State of Emergency Crimes
Florida is renowned worldwide as a vacation destination for people of all ages. The theme parks in Orlando, the beaches of Miami, and the fishing in our Gulf Coast draw millions of visitors each year. And the warm weather coerces people from all around to migrate to Florida to live and especially to retire here. Yet, it’s not all sunshine and beaches here in Florida. This state has one of the highest crime rates in the nation along with one of the largest populations of people incarcerated. Our state government has taken many measures to ensure that we lock up as many people as possible and keep them there. And the legislature has made sure to enhance people’s offenses when they fall under certain categories.
While it’s certainly a popular vacation and retirement destination, Florida is also a destination for natural disaster. With most of the state below sea level, it will likely be one of the hardest hit by rising sea levels. Our elderly population suffers immensely when illnesses circulate throughout society. And most commonly, Florida is seasonally affected by tropical storms and hurricanes, which batter our coasts year after year. Our local governments are empowered to take control during situations like that and the governor can declare a state of emergency, allowing increased relief and control over disaster efforts. When a state of emergency is declared, certain crimes can be enhanced. If you are charged with an enhanced crime due to a state of emergency, you should immediately contact a skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyer to build your defense.Enhancements During States of Emergency
When most people think of crimes committed during disasters, they picture looters breaking into stores in order to access their valuables while the owners are stuck at home due to the emergency situation. Perhaps rightfully so, the legislature has made this action an enhanced offense and punishes offenders more harshly when the crime is committed during a declared state of emergency. Typically, theft cases are separated into offense levels based on the amount of value stolen. Under $750, the offense is a misdemeanor petit theft. Between $750 and $20,000, the offense is a third degree felony grand theft. Most theft cases, because of the relatively low level and nonviolent nature of the offense, are easily resolved. If you have been charged with any theft case, you should immediately consult with a skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyer.
Serious enhancements can be applied when the theft occurs during a state of emergency. The governor of Florida is empowered to declare a state of emergency in certain situations. In Florida, the state of emergency is often declared during hurricanes in order to more quickly and efficiently get relief and supplies to damaged areas. A state of emergency can also result in businesses being temporarily closed, residents confined to their homes, and curfews enforced. In the interest of promoting public safety, thefts during this time are harshly punished in order to dissuade the practice of looting.
However, the punishments are likely far harsher than need be. Anyone convicted of theft, either petit or grand, during the institution of a state of emergency is guilty of a first degree felony. First degree felonies are serious crimes that carry maximum punishments of up to 30 years of imprisonment. Along with potential prison time, those convicted could face stiff fines and restrictive probation. Anyone accused of the offense of theft during a state of emergency should not hesitate to retain a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer.Speak to Our Attorneys Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law are experienced, dedicated, and aggressive. When you want to ensure the best results for your case, you should hire the best possible lawyers. Don’t hesitate to call us today to learn how we can make a difference on your case. We can be reached for a consultation at 941.462.1789.