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Other Crimes

Updated: May 7, 2023


Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty is anything done to inflict pain, suffering or even death on an animal, e.g., withholding food and water from animal or beating the animal beyond what is necessary for normal discipline. When it comes to the crimes involving animals beware that member of the public and potential jury pool are very sympathetic to this kind of cases, so you need a skilled attorney to pick the jury and defend you when you are charged.

Under Florida law (Florida statues 828.12), torment or cruel manner includes every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue when there is reasonable remedy or relief, except when in the interest of medical science.

To prove the crime of animal cruelty, the State/Prosecutor must prove one (1) of the elements below beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant unnecessarily overloaded or overdrove or tormented or mutilated or killed an animal. Or

  2. The defendant deprived an animal of necessary sustenance or shelter. Or

  3. The defendant carried an animal in or upon a vehicle or otherwise in a cruel or inhumane manner.


Penalty/ Punishment for Animal Cruelty

When dealing with animal cruelty, the nature of the abuse and the number of abuses can change the potential punishment from a simple animal cruelty to aggravated animal cruelty. Under Florida law (Florida statues 828.12(1), animal cruelty is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

Up to 1 year in jail, or

Up to 1 year of probation or

Up to $5,000.00 in fines or both.

Under Florida law (Florida statues 828.12(2), a person who intentionally commits an act listed above or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, which is a felony of the third degree punishable by:

Up to 5 years in prison or

Up to 5 years of probation and

Up to $10,000.00 in fines or both.

Bribery

Bribery is the giving, accepting, or asking for any item or service of value as a means to influence the action of another person holding public or legal duty. Both the person offering and the person receiving the value can be criminally charged.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 838.015), bribery means to knowingly and intentionally give, offer, or promise to any public servant, or If a public servant, to knowingly and intentionally request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept for himself or herself or another, any pecuniary or other benefit not authorized by law with an intent or purpose to influence the performance of any act or omission which the person believes to be, or the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of a public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.

It is important to note, that to be criminally prosecuted for bribery, the State/Prosecutor does not require any allegation or proof that the public servant ultimately sought to be unlawfully influenced, was qualified to act in the desired way, that the public servant had assumed office, or that the matter was properly pending before him or her, or might by law properly be brought before him or her, that the public servant possessed jurisdiction over the matter, or that his or her official action was necessary to achieve the person’s purpose.

To prove the crime of bribery of a public servant, the State/Prosecutor must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. (Person being bribed) was a public servant.

  2. Defendant knew that (Person being bribed) was a public servant.

  3. Defendant knowingly and intentionally [gave] [offered] [promised] (Person being bribed) a pecuniary or other benefit.

  4. Defendant’s [gift] [offer] [promise] was made with the intent or purpose to influence (Person being bribed) in the performance of any act [or omission] that

    1. Defendant believed to be [within the official discretion of (name of public servant)] [in violation of a public duty of (name of public servant)] [in performance of a public duty of (name of public servant)].

    2. (Person being bribed) represented as being [within [his] [her] official discretion] [in violation of [his] [her] public duty] [in performance of [his] [her] public duty].

  5. The pecuniary or other benefit was not authorized by law.


Penalty/Punishment for Bribery

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 838.015(3), bribery is a 2nd degree felony punishable by:

Up to 15 years in prison

Up to 15 years of probation

Up to $10,000.00 in fines


Common Defense to Crime of Bribery

Generalized expectation is a generalized expectation of some future favorable action is insufficient to convict someone of bribery. You can use this defense when there was no explicit quid pro quo in a donation to public official.

Prostitution

Prostitution is the giving or receiving sexual favor for a price. Under Florida law (Florida statutes 796.07), it is unlawful for a person 18 years of age or older to offer to commit, or to commit, or to engage in, prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.

To solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.

To purchase the services of any person engaged in prostitution.

To prove the crime of soliciting for the purpose of [prostitution] [Any Lewd or Indecent Act], the State/Prosecutor must prove the following element beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant [offered] [offered to secure] [agreed to secure] another person for the purpose of [prostitution] [any lewd or indecent act]. Or

To prove the crime of Offering to Commit, Committing, or Engaging in [Prostitution] [Lewdness] [Assignation], the State/Prosecutor must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant offered to commit] [committed] [engaged in] [prostitution] [lewdness] [assignation].

  2. At the time, (defendant) was 18 years of age or older.


Penalty/Punishment for Prostitution

The punishment for prostitution depends on who is being charged, the prostitute or the customer (aka the John), and prior convictions for prostitution. Under Florida law (Florida statutes 796.07(4), where a Prostitute is convicted for prostitution, below are the possible punishments:

First violation is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by:

Up to 60 days in jail

Up to six months of probation

Up to $500 fine

Second violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by:

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to 1 year probation

Up to $1000 fine

Third or subsequent violation is a third-degree felony punishable by

Up to 5 years in prison

Up to 5 years probation

Up to $5,000 fine

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 796.07(5), where a customer aka John is convicted for prostitution, below are the possible punishments:

First violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by:

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to 1 year of probation

Up to $1000 fine

Second violation is a third-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 5 years in prison

Up to 5 years of probation

Up to $5,000 fine

Third or subsequent violation is a second-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 15 years in prison.

Up to 15 years of probation

Up to $5000 in fines

Perform 100 hours of community service; and

Pay for and attend an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.

A minimum mandatory period of incarceration of 10 days.

Impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle for a period of up to 60 days.


Carrying A Concealed Weapon


Carrying a concealed weapon means a person knowingly carries, on or about their person, a weapon that is concealed from the ordinary sight of another person without a valid license to carry a concealed weapon.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.01), to prove the crime of unlicensed carrying of a concealed weapon, the State/Prosecutor must prove the following three (3) elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant knowingly carried on or about [his] [her] person [a firearm] [a weapon] [an electric weapon or device].

  2. The firearm or weapon or electric weapon or device was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.

  3. At that time, defendant was not licensed to carry a concealed weapon or electric weapon or firearm.

A concealed weapon means any dirk, metallic knuckles, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.


Penalty/Punishment for Carrying a Concealed Weapon

Under Florida law a person who is not licensed and who carries a concealed weapon on or about his or her person commits a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

Up to 1 year of county jail or

Up to 1 year of probation or

Up to $1000 in fines.


Common Defenses to Carrying a Concealed Weapon

Concealed weapons permit: a person in possession of a concealed weapon permit is immune from prosecution for carrying a concealed firearm.

Exempted activity: there are several exemptions which allows a person to lawfully carry a concealed firearm without a concealed weapons permit.

Private conveyance exception: it is a defense where a person does not carry the weapon but keeps it secured in their vehicle where it is not readily accessible.

Home or place of business exemption: it is lawful for a person to carry a concealed firearm around their home or business.

Securely encased: it is a defense to carrying a concealed firearm if the weapon is securely stored in a case such as gun case or container with lid.

Not readily accessible: this defense applies in situation where the weapon is not readily accessible and cannot be reached easily.


Improper Exhibition of A Weapon

Improper exhibition of a weapon is the carrying of a weapon in presence of one or more persons and display same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.10), this is when a person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.

To prove the crime of improper exhibition of a Weapon the State/Prosecutor must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant had or carried a weapon [a firearm] [a dirk] [a sword] [a sword cane] [an electric weapon or device].

  2. Defendant exhibited the weapon [firearm] [dirk] [sword] [sword cane] [electric weapon or device] in a [rude] [careless] [angry] [or] [threatening] manner.

  3. Defendant did so in the presence of one or more persons.

Weapon means any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife. An object not designed to inflict bodily harm may nonetheless be a “deadly weapon” if it was used, threatened to be used, or intended to be used in a manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

Electric weapon or device means any device which, through the application or use of electrical current, is designed, redesigned, used, or intended to be used for offensive or defensive purposes, the destruction of life, or the infliction of injury.


Penalty/Punishment for Improper Exhibition of a Weapon

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.10), improper exhibition of a weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

Up to 1 year in jail or

Up to 1 year in probation

Up to $1000 fine.


Possession Of Firearm By A Convicted Felon


Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.23), it is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony in the courts of this State to own or to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device. To prove the crime of possession of firearm by a convicted felon, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant had been convicted of a felony.

  2. After the conviction defendant knowingly

    1. Owned or had in [his] [her] care, custody, possession, or control [a firearm] [an electric weapon or device] [ammunition]. or

    2. Carried a concealed weapon.


Penalty/Punishment Possession of Firearm by A Convicted Felon

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.23), possession of firearm by a convicted Felon is a second-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 15 years in prison

Up to 15 years probation

Up to $10,000 in fines.


Possession or Discharge of Destructive Device


Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.161), a person who willfully and unlawfully makes, possesses, throws, projects, places or discharges a destructive or attempt to make or discharge any destructive device can a charged with a third-degree felony.

To prove the crime of possession or discharge of destructive device the State/Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant willfully and unlawfully [made] or [possessed] or [threw] or [placed] or [projected] or [discharged] or [attempted to [make] [possess] [throw] [place] [project] or [discharge]] a destructive device.

Destructive device: under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.001(4), it includes objects and device that are designed to explode or cause destruction such as bomb, grenade, mine, rocket, missile, pipe bomb, or similar device containing an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas etc.

Willfully means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely

To prove defendant possessed a destructive device,” the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [he] [she]

  1. Knew of the existence of the destructive device and

  2. Intentionally exercised control over that destructive device.

Control can be exercised over a destructive device whether the destructive device is carried on a person, near a person, or in a completely separate location. Mere proximity to a destructive device does not establish that the person intentionally exercised control over the destructive device in the absence of additional evidence. Control can be established by proof that defendant had direct personal power to control the destructive device or the present ability to direct its control by another.


Penalty/Punishment for Possession or Discharge of Destructive Device

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.161(1), possession or discharge of destructive device is prosecuted as a third-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 5 years in prison

Up to 5 years of probation

Up to $5000 fine.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.161(2), possession or discharge of destructive device with the intent to do bodily harm to any person, or with the intent to do property damage, or if the act results in a disruption of governmental operations, commerce, or the private affairs of another person, is prosecuted as a second-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 15 years in prison

Up to 15 years probation

Up to $10,000 fine.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.161(3), possession or discharge of destructive device results in bodily harm to another person or in property damage is prosecuted as a first-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 30 years in prison

Up to 30 years of probation

Up to $10,000 in fines.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 790.161(4), possession or discharge of destructive device which results in the death of another person is prosecuted as a capital felony punishable by:

Life in prison without the possibility of parole or

Death sentence


Common Defenses to Possession or Discharge of Destructive Device

Exempted Device: it is a defense if the device possessed or discharged is not classified a destructive device or designed to be a destructive device.


Contracting Without A License

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 489.127), it is unlawful for any person to falsely hold himself or herself or a business organization out as a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant or engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor or advertise himself or herself or a business organization as available to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without being duly registered or certified.

Contractor means the person who is qualified for and is only responsible for the project contracted for and means, the person who, for compensation, undertakes to, submits a bid to, or does himself or herself or by others construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate. Examples of contractors that require a license to operate: General contractor; Building contractor; Residential contractor; Sheet metal contractor; Class A air-conditioning contractor; Class B air-conditioning contractor; Class C air-conditioning contractor; Mechanical contractor; Commercial pool/spa contractor; Residential pool/spa contractor; Swimming pool/spa servicing contractor; Plumbing contractor; Underground utility and excavation contractor; Solar contractor, and Roofing contractor, etc.


Penalty/Punishment for Contracting Without A License

Any person or business organization operating on an inactive or suspended certificate or registration is not duly certified or registered and is considered unlicensed. First conviction for contracting without a license is a misdemeanor of first degree punishable by:

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to 1 year probation or

Up to $1000 fine.

Second or subsequent conviction for contracting without a license is a third-degree felony punishable by:

Up to 5 in prison

Up to 5 probations

Up to $5000 fine.



Unlicensed Practice Of Real Estate

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 475.4291)(a), it is unlawful to engage in real estate activities for compensation without a valid license.

Under Florida law (Florida statutes 475.01(1)(a), real estate activities include any of the following:

  1. Appraises, auctions, sells, exchanges, buys, rents, or offers, attempts or agrees to appraise, auction, or negotiate the sale, exchange, purchase.

  2. Rental of business enterprises or business opportunities or any real property or any interest in or concerning the same, including mineral rights or leases.

  3. A person who advertises or holds out to the public by any oral or printed solicitation or representation that she or he is engaged in the business of appraising, auctioning, buying, selling, exchanging, leasing, or renting business enterprises or business opportunities or real property of others or interests therein, including mineral rights,

  4. A person who takes any part in the procuring of sellers, purchasers, lessors, or lessees of business enterprises or business opportunities or the real property of another, or leases, or interest therein, including mineral rights, or who directs or assists in the procuring of prospects or in the negotiation or closing of any transaction which does, or is calculated to, result in a sale, exchange, or leasing thereof, and who receives, expects, or is promised any compensation or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly therefor;

  5. A person who advertises rental property information or lists.


Penalty/Punishment for Unlicensed Practice of Real Estate

Under Florida law the crime of unlicensed practice of real estate is a third-degree felony punishable by.

Up to 5 years in prison

Up to 5 years probation

Up to $5000 in fines.


Common Defense for Unlicensed Practice of Real Estate

Sale by owner: an owner can rent, sell or dispose their real estate property for profit without a license.

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