While the holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of year, it is also a time for various types of criminal activity. The most common crimes committed during the holidays generally involve alcohol consumption since festive gatherings include alcoholic beverages and theft since there is an emphasis on consumerism and the exchanging of gifts.
Common holiday crimes include the following:
- DUI – As we mentioned before, holiday events typically include excessive alcohol consumption, resulting in many drunk drivers on the road. In Florida, a DUI conviction is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year, a maximum $1,000 fine, and driver’s licenses suspension for up to six months.
- Domestic violence – Alcohol consumption can also turn family problems into violent altercations, resulting in domestic violence charges. Domestic violence is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, which carries a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Shoplifting – Since malls and shops are extremely busy during the holiday season, shoplifters will attempt to take advantage of the chaos by stealing merchandise while store workers are distracted or overwhelmed. The penalties for shoplifting in Florida depend on the dollar value of the stolen item. For instance, if the price of the stolen merchandise is less than $100, then a person can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, which results in a maximum 60-day jail sentence and a fine no more than $500. If the price of the stolen item is worth more than $300, then a person can be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years and a maximum $5,000 fine.
- Burglary – Because many families travel during the holidays, homes are unoccupied for long stretches of time, giving burglars an opportunity to rob empty houses. Burglary of a dwelling (home) is a second-degree felony, which can lead to a prison term of up to 15 years and a maximum $10,000 fine.