From preschoolers to adults, millions of people in the United States look forward to participating in Halloween festivities each year. Unfortunately, though, crime rates often double on this candy-fueled night. Understanding which crimes occur most frequently and the laws surrounding them can help make this spooky night a safe one.
As people grow older, Halloween can turn into a well-known drinking day. While there’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two, some partygoers make the grave mistake of getting behind the wheel. Every Halloween, dozens of people are killed in drunk-driving related accidents. For this reason, police are usually patrolling the roads throughout the night.
Since there are many alcohol-related crimes on Halloween, dozens of DUIs are also handed out this night. Before getting behind the wheel when under the influence, consider these DUI penalties:
- Fine of up to $1000
- Sentenced to jail for up to 6 months or a year of probation
- Mandatory community service of 50 hours
- 10 days of vehicle impoundment
- License revoked for a minimum of 6 months
- Although you might not have had much to drink, don’t take any chances. If you don’t have a designated driver, opt to use a ride-sharing app.
Even though underage drinking is illegal, this doesn’t always deter curious teenagers from consuming alcohol. However, those under the age of 21 in Florida may not fully understand the cost of these actions. Penalties that underage drinkers could face are:
- 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)
When Halloween night comes to an end, some people may find themselves behind bars. Disorderly conduct is easily one of the most common reasons for a person being arrested. Some of the behaviors that can warrant a disorderly conduct charge include fistfights, abusive language, public drunkenness, and loitering.
We’ve all heard about people doing Halloween pranks, including egging cars and spraying graffiti on buildings. However, there is nothing funny about going to jail. Vandalism is a serious crime that can land you in hot water. This is especially true when the offense involves the destruction of property. Remember, vandalism is technically considered "property damage" under Florida law, so the following penalties may apply:
- 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 jail.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on Halloween than most other holidays. While people are enjoying the festivities, opportunistic thieves are looking to make a quick getaway.
Under Florida law, any motor vehicle theft is considered a felony, and the penalty varies based on the car’s value. Remember, if parking in an unfamiliar or populous area, be sure to be aware of your surroundings, lock your vehicle, and take any valuables with you.
Charged with a Crime? Contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A.
If you’ve been arrested or accused of a crime on Halloween, be sure to seek professional legal representation. Our team of Criminal Defense Attorneys will work with you to make sure your rights are protected. Contact (954) 840-8713 to schedule a consultation.