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Common Holiday Crimes


In a season where you are inundated with enticements to spend, spend and spend some more, many people bow to the pressure by shoplifting from area stores. The rate of arrests for this offense increase significantly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In Florida, retail theft includes:

  • Carrying away merchandise from the store;
  • Altering price tags or labels; or
  • Transferring merchandise from one container to another;
  • With the intent to deprive the merchant of the item or its value.

Classification for the crime ranges from a second degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony, depending on the value of the item allegedly stolen and prior convictions.

Drunk Driving

There are numerous reasons to celebrate with a drink over the holidays, but it is never a good idea to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Law enforcement agencies greatly increase their patrols and DUI monitoring during this time of the year, resulting in more arrests. Under Florida law:

  • An alcohol level of .08 is above the legal limit for driving a vehicle;
  • A first DUI offense conviction can result in up to nine months in jail, with fines and a suspension of driving privileges;
  • A third offense conviction carries a jail sentence of up to one year, with fines and license suspension; and
  • For cases where an accident and/or injuries occurred, the charges can be more severe

Domestic Violence

Though it’s the season of goodwill, the occurrence of domestic violence cases rises significantly during the holiday season. Some experts attribute this statistic to increased disagreements over money, alcohol consumption or bouts of holiday depression. These allegations are also unfounded in an alarming number or arrests, often stemming from an ended relationship or a custody dispute.

As defined by Florida law, domestic violence generally refers to violence between members of the same family or household. The types of violent behavior include assault, battery, sexual assault, kidnapping and stalking. Penalties for a conviction can range from five days in jail to multiple years of incarceration.

Identity Theft

The holidays are synonymous with shopping. Throughout November and December, individuals are pulling out their bank cards at ATMs, store registers and in front of their computers as online shoppers. This increase in consumer spending statistically sparks an increase in identity theft. Email phishing scams, credit card skimmers and a variety of other methods are used more frequently during the holiday season, leading to an increase in charges under Florida’s identification theft statutes.

The maximum sentence for a first offense conviction is generally one year in jail, along with a maximum fine of $1,000. The most serious felony ID theft conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and $15,000 in fines.

Regardless of what legal trouble you may find yourself in over the holidays, don’t let the new year arrive without securing the representation of an experienced Florida defense lawyer. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC at (305) 330-3905 for a free and confidential consultation in Miami.

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