As a military service member, an arrest can be an extremely terrifying time. Not only do you have to consider the criminal charges against you and what your future holds, you also must consider what an arrest will do to your military career. For service members, having the right advocate on your side who knows the law and is willing to do whatever it takes to fight for you is critical.
Since 2004, Flaherty & Merrifield has been fighting for service members in Crestview and the surrounding areas. Whether you are attached to 7th group, EOD, or serving a TDY tour, let our experienced Crestview military arrest attorneys fight for you.
You protect our freedom, let us protect yours.
Who can I trust to defend my criminal charge in Crestview?
You need a team who has knowledge and experience in defending military members. Going with the state funded public defender’s office or cheapest attorney you can find may not be your best option if you a military member. A conviction for even a misdemeanor offense could be enough to end your military career. Through zealous advocacy and an aggressive defense strategy, Flaherty & Merrifield has a track record of protecting our military members from any further repercussions. Do your homework before hiring a criminal defense attorney.
If you are a military member charged with a crime in Crestview, we encourage you to look at our Google reviews, and see for yourself how Flaherty & Merrifield has helped defend countless other military members just like you.
Civilian Court vs Military Courts and the UCMJ
A civilian arrest happens when a service member is arrested by civilian law enforcement outside the military’s jurisdiction. This means, any arrest not made on government property is likely a civilian arrest. The civilian courts are very different from military courts. Civilian courts are governed by the United States Constitution, the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, and the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The civilian realm requires an understanding of the system and the people involved. In a civilian case, your attorney will have the opportunity to challenge the evidence against you and negotiate on your behalf. Skilled negotiation is a vital role in the civilian court system. Some cases can be won or lost before they ever see a courtroom. This is why it is imperative you have an attorney that understands how to navigate you safely through each phase of your civilian case.
The Military Court system is governed by the UCMJ and with that comes a very unique set of rules and criteria. In cases involving military jurisdiction, your rights are very different, and the rules concern more immediate issues such as duty, ability to PCS, ability to attend school, reduction in rank, and even court martial. At Flaherty & Merrifield, we will work with your assigned ADC representative to collectively work toward the same goal, your future.
What will a criminal charge in Crestview do to my military career?
If you have been arrested, your military career could be hanging on by a thread. We understand that and we want to help you get back on track. Regardless of whether you are stationed at Eglin AFB, Duke Field, or Hurlburt AFB, command will take steps to protect the uniform. That means you could be facing immediate punishment with life-long effects. Some forms of immediate sanctions we have seen include:
- Confinement to Post
- Reduction in Rank
- Denial of school benefits
- Imposition of extra duty
- Suspension of PCS or TDY
- Article 15
- Separation Board or Court Martial
The military has taken a hard stance on certain crimes. That stance has cost many active duty members their career. Alcohol related offenses have been the #1 career killer we have seen. Other common offenses that the military will impose immediate punishment for are crimes of domestic violence or sexual assault. In some cases, command will wait until the civilian case has been resolved. In other scenarios, they will take action against you before the civilian case is resolved.
How will you defend my criminal charge in Crestview if I am military?
Criminal charges can be defended a multitude of ways. At Flaherty & Merrifield, we view every case, especially ones involving service members and veterans, as extremely serious. We prepare our cases as though they will go to trial. While most cases never make it to trial, taking this offensive approach has served our clients well. We posture each of our clients so they are seen in a more favorable light to the prosecuting attorney, regardless of what the police report may allege.
We review every piece of evidence, police report, witness statement, and digital surveillance in depth. We explore each case for motions to file, depositions to take, specific strategies to employ depending on the charge and client, and aggressively fight to win your case.
What outcomes can I expect from my criminal charge in Crestview?
The outcome of your case will depend on what you are charged with. For service members and veterans, there are special programs in place that you may qualify for.
One of the greatest contributions to protecting the careers and futures of current and former soldiers came with the adoption of the T. Patterson Maney Veteran’s Court Program. The Veteran’s Court Program is a diversion program that results in a dismissal of the charges against you upon successful completion. The benefit to Veteran’s Court is the conditions and requirements in the program are VA related and are designed to provide services to service members and veterans. The program works in connection with your current VA doctors and offers additional resources to help with civilian adjustment, PTSD, TBI, and other service-related conditions.
If the Veteran’s Court Program is not a good option for you, we will explore other forms of diversion that could result in a dismissal of your charges. Other options can include probation, community service, fines and costs, attending specialized classes, or therapeutic services.
A conviction is almost never an option for a service member or veteran. A criminal conviction, whether misdemeanor or felony, can have lifelong consequences. Some of those consequences can disrupt or even end your career and future. We understand what is at stake and will advocate for you each step of the way.
Can I possess a weapon in the military when I have a criminal charge in Crestview?
Possession or the ability to possess a weapon for military service is a vital requirement for all service members. Depending on your charge, possession of a weapon may be prohibited. When possession of a weapon is not allowed because you are facing a criminal charge, it puts your future with the military in jeopardy. The military makes it clear that a service member must have the ability to possess a weapon for military service. What this means for you, the service member, is that your charge and the outcome of your case, must allow you to have a weapon or your career will be over. Because there is so much at stake, other than just personal weapon possession, you need a criminal defense team that understands the many minefields that are present in defending a service member.
Contact Flaherty & Merrifield if you are a military member who was arrested in Crestview
You need an advocate that not only understands the civilian side, but also knows how to protect your military career. We never forget that everything you have worked for is at stake. Our responsibility is to save your career and we will do everything possible to make that happen. Since 2004, we have been defending military members accused of crimes in Crestview and Okaloosa County. Criminal Defense is our only area of practice.
As a military member, you defend all of us. We would be honored to defend you.
Call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098 if you are looking for local attorneys with experience defending military clients in Crestview. There is no charge for the first meeting, so there is no down side to calling and finding out how we can help you.