okaloosa county criminal defenseHave you been arrested in Okaloosa County? Are the police investigating you or wanting to talk to you? Have you been charged with a DUI? If any of these questions apply to you, then finding the right criminal defense attorneys should be your #1 priority.

Defending Okaloosa County criminal cases is ALL we do.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I have been practicing criminal defense exclusively in Okaloosa County since 2001. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. Whether you are a local resident, a visitor from out of town, or a military member, Brandy and I can help. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call the Okaloosa County criminal defense lawyers of Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097.

We understand that being arrested is a scary and stressful experience. It is our job to help you feel better about where you stand, not worse. We will not resort to scare tactics or give you a sales pitch. Instead, we will give you honest, straight-forward advice about your case.

Okaloosa County Criminal Practice Areas

This is not an exclusive list, but the following are the most common charges that we help clients with:

An overview of the court system in Okaloosa County

For more specific information about misdemeanor and felony charges in Okaloosa County, you can click on the following:

For anyone who has been arrested in Okaloosa County, the case will be heard in one of two places: the courthouse in Crestview, or at the courthouse annex in Fort Walton Beach. The location is based on where the crime allegedly occurred, not where the defendant lives.

If you have a misdemeanor case in Crestview, your case will be heard by the Honorable Jim Ward. For a felony case in Crestview, the presiding judge is the Honorable Michael Flowers.

For misdemeanor cases in Fort Walton Beach, the cases are divided by the defendant’s last name. If your last name starts with A-K, your judge will be the Honorable Patricia Grinsted. If your last name starts with L-Z, your case will be heard by the Honorable Angela Mason.

If you have been charged with a felony in the south end of the county, your case will be heard at the courthouse in Fort Walton Beach. The two circuit court judges that hear felony cases are the Honorable William Stone and the Honorable John Jay Gontarek.

As for juvenile cases, the Honorable Terrence Ketchel presides over such cases in Crestview, and the Honorable John Brown presides in Fort Walton Beach.

I have practiced before all of these judges for years. We have a reputation as honest, prepared, and skillful advocates for our clients. Having attorneys with that kind of reputation can make all the difference in your case.

How the prosecutors in Okaloosa County will evaluate your case

Dealing with prosecutors is a numbers game. They have hundreds of cases, so it is vital to get them to look at you as an individual and not just another case number. We take the time to build a full profile of our client’s accomplishments, awards, character references, etc. Providing this information to the prosecutor at the appropriate time can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal or reduced charge.

We will also carefully review the State’s evidence against look to look for weak spots that we can exploit to your benefit.

When we sit down to discuss your case with the prosecutor, we will have a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of our case as well the state’s case. This allows Brandy and I to negotiate better deals for our clients and it also helps identify which cases need to go to trial.

A lot of our clients are first offenders who made a mistake a need a second chance. We will be aggressive in seeking a resolution that results in a dismissal of charges. For example, we will look at possibly a deferred prosecution agreement, or a referral to pretrial intervention. It is also very important to keep the option open to have the record expunged or sealed when the case is over.

Serious felony cases are a different matter. In these cases, simply providing mitigation will not usually be enough. Defending felony cases is an art and it requires another level of skill and expertise to protect you from a prison sentence or a permanent felony conviction.

Here at Flaherty & Merrifield, a large percentage of our cases are serious felony charges. We do not shy away from tough cases. We dig in and get to work protecting our clients.

Call an Okaloosa County criminal defense lawyer and get the help you need.

We understand that you may be “on the fence” about what to do next. Do yourself a favor and at least get some answers to your questions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all lawyers are the same, or even worse, that you don’t need a lawyer. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony crime in Okaloosa County, call us at (850) 243-6097 and put Flaherty & Merrifield to work on your defense.

Okaloosa County Legal Resources Guide

Flaherty & Merrifield defends local residents, vacationers, and military members who were arrested in Okaloosa County. Most people who get arrested are unfamiliar with the criminal justice and court system. We are providing this information as a helpful reference if you have questions about the Okaloosa County court system. Here you will find addresses and contact information for various local and state agencies and facilities.

Flaherty & Merrifield has three office locations in Okaloosa County. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us or today at (850) 243-6097 or contact us online if you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime in Okaloosa County.

Okaloosa County Court and Judge Information

An excellent resource for court locations, judges, and the various court programs offered in Okaloosa County can be found at the First Judicial Circuit’s website, www.firstjudicialcircuit.org.

Okaloosa County Clerk of Court

The Florida Constitution establishes that a Clerk of Clerk is an elected public official vested with a large number of administrative duties.

For Flaherty & Merrifield clients, the #1 function of the Clerk of Court is to provide notice of court dates, case numbers, judge assignments, and State Attorney assignments.

The Okaloosa County Clerk of Court’s website is: www.okaloosaclerk.com.

In Okaloosa County, there are 2 Clerk’s offices, one at the courthouse in Crestview, and one at the courthouse annex in Fort Walton Beach. Both have office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Crestview Clerk of Court’s information:

Okaloosa County Courthouse
101 E. James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-5000

The Fort Walton Beach Annex Clerk of Court’s Information:

Okaloosa County Courthouse Annex Extension
1940 Lewis Turner Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 651-7200

Okaloosa County Office of the State Attorney

The Crestview office serves northern Okaloosa County, while the Shalimar Office serves southern Okaloosa County.

Crestview Office of the State Attorney:

151 Cedar Ave.
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-5620

Shalimar Office of the State Attorney:

1B Ninth Ave.
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 651-7260

Okaloosa County Office of the Public Defender

The public defender is available for defendants who are not able to afford to hire private counsel. The public defender has offices in Crestview and Shalimar. Their website is www.pdo1.org.

Crestview Office of the Public Defender:

302 N. Wilson St. #301
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-5580

Shalimar Office of the Public Defender:

1A Ninth Ave.
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 651-7350

Okaloosa County Pretrial Services

The Pretrial Services program provides complete, accurate, and non-adversarial information to judges to facilitate bond decisions in compliance with Florida Statutes and Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The program also supervises pretrial defendants to make sure that mandated conditions and court-ordered requirements are met. More information can be found here:


Pretrial Services is based in Crestview:

Okaloosa County Pretrial Services
400 North Ferdon Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536

Okaloosa County Probation

Probation in felony cases in Okaloosa County is supervised by State Probation and Parole. Probation in misdemeanor cases in Okaloosa County is supervised by Judicial Corrections Services.

State Probation and Parole

Crestview Location:

250 Pine Ave. West
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-7804

Fort Walton Beach Location:

13 Kelly Ave. NE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
(850) 833-9132

Judicial Corrections Services

Crestview Location:

775 North Ferdon Blvd. Suite C
Crestview, FL 32536

Fort Walton Beach Location:
10 Industrial St. NW

Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
(850) 398-4600

Okaloosa County Department of Corrections

The Okaloosa County Jail houses inmates who are incarcerated prior to being sentenced, as well as inmates who have been sentenced to a jail term for Misdemeanor or Felony cases. For more information about the County Jail, their website is: www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/corrections/home.

Okaloosa County Jail Information:

1200 E. James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32539
(850) 689-5690

For information about an inmate at the county jail, access the Xjail website here.

Okaloosa County Law Enforcement Agencies

Most law enforcement functions in Okaloosa County are carried out by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. Their website is: www.sheriff-okaloosa.org. The Sheriff’s Office has locations in Crestview, Shalimar, Destin, Bluewater Bay, Okaloosa Island, Baker, and other locations throughout the county. Other communities in Okaloosa County maintain their own local police department.

To check the status of a warrant, go to: www.sheriff-okaloosa.org/warrants.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Main Locations:

Headquarters and Administration
50 2nd St.
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 651-7547

North District Office
197 E. James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32539
(850) 689-5650

East District Office
107 Stahlman Ave.
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 609-2094

Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Fort Walton Beach Police Department
7 Hollywood Blvd. NE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
(850) 833-9546

Crestview Police Department
201 Stillwell Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32539
(850) 682-3544

Niceville Police Department
212 Partin Dr. North
Niceville, FL 32578
(850) 729-4030

Valparaiso Police Department
465 Valparaiso Pkwy.
Valparaiso, FL 32580
(850) 729-5400

Shalimar Police Department
2 Cherokee Rd.
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 651-1115

Okaloosa County Department of Juvenile Justice

The Department of Juvenile Justice is the state agency responsible for the intake, assessment, court recommendation, and supervision, of juveniles charged with crimes in the juvenile justice system. Their website is: www.djj.state.fl.us.

When juveniles are incarcerated, it is called secure detention. Those juveniles are held at the Okaloosa Regional Juvenile Detention Center. They are located at:

4448 Straight Line Rd.
Crestview, FL 32539
(850) 689-7800

Okaloosa County Veteran’s Court

Veterans Court is a specialized court that serves military members who are suffering from behavioral, mental, or drug issues related to trauma experienced while serving in a combat or war zone. The Okaloosa County Veterans Court is a voluntary 12 to 18 month program. There is a dedicated court docket for these cases that substitutes the traditional court process with a problem-solving, treatment-based model.

Information about this program can be found at: www.firstjudicialcircuit.org/programs-and-services/veterans-court.

Their phone number is: (850) 609-5186.

Okaloosa County Mental Health Court

Mental Health Court is a specialized court docket for offenders with mental disabilities that offers a treatment-based model vs. a punitive, punishment-based model.

Information about this program can be found here.

Their phone number is: (850) 609-4700.

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Fort Walton Beach, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential case review.

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney