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 & Merrifield 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?

arrested on spring breakSimple.  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 & Merrifield 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 & Merrifield 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.

Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been arrested while on vacation in Florida, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney