No one plans on getting arrested. No one budgets for needing to hire a criminal defense attorney. I realize that the last thing you want to spend money on is a lawyer to help you out of your Destin domestic violence case.
If a client comes to see me with a case that I don’t think they need an attorney for, I tell them that. I will NOT take money from someone unless I truly feel like I can help them.
Domestic violence cases in Destin are one type of case where I definitely think you should at least consult with an experienced criminal lawyer before making any decisions or entering any kind of plea in court.
Why Do I Say This?
When someone with a Destin domestic violence case goes to court unrepresented, the prosecutor knows that the person doesn’t know the law — doesn’t know the full consequences of the plea decisions they make. Some prosecutors will take advantage of this and offer plea deals that sound good on the surface but have far-reaching implications. It is the fine print that they don’t tell you about that will stay with you forever.
What Kind of Plea Bargain Will They Offer for a Domestic Violence Charge?
The prosecutor will usually offer something called a withhold of adjudication. This means that the person is not technically convicted of the crime. Sounds good right?
WRONG. If you ever want to be able to expunge this domestic violence case from your record, you will not qualify for a record expungement if you received a withhold of adjudication. The only way a domestic violence case can be expunged is if the case is dismissed completely.
How Do You Get a Destin Domestic Violence Case Dismissed?
There are two ways to get your case dismissed:
- Convince the prosecutor to do the right thing and drop the case, or
- Complete a pretrial diversion program that guarantees a dismissal
That’s it. Those are the only two ways you will ever be able to expunge your domestic violence arrest from your record. The prosecutor will NOT tell you this. They will not explain that once you take the plea, it will be too late to ever take it back. That is why it is so important to do everything possible to get the right result.
Contact an Okaloosa County Domestic Violence Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with Domestic Violence in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.