how small can NEVER be erased!

Will my Destin arrest be on my record?

All arrests, no matter how minor, in Okaloosa and Walton county are public record.  An arrest will remain on your record until it has been removed with a court order.  Flaherty Defense Firm knows your rights and how to orchestrate your case to ensure that your record remains clean.  The only way to have a clean record after an Okaloosa or Walton county arrest is to fight the charge from the beginning.

An arrest in a strange place is frightening, selecting your criminal defense attorney should not be.

For over 15 years Flaherty Defense Firm has been defending people just like you.  If you were arrested on Spring Break in Destin, Okaloosa or Walton counties, call our team today.  If you are ready for a defense team that will tirelessly fight for your future, call our office anytime, day or night at (850) 460-7470 for a free consultation.  The consult is free but the peace of mind is priceless.


Vehicle Searches In Fort Walton Beach Drug Cases

Let me just say right at the beginning that if you consent to the police searching your car, you are making their job much easier. The police will repay the favor by arresting you.

When someone calls me after just being arrested for drug possession in Okaloosa County, the conversation usually goes something like this:

Client: I got stopped and the cop asked to search my car.
Me: You didn’t say yes, did you?
Client: Yes I did. I signed a consent to search form and allowed them to search.
Me: If you knew you had drugs in the car, why did you consent?
Client: I thought that if I said yes, they would think I had nothing to hide and they would just leave me alone.
Me: But you DID have something to hide.
Client: That’s why I need an attorney. You can still get this thrown out right?

Hopefully, this blog will be helpful in educating you about vehicle searches in Okaloosa County. I will give some useful information about what the police are allowed to do, and what standard of proof is required before they are legally allowed to stop and search your vehicle.

Is it legal for the police to stop my vehicle?

The standard of proof for a lawful traffic stop in Florida is Reasonable Suspicion. This level of proof requires more than just a hunch that you’ve done something wrong. The officer must be able to articulate specific reasons for his suspicion and those reasons must be objectively reasonable.

Can the police search my car?

In order for a vehicle search to be legal, the officer must meet a higher burden than Reasonable Suspicion. The standard for lawfully searching a vehicle is Probable Cause. Probable Cause is defined as a “substantial likelihood that criminal activity is occurring or has occurred.”

The cops in Okaloosa County are well-trained in what they can do and what they can’t do. They know that Probable Cause is a pretty high standard for them to meet. The way they get around having to meet it is to just ask the suspect for consent or permission to search.

Just Say No!

My advice to anyone who is stopped by the police in Okaloosa County is to refuse to consent to any search. The police will NOT leave you alone if you consent. They will search your car (possibly damaging it in the process) and if anything illegal is found, they will arrest you and possibly seize your vehicle under civil Forfeiture laws.

If you refuse consent, they will probably still search anyway, but at least you’ll have a fighting chance to challenge the search later in court.

If the police ask to search your vehicle, politely refuse. Do not argue with the officer or resist the officer in any way, or you could end up facing additional charges of Battery On Law Enforcement or Resisting Arrest. The time to challenge the officer’s actions is in court, not at the side of the road.

If your vehicle was searched in Okaloosa County and you were arrested, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Arrested for Minor in Possession in Destin?

If you were arrested for MIP while on spring break in Destin, it is understandable that your first call will likely be to your parents. Once you’ve done that, if you want to make sure this arrest doesn’t end up on your permanent criminal record, call Flaherty Defense Firm.

 Chances are if you are in Destin for Spring Break, you will encounter the all too familiar scene of undercover law enforcement hauling away Spring Breakers for alcohol offenses.  Possessing alcohol under the age of 21 is a criminal offense in the State of Florida. It is NOT the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

If you were arrested for minor in possession in Destin, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today.  We have been defending Destin spring breakers for over 15 years.  We know how to protect your spring break and your future.  Our defense team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (850) 460-7470 to help you.

I was charged with Minor in Possession in Destin-What do I do now?

First, do not pay the citation.  Do not rely on advice from law enforcement about your future.  Contact Flaherty Defense Firm immediately to protect your rights.  Having experience on your side could mean the difference between a clean slate and a permanent record.

After the cop arrested me, he said I can pay a fine and this goes away. Is that true?

First of all, why in the world would you consider taking legal advice from the person who just arrested you? Obviously, they are not looking out for your best interest. Same goes for the State Attorney’s Office.  Do not call them and ask for advice. Their job is to prosecute you, not help you.

By paying the citation you will receive either a misdemeanor conviction or a withhold of adjudication.  A conviction will follow you forever. A withhold of adjudication, although a decent result, will mean the record cannot be expunged (wiped clean).

Do I have to come back to Florida for court after a MIP in Destin?

If you do not have an attorney prior to your court appearance you MUST be present, unless you have been excused by the Court.  Failure to appear will result in an immediate bench warrant for your arrest and will not be resolved until you return to Florida to face the Court.

As long as you have retained an attorney before your court date, you will not have to return to Florida for court.

What happens if I am convicted of Minor in Possession?

  • You can be sentenced to up to 60 days in county jail;
  • You can be sentenced to up to 6 months’ probation;
  • You will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months;
  • You will have a criminal conviction on your record that can never be erased; and
  • You will be required to disclose your conviction to future employers, schools and licensing boards.

Protecting your future after a MIP arrest in Destin.

Flaherty Defense Firm is dedicated to defending people just like you. Criminal defense is the only law we have ever practiced. Focusing on one area of law gives our clients peace of mind knowing that they have a defense team devoted to their future.  For over 15 years we have been defending spring breakers and visitors to Okaloosa and Walton counties.

Do not leave your future to uncertainty.  You need an advocate and you need answers.  Flaherty Defense Firm is here to help you with both.  A simple mistake as a young person should not follow you for the rest of your life.

Flaherty Defense Firm can give you the help you need to fight your Minor in Possession charge. If you have been arrested or given a citation for Minor in Possession MIP in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, Okaloosa Island, or anywhere in Okaloosa or Walton County, call us today at (850) 460-7470 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 


K-9 Vehicle Searches In Okaloosa County

Are The Police Allowed To Use A Dog To Search My Car For Drugs?

Canine searches are commonly used by the police in Okaloosa County. Florida has taken a strict approach to drug regulation. It is because of the war on drugs that law enforcement is beefing up their tactics to catch suspected drug handlers, drug dealers, and the occasional drug user. Trained canine officers and their handlers make the challenge of cleaning up the drug problem easy work. How do you challenge the unbiased opinion of an “expert” at drug detection?

Most canine searches are conducted roadside after a traffic stop. Law enforcement does not have the right to search your vehicle without probable cause. They know this. A loop hole for law enforcement is the “free air sniff.” It is the canine approach to stepping on your Fourth Amendment rights. Essentially a “free air sniff” is the canine officer sniffing the air around your car for an alert. It is not a search and the air is free property, right?

The alert that the canine gives can come in two forms, passive or aggressive. The aggressive alert is easy to see. The canine will charge, growl, paw, and attempt to make contact with the illegal substance. The passive alert however could be as simple as the dog taking a seat or staring at one particular spot. With so many possibilities for an alert, how do we know the dog alerted? Who is responsible for understanding what an alert is? Simple, the biased law enforcement handler attached to the dog.

Canines do not view a drug situation in the same fashion as humans. A canine could care less that you are clean, have drugs or just sold drugs. Canines are driven by one goal: reward. In training, every canine is provided a reward immediately after they alert. Makes sense right? Dog does good, dog gets treat. If that were the case, canine searches would not be so controversial. The problem with the training and certification is that EVERY alert whether positive for drugs or negative for drugs receives a reward. This works great for the dog but not for you.

Just because a dog searched your car and altered on illegal narcotics does not mean your case is hopeless. You have rights, and because a dog was used in your arrest it is possible that your rights have been violated. Flaherty Defense Firm is no stranger to the “free air sniff” ploy used by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department. We will:

  • Challenge the time gap between contact and a canine search
  • Challenge the certifications and training of the canine
  • Review the canine’s track record and analyze the balance between successful and unsuccessful alerts.

Don’t let man’s best friend take your freedom.

If you were arrested for drug possession after a K-9 alert in Okaloosa County, your best chance at challenging the arrest is to retain the best criminal attorney you can find. I invite you to call Flaherty Defense Firm and see what a team like ours can do for you. Call us today at (850) 243-6097. We are available 24/7.


Crestview Sexual Battery Resolved With No Conviction

Because we defend a lot of sex crime allegations, we understand that for anyone facing such a charge, they are in a crisis. It is vital to have someone at your side who has been there before. Someone who knows what moves to make, and how to develop and execute a strategy that gets results.

GA hired us after being arrested for 9 different sex crime allegations in Crestview including multiple counts of Sexual Battery. He was facing a life sentence in prison.

We immediately got to work reviewing the evidence, contacting witnesses favorable to our case, and taking depositions of all the State witnesses. At one of these depositions, I caught the alleged victim in a big lie under oath and the Prosecutor knew it. After the deposition, the Prosecutor and I discussed a possible plea deal. I knew that with GA being a government contractor, he couldn’t accept any deal that involved sexual offender registration or a felony conviction. And obviously, he wasn’t willing to accept any time in jail or prison.

We ended up negotiating a plea that led to the dismissal of all the sexually related charges. He was able to stay out of jail, off the sexual offender registry, and he did not receive a felony conviction.

GA made a very wise decision when he decided to hire Flaherty Defense Firm to defend him. If you are in a similar situation and are facing a sex crime prosecution, call me right away at (850) 243-6097.

If you have been charged with or accused of Sexual Battery in Crestview or anywhere in Okaloosa County, call us today at (850) 398-8098 for a free, confidential consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Could I Go To Prison In Destin For Possessing A Few Pills?

Prescription painkillers such as Lortab and Oxycodone are miracle drugs. They provide pain management and comfort for patients recovering from surgery, suffering from cancer, or dealing with serious injuries. Unfortunately, these medications are also highly addictive. We are seeing an epidemic of cases involving people who started taking the medications for a legitimate reason, but then became addicted and continued taking them long after they were needed and long after their prescription had run out.

You would think that the law, and our society, would treat these people with compassion and rehabilitation. And in some cases, that is exactly what happens. But in other cases, being caught with just a few pills can lead to a mandatory prison sentence.

Possession of controlled substances without a prescription is a felony offense in Destin, Florida. It is a charge that the prosecutors aggressively pursue. And things only get worse if the amount possessed reaches a certain limit.

What is Trafficking?

Most people think of drug trafficking as something only “drug dealers” do. But under Florida law, Trafficking really just means possessing a certain amount of a controlled substance. The key thing to understand when it comes to prescription drugs, is that the Trafficking limits are based on weight, and in order to determine the weight, the police are allowed to combine the weight of the actual controlled substance with the weight of the other ingredients in the medication.

There is a mandatory minimum prison sentence associated with all Trafficking cases. A mandatory minimum sentence means that the Judge is bound to give you at least the minimum sentence if you are convicted. It takes away the Judge’s discretion and leads to a lot of people going to prison who don’t deserve to. Given the approach our local law enforcement takes when they arrest suspects, with drug cases in Destin, it can be a very difficult thing to get around.

How much do I have to have on me to get charged with Trafficking?

The minimum amount when it comes to opiate-based prescription drugs is 4 grams. If you are convicted of possessing between 4 and 14 grams, the Judge will be required to sentence you to a minimum of 3 years, and a maximum of 30 years, in prison.

The mandatory prison sentence is 15 years if the amount is over 14 grams.

Is there any way to keep from going to prison?

 My #1 responsibility with all of my clients is to do everything possible to keep them from going to jail or prison. There is no doubt that a Trafficking charge is serious and needs to be handled by a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending drug cases in Destin.

My team and I at Flaherty Defense Firm have successfully kept clients out of prison who were facing mandatory minimum sentences. Not all of them, unfortunately, but in every case, I could honestly say that we explored every option, and kept fighting. And while I can’t guarantee what result we will achieve for your case, I do guarantee that we will dedicate ourselves to your case and your freedom.

If you have been charged with Prescription Drug Trafficking or any Drug Offense in Destin, call us today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.


Soldier Charged With Aggravated Assault With Firearm in Crestview Avoids Prison

Sometimes, we are not able to get our client’s charges completely dismissed. The next best thing is to carefully negotiate a plea bargain that still accomplishes our client’s main goals.

WS was a perfect example of this. He was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Firearm after being accused of pulling a gun during an argument with kids from his neighborhood in Crestview. He was in the Air Force and was very worried about the impact this case would have on his career, his family, and his freedom.

When I first met with WS and his wife, I could tell that these were very nice people. The kind of people who would usually never end up meeting with a criminal defense lawyer. They were devastated when I had to tell them that an Aggravated Assault with a Firearm charge carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison. I promised them that I would do everything possible to keep this from happening.

For the next 11 months, we worked on this case. We took depositions of the witnesses, visited the crime scene, talked to the neighbors, talked to the victim’s family. We also put together an extensive mitigation file of our client detailing his military service awards and achievements.

At one point, it looked like we were not going to be able to work the case out. The only other option was to set the case for trial, which I did. After we were set for trial, the prosecutor approached me and asked if I would consider a plea bargain. I reminded her that I had told her months ago we were willing to work the case out.

After a lot of back and forth negotiations, we were able to resolve the case. His charge was amended to a lesser offense with no jail time. He also received a withhold of adjudication, which means he was not deemed a convicted felon. In short, he was given the opportunity to continue serving in the military and to continue being there for his family.

If you are looking for this level of commitment and dedication from your criminal defense lawyer, do yourself and your family a favor and call me at (850) 398-8098. We don’t settle for the first offer. We dig in and continue working until we get the best result possible.

If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault in Crestview or anywhere in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 398-8098 for a free and confidential consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


What Will Happen To My Case If I Was Arrested In Okaloosa County But The Victim Isn’t Going To Show Up?

This issue comes up most often in Okaloosa County with domestic violence cases. Usually, what happens is the alleged victim will report the crime, make a statement to the police implicating the suspect, and then later decide that they don’t want to prosecute.

You have several rights granted to you when you are facing a criminal charge. One is a constitutional right found in the sixth amendment and it is the right to confront your accusers and witnesses who have made statements against you in a criminal investigation. In 2004, Crawford v. Washington changed the way the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment was interpreted and made a significant adjustment for defense attorneys who were trying to exclude evidence that violated their client’s Sixth Amendment right. This is what we call the Crawford Test.

Now, in just about every domestic violence, assault, battery, sexual battery, robbery, or other case that involves a victim in Okaloosa County, the prosecutor cannot introduce testimonial evidence against you unless they have their witness in the courtroom to testify and back up their prior statements. This makes it much harder for them to prove their case against you because in many instances witnesses and victims become unavailable or cannot be located when it is time to go to court.

What is the Crawford Test and how is it applied in Okaloosa County cases?

The Crawford Test instructs that admission of hearsay statements violates a person’s Sixth Amendment rights if (1) the statement was testimonial and (2) the declarant is unavailable and the defendant had no prior opportunity to cross examine the declarant. There are ways that the State will try to get these statements in and taint the jury with them, which is one reason it is imperative to have a criminal defense attorney on your side that knows how to combat their tactics and protect your rights.

Will this rule really make a difference in my case?

This is a vital part of my defense strategy and I have used the Crawford Test in numerous cases to get the best possible results for my clients.

Let me give you an example on why this really works. When you were younger, did you ever come home and get in trouble because your brother or sister had blamed something on you? You knew you didn’t do anything wrong and when you called their bluff, face-to-face, the truth came out!

In principle, that is what I do in court to fight for you and save you from a criminal conviction. I have seen it happen many times; witnesses change their stories when I cross-examine them at trial and I use these inconsistencies to win your case. Sometimes, witnesses will end up exonerating you when put under the pressure of being questioned by a defense attorney. And if the State does not call their witnesses to testify, admitting their statements would be a violation of your Sixth Amendment rights.

What Do I Need To Do Next?

Having an attorney who practices here locally in Okaloosa County can make all the difference in your case. I know how and when to use the Crawford Test to secure better results for my clients, and when we meet, we’ll talk about whether I think it can help you.

If you have been arrested in Okaloosa County and want to fight back, call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 to schedule a free consultation.

 

 

 

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