Ugly Christmas sweaters at work parties are not considered a crime. However, shoplifting, package theft, domestic violence, and DUIs are all crimes and are seen more frequently leading up to Christmas.
Shoplifting, according to FindLaw.com, is referred to as “retail theft” in Florida and is defined to include the taking away of any merchandise, property, or money from a store. Altering a price tag is also considered to be retail theft as well as removing shopping carts from the business property. Depending on the value of the item taken, shoplifting can be charged as either petit theft or grand theft.
More and more people are turning to online shopping to get their holiday shopping done. It lessens stress on retail workers at the mall, but it makes it easy for “porch pirates” to steal these packages, especially when the homeowners are at work or out visiting family and friends. According to Finder, over 35 million Americans have been a victim of package theft within the 12 months, resulting in a loss of $5.4 billion.
If you have been accused of being a “porch pirate” you can be charged with theft or burglary, in addition to federal charges. Stealing mail is considered a federal offense, which can lead to a federal prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum $250,000 fine.
The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, more so for those dealing with domestic violence or abuse. According to Women Against Crime, domestic abuse increases over the holidays, for several possible reasons, including:
- Stress from holiday shopping, finances, and planning can aggravate volatile personalities.
- Abusers are more likely to use alcohol or drugs when they don’t have to work, especially during the holiday break from work.
- Simple opportunity: Abusers are more likely to be home alone with their victims than at other times of the year.
Domestic Violence is defined by Florida Statute 741.28 as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. The battery will likely be prosecuted by a special domestic violence unit.
Holiday parties, endless happy hours, increased depression, and anxiety surrounding the holidays all lead to an increase in alcohol consumption. Drinking and driving, Florida Statute 316.193, carries serious penalties, more so if there are injuries or fatalities.
These penalties can include jail, fines, probation, and license suspension. If your BAC is above .15 or if there are minors in the vehicle, a DUI conviction will carry enhanced penalties.
Don’t let an arrest ruin your holiday season. If you are arrested for any of the above reasons, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Brandon Gans now for a free case evaluation.