Okaloosa County DUI Attorney
Flaherty Defense Firm defends local residents, military members, and out of town visitors in Okaloosa County who have been charged with DUI.
With over 16 years of experience defending DUI cases right here in Okaloosa County, our firm offers the help you need when you need it most. Let us lower your stress level by allowing us to go to work for you. Our #1 goal is to minimize the effects of this DUI arrest. We will help you put this nightmare behind you so that you can get back to your life.
We understand what’s at stake after a DUI arrest
We know that a DUI can have lifelong consequences. That is why you need to fight back. Your future may depend on the decisions you make now. Our clients include military service members, contractors, vacationers, commercial truck drivers, and professionals from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or what you do for a living. At Flaherty Defense Firm, we believe every client is worth fighting for.
What will an Okaloosa County DUI lawyer do for me?
Anytime a client is accused of DUI, we know that there are short-term and long-term concerns to address. Usually, the most urgent short term issue is our client’s ability to drive. Long term, the issue is minimizing the lifelong impact that a DUI conviction will have on our clients.
Step One: Preserving Your Ability to Drive
We work to minimize the effect of the Driver’s License Suspension stemming from a DUI arrest. You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). If your license was otherwise valid, by requesting this hearing within 10 days, you will be given a permit that allows you to drive on a limited basis for approximately 6 weeks. This buys you time to fight the administrative suspension and allows our team to prepare for the formal hearing. When you call us for your free consultation, we will discuss in detail what we will do to fight the DHSMV suspension of your license.
There is also a process called “waiver review” that we will discuss. This process allows you to drive for the entirety of your administrative suspension. It is only available to first-time offenders who are licensed in Florida. There is a fairly complicated application process for this that we will be happy to help you with free of charge if you call us about your DUI case.
Step Two: Review, Strategize, and Defend
There are a few local DUI attorneys who take money from their clients and then plead every single one of them guilty. That type of attorney gives all of us a bad name. A good Okaloosa County DUI lawyer will only take a case if he or she believes they can help their client.
At Flaherty Defense Firm, we believe that a strong, proactive approach is always the best way to defend a DUI charge. We will carefully review all of the evidence against you and creatively look for ways to exclude or suppress evidence that is damaging to your case.
We will carefully review the basis for the police stop, field sobriety testing, breath alcohol testing or refusal, and video evidence to look for flaws or holes in the State’s case. Now that most Okaloosa County deputies are wearing body cameras, we are able to closely review law enforcements actions to look for mistakes. We know where to look to find the issues that will help you get the best result.
What if I was in an accident after drinking and driving?
If you were the driver in an accident, and someone was severely injured or killed, you could be facing felony charges of DUI with Serious Bodily Injury or DUI Manslaughter. Both of these charges require a mandatory felony conviction and prison sentence if you are convicted.
DUIs in Okaloosa County are technical and complex
The State Attorneys and Okaloosa County Sheriff deputies are very well-trained and dedicated to convicting those accused of drunk driving. However, remember that an accusation is just that. It is not a conviction. You need a defense team with the ability to understand complex technical information, as well as medical and scientific information. Don’t trust your criminal record, your ability to drive, or your freedom to an attorney lacking in DUI experience. Don’t sell yourself short.
The chart below summarizes some of the potential penalties if you are convicted of DUI in the State of Florida:
Penalties for Florida DUI
|Charged Offense||Potential Jail/Prison||Potential Probation||Driver’s License Suspension||Fines||Ignition Interlock Device||Vehicle Impound|
|1st Offense||Up to 6 months||Up to 12 months||6-12 months||$500-$1000||N/A||10 days|
|1st Offense, BAC >1.5||Up to 9 months||Up to 12 months||6-12 months||$1000-$2000||Min. 6 months||10 days|
|2nd Offense||Up to 9 months||Up to 12 months||6-12 months||$1000-$2000||Min. 12 months||10-30 days|
|2nd Offense, within 5 years of prior DUI||Up to 9 months, 10 days min. mandatory||Up to 12 months||Min. 5 years||$1000-$2000||Min. 12 months||30 days|
|3rd Offense||Up to 12 months||Up to 12 months||6-12 months||$2000-$5000||2 years||30 days|
|3rd Offense, within 10 years of prior DUI||Felony Conviction – 5 years, 30 days min. mandatory||Up to 5 years||Min. 10 years||$2000-$5000||2 years||30 days|
|4th Offense||Felony Conviction – 5 years||5 years||Permanent||$2000-$5000||N/A||30 days|
A conviction for DUI in Okaloosa County stays on your record forever
With some criminal charges, the accused is eligible to have adjudication withheld, or can have their case dismissed upon completion of a pretrial diversion program.
This is NOT the case with DUIs. If you are convicted of DUI, it is mandatory that you be adjudicated guilty, which means the conviction stays on your record forever. DUI convictions in Florida are also not eligible for record expungement or record seal.
Call an Okaloosa County DUI attorney and get the help you deserve
As the chart above demonstrates, DUIs come with heavy sanctions. They are certainly punished more severely than any other misdemeanor offense. And if this current arrest is not your first DUI, mandatory jail time becomes a real possibility.
You only get one chance to fight for the best possible result. Once you have been convicted, it is too late. That is why it is imperative to try to get the best result possible. At Flaherty Defense Firm, we work tirelessly to try to get cases reduced or dismissed. We know how to minimize risk to our clients while putting them in the best possible position for a successful outcome.
When you are ready to put a professional Okaloosa County DUI lawyer to work for you, call Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.