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.

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False Imprisonment Charges in Fort Walton Beach

I see this charge a lot when someone is arrested for Domestic Violence and there is an allegation that the suspect blocked the alleged victim from leaving, or prevented them from calling the police by taking their phone from them.

What is False Imprisonment?

Florida Statute 787.02 defines False Imprisonment as follows:

“Forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against his or her will.”

What is the penalty for False Imprisonment?

In Fort Walton Beach and throughout Florida, this charge is a 3rd degree felony offense which means that it is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5000.00 fine. Under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines, False Imprisonment is a Level 6 offense, which means it carries 36 points.

What defenses are there to False Imprisonment?

Prosecutors and cops love to “tack on” this charge to any domestic violence arrest where there is any allegation that someone was restrained in any way. However, the prosecutors in Fort Walton Beach are usually smart enough to realize that this charge is difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, just by setting the case for trial, I am successful in getting the False Imprisonment charge dismissed.

If the prosecutor won’t agree to dismiss, another strategy I have used is to set a deposition of the alleged victim. At the deposition, I am able to question the accuser in detail about the allegations with the hope of exposing holes in their story, or establishing that there really wasn’t enough evidence of confinement or restraint to continue with the False Imprisonment charge.

Obviously, every case is different. The advantage of hiring Flaherty Defense Firm is that I have been defending criminal cases right here in Fort Walton Beach since 2001. That means I have the experience to adapt our strategies to fit the circumstances of your case.

Call a Fort Walton Beach False Imprisonment Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with False Imprisonment, call the firm that gets results. Here at Flaherty Defense Firm, I am ready to put my expertise to work for you. Call anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (850) 243-6097.


Okaloosa County Aggravated Assault Charge Dismissed

DW was charged with Aggravated Assault and Domestic Violence in Okaloosa County. The allegation against her was that during a fight with her former boyfriend, she pointed a gun at him. Aggravated Assault with a Firearm carries a 3 year mandatory minimum sentence.

DW told me from the start that she wanted her day in court. Based on what she told me about what had happened, she had acted in self-defense. She had been sexually assaulted by the former boyfriend and his friend the night of the incident. They had also beaten her up. Finally, DW had had enough and pointed her gun at them and demanded that they leave.

You would think, based on this terrible and sad story, the police would have arrested the two rapists/assailants, but instead, they arrested her! They told her that since it was their word against hers, and there were two of them, they were going to believe their version of what happened.

I promised DW that I would never ask her to plead guilty to something she didn’t do. I also assured her that I would fight the case at trial if the prosecutor didn’t do the right thing and dismiss the charges.

I visited the crime scene and took photos. I basically did the job that the police should have done in the first place. I also documented all of DW’s injuries and resulting medical expenses and compiled the extensive criminal history of both of the two men.

When my investigation was complete and I had all of the information I needed, I provided all of it to the prosecutor and let him know in no uncertain terms that I was demanding a full dismissal of all charges. No deals. No plea bargains. The only options were a dismissal or a trial.

Once the State Attorney reviewed the information that I provided, he dismissed all charges.

Anyone can be arrested at any time and for any reason. I know that is a scary thought.

When the unthinkable happens, it is natural to think that eventually someone will see that a mistake has been made, and order will be restored. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating here. When you have been accused, freedom will not just be given to you. It must be fought for and taken.

Since 2001, Flaherty Defense Firm has been standing up for people in Okaloosa County just like DW — people who need a fighter on their side. Give me a call and decide for yourself whether I am the right attorney for you.

If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault in Okaloosa County, Flaherty Defense Firm can help. Call me anytime, day or night, at (850) 243-6097.


Shoplifting Charge Dismissed in Destin

ST was charged with Shoplifting in Destin. She was facing a sentence of 60 days in jail. When she came in to meet with me, she was very scared about what was going to happen to her. She was worried about the impact a theft conviction would have on her ability to get a good job to support her family.

I assured her that I would take care of this for her. I issued a subpoena for the security camera evidence and found a few things to work with. I also carefully reviewed the police reports and witness statements.

As part of what I do, I always explore ways to resolve a case without going to trial. It is important to do that in a way that doesn’t give away any of our leverage. The prosecutors know that I am willing to go to trial if needed, which allows me to negotiate better resolutions for my clients.

In ST’s case, the State offered to send her case to pretrial diversion. This was a very tempting offer because it guaranteed a case dismissal if successfully completed.

I met with ST in my office and laid out her options. I explained the pros and cons of each one. After several meetings with her family and me, she decided to accept the offer of pretrial diversion. While she was confident in my ability to win the case at trial, she decided that she couldn’t pass up the sure thing of a guaranteed dismissal.

ST completed her pretrial diversion and her case was dismissed. When it was over, she thanked me for going the extra mile to secure different options for her case. She also told me how much she appreciated that I let her make the decision and that I gave her plenty of time to make it. She said that she knew if she had gone with the public defender, she would have only had a few seconds to discuss the case and make her decision.

ST’s case might not qualify as a “big” case. It certainly didn’t make headlines. But you know what? It was very big to her and her family. Which means it was big to me. Every case I defend has huge implications for my clients, and I take every case, no matter how big or small, very seriously.

At Flaherty Defense Firm, I have over 15 years of experience successfully defending clients with all types of cases. I have the expertise and the talent to get the very best possible result for each of my clients.

If you would like to see what a difference I can make for you. I welcome your call.

If you have been charged with Shoplifting in Destin, I invite you to call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. I will help you get your life back on track.


Is It Possible To Get An Aggravated Assault Charge In Okaloosa County Reduced?

Aggravated Assault is a charge I see pretty often in Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County. It covers a wide variety of factual situations where someone is accused of using either a weapon or a firearm to threaten someone.

Aggravated Assault with a weapon or firearm is serious. It’s a third degree felony with a possible 5 year prison term.

So I am automatically going to prison for 5 years?

No. This is where a creative criminal defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with these cases in Okaloosa County can make a huge difference. There is a charge that the Aggravated Assault case can possibly be reduced to. It is called Improper Exhibition of a Firearm.

This charge is not a felony, it’s a misdemeanor. It is found in Florida Statute 790.10, and it states that in order for someone to be found guilty of this charge, the State must prove that the Defendant carried a firearm and exhibited it in a threatening, careless, angry, or rude manner in the presence of someone else.

This charge still talks about threats. How is this different from Aggravated Assault?

They are very similar. They both deal with conduct that is threatening and reckless. The key difference is that with Aggravated Assault, the prosecutor must prove your intent was to threaten, not just that that was the result, but that it was the intended result. With Improper Exhibition, it is more result-based. If your conduct was threatening, you can be found guilty of this crime. If you didn’t intend to threaten someone, you are likely not guilty of Aggravated Assault.

Let me illustrate it with an example:

  1. Aggravated Assault:  You point a gun at someone that you want to scare and tell them you are going to kill them.
  2. Improper Exhibition: At a party, you get really drunk and start waving a gun around with no intent of harming anyone.

I am writing about this difference because the prosecutors in Okaloosa County almost always start out by charging the more serious felony charge of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.

It is your criminal defense lawyer’s job to carefully review the facts of your case and determine whether an effective argument can be made to reduce the case from a felony to a misdemeanor.

I have successfully made that argument on behalf of my clients, and those clients were able to stay out of prison and were able to keep a felony off of their record.

Digging into a case’s minute details is what separates a really good defense attorney from an over-worked and inexperienced public defender, and it often makes all the difference in someone’s life.

Give yourself the best possible chance of staying out of prison and call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097. I am a highly effective Okaloosa County criminal defense attorney that knows how to get results for my clients.

Flaherty Defense Firm can give you the help you need when you need it the most. If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault in Okaloosa County, call me today at (850) 243-6097.


Burglary with Battery Charges in Okaloosa County

What is Burglary With Battery?

Burglary with Battery in Okaloosa County and throughout Florida is defined as a Burglary where the suspect, in the course of committing the offense, commits a battery against any person.

How serious is Burglary With Battery?

Burglary with Battery is a First Degree felony punishable by LIFE in prison. It is a level 8 offense under the Sentencing Guidelines, which means that it scores 34.5 months as a minimum mandatory prison sentence if convicted as charged.

For charges as serious as Burglary with Battery, you need a local criminal defense attorney with expertise in defending Burglary cases in Okaloosa County. Here at Flaherty Defense Firm, I have the experience and reputation that gets results for my clients. I’ve been earning that reputation one case at a time right here in Okaloosa County since 2001 and I am ready to dedicate myself to your defense.

If you’ve been charged with Burglary with Battery in Okaloosa County, call me at (850) 243-6097.


Choosing The Right Criminal Attorney In Destin

As an attorney who practices criminal defense in Destin, I’m in court several days a week. I get a chance to watch how other attorneys work; how they treat their clients; how they address the Court. It’s always obvious which attorneys seem confident and “on it,” and which ones seem flustered and ill-prepared.

Mediocre representation has becomes common. There are many reasons for this. One big one is that many attorneys are in a “race to the bottom” when it comes to fees. I really hope the practice of law hasn’t become a business where greed is the driving force and the model is “sign as many clients as possible for the lowest possible price and plead them guilty as quickly as possible.”

The old cliché of you get what you pay for definitely applies when it comes to choosing an attorney for your Destin criminal case.

At Flaherty Defense Firm, people call me all the time wanting me to “fix” what another attorney did. Usually, they either had the public defender, or they hired the cheapest payment plan lawyer they could find. Sometimes, I am able to help, but sadly, it is often too late.

There are two areas in particular where I see this subpar level of attorney representation:

(1)       The so-called “DUI Expert”

There are several attorneys in Destin who advertise themselves as DUI experts. They claim that DUIs are all they do. I am thinking of one attorney in Destin especially who only takes DUI cases and he pleads every single one of them guilty. Just the exact same deal the client could have gotten without an attorney. These attorneys will take your case on the cheap and then sell you out. They will scare you into taking the first deal offered by threatening that you could get jail time if you don’t plea out.

This is nonsense and you shouldn’t fall for it.

(2)       Felony Court

Felony court is a serious place that demands serious, thoughtful representation. It is a place where lives are in the balance and making the right moves is critically important. Before trusting your freedom to someone just because they quoted you a low fee, ask them if they have ever tried a case before a jury in felony court. Maybe even ask them if they have ever won a jury trial in felony court. I think you would be amazed by the response you might get.

It really comes down to value. Does it really matter if your attorney charged you a low fee if you end up in prison, or end up with a felony on your record that could have been avoided with the right defense strategy?

I guess the point of this post is to warn you to do your research. Do your homework. You don’t want to look back later and wonder if you could have done something different to give you a better outcome. By then, it will be too late.

You only get one chance to get this right. Your choice of defense counsel for your Destin arrest might be one of the most important decisions you ever make. You owe it to yourself to hire the very best criminal defense attorney you can.

If you have been arrested in Destin, I would be glad to meet with you to talk about your case. Call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 and let’s get to work planning your defense. I welcome your call, and I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Domestic Violence Strangulation Charges Dismissed in Okaloosa County

MC had two charges in Okaloosa County. He was charged with one count of Domestic Violence and one count of Domestic Violence Strangulation. The allegations centered around two separate incidents on different dates against his ex girlfriend.

Because my client had a lengthy prior record involving crimes of violence, I knew from the start that the prosecutor would be hesitant to negotiate with me, and I knew they would definitely not want to dismiss either charge.

When MC met with me for the first time, I told him that our strategy would be to develop an alibi defense for both charges and set them both for trial. He agreed with this strategy, and while he was very worried, he told me he would put his trust in me to do the best I could with a very difficult set of facts.

Our client provided us with 3 alibi witnesses who were prepared to testify that he was with them the entire day the felony Strangulation supposedly took place. I gave their statements to the prosecutor. Their first response was a 2 year prison offer.

Needless to say, that offer was rejected and I set both cases for trial. Within a couple weeks, the misdemeanor case was dismissed so we focused on the felony. Depositions took place where I continued to poke holes in the State’s case. I told the Judge we were ready for trial.

3 days before the trial, the case was dismissed. My client was extremely happy and relieved. He was also very grateful that I continued to fight for him over several months. He also told me that before he hired me, he met with a public defender who told him he was going to prison and there was nothing that could be done.

I don’t ever guarantee final results for my clients. However, I do guarantee that I will never, ever tell a client to just accept a prison sentence without doing everything possible to achieve a better result.

If you have been charged with Domestic Violence or Domestic Strangulation in Okaloosa County, give Flaherty Defense Firm a call at (850) 243-6097 and see what an effective criminal defense attorney can do for you. The call is free and confidential.


Lewd or Lascivious Sex Crime Resolved Without Prison Sentence In Okaloosa County

When I started Flaherty Defense Firm in 2004, I knew that I wanted to exclusively practice criminal defense law. What I didn’t really plan on was that eventually I would end up defending more sex crime charges than just about any other firm in Okaloosa County.

Any time a client is charged with a sex crime in Okaloosa County, a prison sentence is a very real possibility. Over the years, I have successfully resolved many of these cases. Some were won at trial, some were dismissed, and others were reduced to lesser charges. Getting a sexual charge reduced is important because usually that means my client is able to stay out of prison and is able to avoid having to register as a sexual offender.

DC was charged with Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition (L & L) in the presence of a minor under the age of 16. This charge is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. DC was accused of exposing his genitals in a lascivious manner in the presence of a minor child.

Upon hearing such an allegation, the disgust that most people feel is understandable. Anything involving sexual allegations against a child is something that any rational person would be repulsed by.

My job as a criminal defense attorney is to look for solutions to often impossible situations. I knew that DC would not likely “win” his case. He was captured on a security video committing the crime, and after being confronted by the police, he made a full confession.

When he came to meet with me, I was very realistic with him. I told him that it was more likely than not that he would go to prison for what he had done. But I also told him that there were things he could do to help himself. I instructed him to immediately enroll himself in sex offender counseling and to also return to the mental health therapy that he had been in before.

After several weeks in therapy, I was able to get DC’s therapist to write a letter indicating that DC was considered a low level risk to reoffend and that he had been actively participating in his therapy.

I had a series of meetings with the prosecutor. The first meeting did not go well. Her first inclination was to recommend a lengthy prison sentence followed by probation. Over the course of several more meetings, and after providing her with the therapist’s recommendation, the prosecutor eventually agreed to reduce DC’s Lewd or Lascivious charge to a non-sexual charge. She offered to allow him to plea to a probation sentence with no felony conviction on his record.

DC made a very wise decision when he decided to trust me with his defense. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve developed a reputation in sex cases as an attorney who gets results.

If you have been charged with Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition or any sexual offense in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 and I will put my experience to work for you.


Fort Walton Beach Battery Charge Dismissed

For my client, T.O., life was good. He had a nice house, a good job, and he was getting ready to marry the woman he loved. What burst his bubble was a scorned ex-husband who was determined to make my client as miserable as he was.  T.O. was stuck in the middle of a long standing custody dispute between his fiancée and her ex-husband. While he did everything he could for more than 7 years to stay clear of the arguing exes, one day the situation blew up right on his doorstep.

T.O. was working inside his house in Fort Walton Beach when the ex-husband charged the front door demanding to be let inside. The ex was asked several times to leave his property. T.O.’s fiancée and her ex-husband were arguing loudly, and when the ex-husband lunged toward her, T.O. pushed him back and told him to leave his property immediately.  The ex-husband punched T.O. in the face and fled the property.

Law Enforcement showed up a few minutes later and arrested T.O. for battery against the ex-husband.  He explained to law enforcement that he was defending himself and was not the first one to charge or issue a threat.

Given the volatile relationship between these parties, the ex-husband wanted the maximum sentence.  His goal was to get my client thrown in jail.  I immediately began working on the framework for a defense that included defense of others, defense of property, and self defense.  T.O. had the right to protect his fiancée on their property.  They had no duty to retreat from their own property.

I prepared this case for trial and informed the State that nothing short of a dismissal would get this matter resolved. The State’s back was against the wall considering their “victim” was very angry and wanted revenge.  With witnesses ready, subpoenas served, and a jury waiting in the wings, the State agreed to dismiss the case.

If you have been charged with Battery in Fort Walton Beach, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097. I am ready to put our experience and expertise to work for you.


Fort Walton Beach Domestic Violence Case Dismissed

Domestic Violence cases between siblings are tough. No matter how they turn out, most of the time the relationship between the siblings is changed forever. It also puts a huge strain on the parents of the two siblings when one of their kids was the aggressor and one was the victim.

When I take on Domestic Violence cases in Fort Walton Beach between siblings, I explain that my ethical duty is to defend them — not to repair their family relationship — not to protect anyone except my client. If I can do that AND protect the family relationships, I am happy to do it. But I will always choose the strategy that gives me the best chance of winning my client’s case.

JD’s case presented such a dilemma. He was accused of Battery in Fort Walton Beach against his brother. He told me that it was his brother who had started the argument, and it was his brother who was the one who got physical. However, JD told me that he would not allow me to blame his brother.

As a criminal defense attorney, I am required to adapt to many different circumstances with each client’s case. In JD’s case, I helped my client’s brother write a statement that explained what happened, but I did it in a way that kept him from getting himself into trouble. JD was fully on board with this strategy, and it worked.

I gave the brother’s statement to the prosecutor. I also told him that JD was not going to accept any guilty pleas. I made it clear that we expected a dismissal, and that given the unique circumstances between two brothers who truly loved each other, it was the right thing to do.

The prosecutor dismissed the case. JD and his brother were never required to testify against each other in court, and they were able to reconcile. All in all, a very happy ending to a terrible experience for this family. I was glad to be able to help.

If you have been arrested for Domestic Violence in Fort Walton Beach, I’m sure you are looking for results. Call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 and let’s talk about it.

 

 

 

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10.0Tim Michael Flaherty

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