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

No Conviction For Destin Juvenile Sex Crime

Our first priority in any juvenile case is to keep the case in juvenile court where the goal of the entire system is to rehabilitate rather than punish.

It’s a little more complicated with sexually related crimes. Even if someone is convicted in juvenile court, they can still be deemed a sexual offender and will have to register as one for the rest of their life.

JT was my Destin juvenile client. He was a 16-year-old boy who was charged with sexually molesting his younger sister. When I first met with JT and his parents, I was worried that the Prosecutor would file the charge as an adult. If they had, JT was looking at a 15 year prison sentence. Even in juvenile court, he faced incarceration until he was 21 years old.

I convinced the prosecutor to leave the case in juvenile court. JT and his family cooperated fully with the Department of Juvenile Justice because they were the ones who would make the ultimate recommendation to the Judge. At my suggestion, his family also enrolled JT in a sexual offender treatment program for juveniles. After he completed the program, the Doctor scored JT as a low-risk to reoffend and recommended a non-jail sentence.

At the final hearing, the Judge sentenced JT to probation. He allowed the case to stay at the juvenile level. He was not designated a sexual offender.

I was very happy to help this young man and his family as they tried to put the pieces of their family back together. Because I am a parent myself, I can imagine how stressful dealing with something like this must be.

If you entrust Flaherty Defense Firm with your child’s defense, I will do everything I can to help you get through such a traumatic time.

If your child has been accused of a sex crime in Destin, call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential consultation.

My Son Was Arrested In Okaloosa County. What Do I Do Now?

If your son or daughter has recently been arrested in Okaloosa County, you are probably looking for answers from someone you can trust. I want you to know that I am a parent too and I want to help your family through this difficult time.

The juvenile court system is different from the adult system in one very important way: The purpose of the adult system is to punish someone for their crimes. The purpose of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate someone so that they don’t repeat their crimes once they are adults.

In Okaloosa County, what else is different about juvenile court?

Probably the biggest difference is that in juvenile court, your child does not have the right to a jury trial like in adult court. In juvenile court, the Judge acts as the judge and jury and decides guilt or innocence. Here in Okaloosa County, we are very fortunate to have very smart and compassionate judges that preside over juvenile cases. Our two judges are Honorable Jay Gontarek and Honorable Terrence Ketchel.

While both of these judges are fair judges, it can still be a very stressful experience to have to stand in front of the court and make quick decisions with your son or daughter while the judge waits. And keep in mind, you will be required to stand with your child since you are responsible for what they did as their parent.

Wouldn’t you feel better having an experienced and dedicated juvenile defense attorney standing at you and your child’s side?

If it’s “only” a juvenile case, the record won’t be public right?

This is a common misconception a lot of people have. While there is more privacy with juvenile records than adult records, the following people/agencies will still be able to access the records:

  • Florida Department of Corrections
  • Okaloosa County Sheriff
  • Fort Walton Beach Police Department
  • Niceville Police Department
  • Crestview Police Department
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • The Victim of the crime and his/her parents
  • Any other local law enforcement agencies

Are juvenile records automatically expunged or erased?

No they are not. Once the Okaloosa County juvenile case is resolved in court, the case may be eligible for a record expungement or seal. That is something I will review with you when we meet to discuss the case.

Flaherty Defense Firm can give your family the help you need. If your child has been arrested in Okaloosa County, call me at (850) 243-6097.

Juvenile Drug Charges in Destin.

Florida’s no tolerance drug policy leaves little room for alternatives when it comes to a conviction for drugs. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to act fast and get help.

What are the penalties for possession of drugs by a juvenile?

Provided your child is arrested for a misdemeanor, the penalties are up to one year incarceration and fines. Those penalties are the maximum that the State of Florida can give your child for a conviction of misdemeanor drug or paraphernalia possession. For felony possession the penalties are significantly worse. A third degree possession felony, the lowest degree of felony, has a maximum incarceration of up to five years. The sentences for drug offenses are harsh and not rehabilitative.

What can a parent do to protect their child?

If you are reading this, your child has already been arrested or charged with some form of drug possession. You are probably angry at your child for their actions and the trust established between you and your child has been broken. You may be filled with more questions than answers at this stage. What you do to handle this situation from this moment will change your child’s future forever. Your actions or failure to act will be with your child for the rest of their life.

Your child has the right to a future and you deserve answers.

I am a parent myself, so I understand what a tough time this must be for your family. In this situation, knowledge is definitely power. I offer answers in a non threatening environment. No sales pitch. No scare tactics. Just common sense advice from one parent to another.

Someone told me that juvenile cases are not that serious. A juvenile crime is sealed, right?

That statement is true in part and false in part. If your child is arrested for a juvenile drug crime and the charge remains in juvenile court, the record will eventually be sealed from the public eye. However, the record will not be sealed from law enforcement in the event your child gets in trouble in the future.

What can a juvenile attorney do to protect my son or daughter?

In the juvenile process there are several phases. Each phase builds on the next until we reach final disposition. Each phase is vital to achieve the desired outcome.

Phase 1: In phase 1 your son or daughter has just been charged with drug possession. I will meet with both you and your child and discuss the alleged crime, potential outcomes, and your child’s plans for the future. This stage is important because I need to understand the family background and dynamics as well as the details surrounding the charge.

Phase 2: Immediately following a charge or arrest, the Department of Juvenile Justice is notified. The job of a juvenile justice probation officer is to screen your child for propensity to re-offend and offer guidance to the prosecutor and the judge about your child. This phase is the most critical one in this process. I will attend this meeting with you and your son or daughter and offer support. I will work with you to establish rapport with the probation officer and position the case for a favorable outcome.

Phase 3: This phase generally involves communication between the State Attorney, the probation officer and I. During this phase I build mitigation and supporting background information. The goal at the conclusion of these meetings is to have a clear understanding of the facts and evidence against your child, a solid back story about your child and potential resolutions outlined to resolve your son or daughter’s case.

Phase 4: The court phase. During this phase, there will be a court appearance that you and your child must attend. This court date can be critical to show the judge your eagerness to make sure your child is held accountable but also not treated unfairly.

Phase 5: The final phase is the disposition phase. By this point I will have met with you and your son or daughter several times, discussed the case in detail with probation, and set a plan to resolve the case with the State Attorney. The judge will review the proposed resolution and the case will be resolved through an agreement, program, pretrial diversion, or a trial.

I understand the stress you must be feeling as a parent right now. You’re trying to: (1) enforce parental rules; (2) protect your child; (3) find the best possible help for your child and (4) make sure the outcome does not destroy your child’s life. I have represented many juveniles facing drug charges. I will help guide you and your child through the system and get back on track

If your son or daughter has been charged with drug possession in Destin, call me today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. 

Juvenile Sex Crimes in Destin.

Being charged with a sexual crime is an incredibly traumatic experience. Seeing your child face such a devastating accusation is unimaginable. If your child has been charged with a sexual crime in Destin, it is important to act fast.

Don’t let your child’s life be decided by a public defender or a low cost attorney.

Sexual offenses in juvenile court require knowledge, finesse and fight. Trusting your child’s life to an overworked public defender or a budget criminal attorney that does not understand juvenile law can mean a lifetime of consequences.

Does it really matter which attorney I hire for my child?

Not all attorneys are the same. Specifically, not all criminal attorneys handle juvenile cases. The juvenile justice system is completely separate from the adult system. The prosecutor, probation officers, judges and law enforcement staff operate in a manner that is unlike any other court experience. A juvenile sex case should be defended by an attorney with expertise in defending sexual offenses as well as expertise in representing juveniles in the juvenile justice system.

My child is technically guilty of the offense; shouldn’t they just take their punishment?

Ensuring that your child is responsible for the offense and receives punishment is important. As parents we want our children to be accountable for their actions and face the music. However, it is imperative that you as a parent understand what that means for your child accused of a sexual crime. There is no scenario where your child can face their punishment without lifelong implications when the charge is sexually related. The cost is too great and can impact not only your child’s future but yours as well.

If your child is charged with any of the following you can expect them to be placed on the National Sexual Offender Registry for a term of 25 years:

  • Sexual Battery
  • Lewd or Lascivious Battery
  • Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
  • Any sexual conviction involving force or coercion

What is the Sexual Offender Registry?

The National Sexual Offender and Predator Registry is a national database that requires communication with law enforcement of persons convicted of certain sexual offenses. Some of the sanctions imposed by being placed on the sexual offender registry are:

  • do not live within a designated distance of a school, park, bus stop or daycare facility.
  • do not leave the county of residency without public notification
  • transfer to another state requires court ordered permission
  • immediate community notification
  • denial of Federal Housing assistance
  • no contact with minors
  • possibly no contact with siblings

What makes Flaherty Defense Firm different from other criminal defense attorneys?

First, we are all parents and we understand the traumatic experience you as a parent are facing. Second, we have handled many juvenile cases ranging from low level misdemeanors to capital felony offenses. Third, we have a track record that speaks for itself specifically with juveniles charged with a sexual offense. Fourth, we have been practicing in Destin for over 13 years. Our reputation with the local judges, juvenile probation officers, detention staff and juvenile prosecutors allows our firm to provide insight to you about your child’s case.

What can I do for my child now?

The best defense is a strong offense. Contact our office today to discuss your options. Our team will begin working immediately to identify defenses, contact the prosecutor, develop mitigation and prepare a plan of attack to limit the exposure your child is facing. The benefit of having a defense team in the beginning could greatly impact your child’s future.

The consult is free. The decision is yours. Let our team protect you and your child’s future.

When your child’s future is at stake, Flaherty Defense Firm can give you the help you need. If your son has been charged with a juvenile sexual crime in Destin, call us today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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10.0Tim Michael Flaherty

Call (850) 243-6097 for your free consultation.