Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Formally defined, “criminal law” applies to the rules and statutes the government creates to prevent conduct that threatens and harms public safety. Crimes generally get categorized as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on their nature, and each offense has a maximum issuable punishment based on its severity. Most states, in fact, subdivide felonies and misdemeanors into different “classes” based on the nature of the offense.

Common criminal charges

As the Okaloosa County criminal defense attorneys at the Flaherty Defense Firm explain, common criminal charges include:

  • Domestic violence: oftentimes, police arrest individuals when responding to a domestic dispute regardless of whether there were signs of actual violence or injury. This arrest in and of itself can damage one’s criminal record.
  • Assault and battery: assault is a threat to do harm, while battery actually causes physical harm.
  • DUI: an experienced lawyer can help someone convicted of a DUI minimize the extent of their punishment and work to preserve their ability to drive
  • Sex crimes: penalties for this offense are generally severe—offenders often receive a lengthy mandatory prison sentence and are forced to register as a sex offender after being released.
  • Drug offenses: includes possession (or trafficking) of marijuana, heroin, and any other illegal substance.
  • Juvenile charges: applies to cases in which the offender is too young to be charged in an adult court
  • Theft: includes charges of shoplifting, burglary, dealing in stolen property, and grand theft

In addition to helping clients in court, many criminal lawyers support their clients immediately following the incident. For example, some lawyers help their clients determine whether there’s an arrest warrant against them and whether there’s a bond on the arrest warrant.

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Sexual Battery: A Class B Felony in some States, while a Capital Felony in Others

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

In August of 2016, a 29-year old music instructor from Johnson County in Kansas was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated indecent liberties. His victim was a 7-year-old girl. Prior to this conviction, said music instructor had also been charged in the past with sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor, first-degree child molestation, first-degree statutory sodomy, and possession of child pornography.

Both federal and state laws consider crimes that cause innocent victims severe harm as very serious offenses; thus, offenders are given heavy punishments, like incredibly costly fines and years of imprisonment; some offenders are even sentenced to life in prison.

Very serious crimes include: treason, which is betrayal of one’s country and the most serious crime in the U.S.; murder, which is the unlawful planned killing of another person; and, sex crimes, such as rape, predatory sexual assault and, in a number of states, sexual battery.

Sexual battery, in particular, is any form of unwanted or non-consensual touching or sexual contact; it does not involve sexual intercourse or penetration as in the case of rape. In some states, sexual battery is referred to as criminal sexual contact and it can be committed in many different ways, like grabbing or fondling a woman’s breast, patting a person’s buttocks, forcing a kiss on the mouth, forcing a victim to touch an offender’s intimate body part, or touching a victim’s genital area; these acts are committed by an offender for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying himself/herself.

The most common victims of sexual battery include a relative, a classmate, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a dating partner, or even a spouse. As explained by the firm Horst Law, sexual battery can be elevated to an aggravated form, specifically, to Class B felony, if the offender committed the offense while using a weapon as a means of force or coercion, causing bodily harm, engaged in the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim was less than 13 years old.

In some states, sexual battery is considered a capital felony if the offender is at least 17 years old and the victim, below the age of 12 and, if the act causes injuries to the victim’s sexual organ. Capital felony is punishable with life imprisonment or death.

As frightening as the immediate consequences of a conviction for any sexual offense are, another cause for serious concern is that a conviction will directly affect the way a person will be able to live the rest of his/her life. He/She may also be ordered to register as a sex offender if he/she is convicted; the outcome of this case is likely to affect his/her employment opportunities, living arrangements, and conceivably even his/her personal relationships.

All these are frightening, indeed. However, though accused, no conviction has been made yet, which means the person accused will still be able to defend himself/herself and his/her reputation in court – with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.


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