State of Emergency
The state of Florida is known for many things, both positive and negative. People from around the nation and from around the world flock to Florida to enjoy our famous beaches, to visit incredible theme parks, and to enjoy our unique, year round warm climate. Florida is a destination for families on vacation, revelers heading to Miami for late night parties, and our elderly looking for a relaxing place to retire. All good things however, come with a price. Florida is constantly the butt of jokes describing it as the weirdest state. “Florida Man” memes flood the internet with stories of Florida residents committing bizarre crimes. And famously, Florida suffers from the seasonal danger of hurricanes.
Floridians know the stresses and fear that comes every year along with hurricane season. The unpredictable nature of hurricanes makes it difficult for experts to predict their strength and their trajectory, so Floridians often spend days preparing for hurricanes that never arrive, and sometimes find themselves unprepared for serious storms that unexpectedly pummel our coastlines. When dangerous weather events or other emergencies such as pandemics or terror attacks threaten the state, the governor is empowered to declare a state of emergency which gives the government the ability to rapidly respond to the emergency situation. Not wanting to be left out, the criminal justice system has created crimes and enhancements to crimes that correlate directly with states of emergency. These enhancements can result in serious penalties. If you are investigated or arrested for a crime during a state of emergency, you should not hesitate to contact a skilled St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to build your defense,.Crime During a State Of Emergency
If the state government has decided to declare a state of emergency, certain criminal offenses are enhanced while other new criminal offenses are implemented that only exist during a state of emergency. For example, the offense of price gouging is only illegal during a declared state of emergency. In order to prove the offense of price gouging, police must prove that a business or other seller has increased the prices of essential goods, such as food, water, and paper products to “unconscionable” levels in order to take advantage of the public panic during a state of emergency. Price gouging is an offense that is taken seriously, and if you or your business is investigated, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to help investigate your case.
When most people think of crimes during a state of emergency, they picture looters breaking into stores that are closed due to the emergency situation. It is these types of offenses: theft, burglary, and robbery, that are seriously punished by the justice system during times of emergency. For example, the seriousness of a theft offense is typically determined by the value of the property stolen. A theft of property under $750 dollars is considered a misdemeanor offense. A theft between $750 and $20,000 is a mere third degree felony offense, usually resolved to probation and fines instead of jail or prison.
During a state of emergency however, theft offenses are significantly penalized by the emergency enhancements. Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.014, if a theft is committed during a state of emergency, and the theft is facilitated by the conditions created by the emergency, then the theft will be considered a second degree felony. Second degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and are far more difficult to easily resolve in court. If you are charged with a theft or any other offense during a state of emergency, it is critical that you contact a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to represent you.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are prepared to take your case and build the best defense for you. Call us today for a consultation at 727-897-5413.