There are two types of criminal charges in Fort Walton Beach and throughout Florida: misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses. The key differences between the two are the maximum sentence and the long-term consequences for each.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that their case is “just” a misdemeanor and therefore does not need to be taken seriously. Do not let that be you. All criminal charges carry the possibility of incarceration and a permanent conviction on your record.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I am a local Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney. Since 2001, I have been defending locals, out of town visitors, and military personnel who have been accused of misdemeanor charges. Call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097.
Common misdemeanor offenses in Fort Walton Beach
The following are misdemeanor offenses that I have extensive experience defending in Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County:
- Driving Under The Influence
- Domestic Violence
- Possession of Marijuana
- Boating Under The Influence
- Retail Theft/Shoplifting
- Criminal Mischief
- Resisting an Officer without Violence
As you can see from this list, these charges are serious, so do not let the fact that they are misdemeanors deter you from making the right decision about defending yourself.
What are the different degrees of misdemeanor offenses?
There are two different degrees of misdemeanors: first degree and second degree.
First Degree Misdemeanors
A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000.00 fine.
Common examples include Driving Under The Influence, Domestic Violence, and Possession of Marijuana.
Second Degree Misdemeanors
A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to sixty days in jail and a $500.00 fine. Common examples include Assault and Shoplifting.
How serious is a Misdemeanor offense for military members?
With force reduction in full force, the military will potentially use ANY criminal conviction as the basis for separation. At a minimum, a military member is facing a LOR (letter of reprimand) and possible rank reduction for any criminal charge, including a misdemeanor.
Getting Misdemeanor Charges Dismissed
There are different options available that may result in your misdemeanor charge getting dismissed. The most common is pretrial diversion or deferred prosecution. These programs guarantee a full dismissal of all charges if the conditions are completed within the allotted time.
Not all charges qualify for pretrial diversion. Driving Under The Influence is one example. Even in cases that do qualify, it is still up to your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to secure this program for you. When we meet, we’ll talk about what I’ll do to make that happen.
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Misdemeanor Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a misdemeanor in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.