Pleat & Perry, P.A. obtains defense verdict for client in Walton County criminal case

Timothy J. Sonnier was charged with Aggravated Assault by threat, a third degree felony in the State of Florida and Aggravated Battery with Great Bodily Harm or with a Deadly Weapon, a second degree felony in the State of Florida. As the State alleged that Mr. Sonnier discharged a firearm during the commission of a felony Florida's "10-20-Life" Law Applied. Mr. Sonnier was facing a minimum term of 20 years in Prison.

Mr. Sonnier, a Louisiana resident, was accused of firing shots at and pistol-whipping the alleged victim while visiting Miramar Beach, FL to attend a family member's wedding. Initial reports were based solely upon the alleged victim's statements leading law enforcement to believe that Mr. Sonnier had committed criminal acts against the alleged victim.

In actuality, Mr. Sonnier, his wife, and three children were the real victims in the incident. Mr. Sonnier was defending himself, his life and the safety of his family from an intoxicated aggressor. Mr. Sonnier insisted at all times that this was a clear matter of self defense and maintained his innocence throughout, even while facing a minimum sentence of 20 years in Prison. All plea bargain offers from the State were refused by Mr. Sonnier.

On March 8, 2010, the criminal trial in the matter of the State of Florida v. Timothy J. Sonnier began. Partners with the law firm of Pleat & Perry, P.A., William J. "West" Ritchie represented Mr. Sonnier in this case of self defense. On March 9, 2010, the Jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty on all counts charged, vindicating and clearing the name of Timothy J. Sonnier.

Mr. Sonnier's case was one which should serve as a reminder to the public: always reserve judgment until both sides of the story have been presented. The laws of our State and our Country dictate that innocence is maintained until you are proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.