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When you think about Halloween, you may think of the costumes, trick-or-treating and scary movies. However, you may not realize that Halloween is a popular night for alcohol-related crimes, especially underage drinking, as well as vandalism and theft. 

Alcohol-Related Crimes

With Halloween parties come Halloween-themed drinks. When going to these parties, it is best to have a designated driver to drive you home. DUIs are very common on Halloween, so much so that police are out patrolling for anyone driving under the influence. 

DUI Penalties

Florida Statute 316.193 states any person who is convicted of a violation of a DUI will be punished:

  • By a fine of:
    • No less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction.
    • Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; and
  • By imprisonment for:
    • Not more than six months for a first conviction or;
    • Not more than nine months for a second conviction.
  • For a second conviction, by mandatory placement for at least one year, at the convicted person’s sole expense, of an ignition interlock device approved by the department.

These penalties above are increased if the DUI is enhanced by the driver having a BAC greater than .15 or having a minor in the vehicle.

Underage Drinking

Adults aren’t the only ones engaging in Halloween party drinking. Those under 21, the legal age for consuming alcohol, may not understand the penalties for underage drinking when caught.  

Penalties for Underage Drinking

  • A fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail for purchase or possession.
  • A $1000 fine and up to a year of jail time for anyone who is not a first-time offender
  • Suspension of license for 6 months if caught drinking and driving (even if under the legal limit)

Vandalism

Egging houses or throwing toilet paper may seem like a funny Halloween prank, but it isn’t fun for those who have to clean it up. These acts of vandalism also carry serious penalties. Under Florida Statute 806.13, vandalism is considered property damage.

Vandalism Penalties

  • If the damage is worth more than $200 – up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail
  • If the damage is worth between $200-$999 – up to a $1000 fine and/or a year in jail
  • If the damage is worth more than $1000 or causes a disruption to any business operations – you may receive a felony charge with a $5000 fine and/or up-to 5 years in prison.

Theft

Theft is defined by Florida Statute 812.014 as the taking of property of another with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the person of a right to the property or to appropriate the property to his or her own use or the use of another who is not entitled.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on Halloween than on most other holidays, which is considered a felony.

Car Theft Penalties

  • Stealing a motor vehicle valued at less than $20,000 constitutes a felony in the third degree. 
    • Prison sentence of up to five years
    • Fine up to $5,000
  • A person who steals a vehicle valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 commits a felony in the second degree. 
    • Sentence of up to 15 years in prison
    • Fine of up to $10,000.

If you are facing any criminal charges on Halloween, give experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon Gans a call today for a free case evaluation.

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