The State of Florida seeks to aggressively prosecute anyone who is alleged to have harmed an animal. Florida Statute 828.12 governs what is considered cruelty to animals. If you have been accused of Animal Cruelty you may ask yourself: What is Animal Cruelty, what are the penalties, and what possible defenses can I raise?
What is Animal Cruelty?
A person commits the crime of Cruelty to Animals if the person does one of the following:
- Unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter
- Unnecessarily mutilates or kills any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner
Citizens of the State of Florida are extremely sensitive to these types of cases. The first thing that comes to mind would be an issue of Rooster Fighting (cockfighting) or organized dog fighting. The fact is that these cases are handled very aggressively and are punished severely if convicted at trial.
What are the penalties of an animal cruelty charge?
Cruelty to Animals can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Ending up in misdemeanor or felony court will largely depend on what you are alleged to have done. If the animal allegedly suffered serious injuries or death as a result of your actions, or “failure to act”, you could be charged with a Felony and sentenced up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation and up to $10,000.00 in fines. A misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals charge is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 1 year of probation or up to $5,000.00 in fines. If you have prior instances of Animal Cruelty, likewise your charges can be enhances penalties including higher jail sentences and minimum mandatory fines in the thousands of dollars.
Broward County, Miami, and Palm Beach Animal Cruelty Defense Attorney
If you are charged with Cruelty to Animals in Broward, Miami or Palm Beach County, it is imperative that you contact the office of Dell & Schaefer to speak with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. Understanding that all cases are different, Attorney Grant Schwarz focuses all of his knowledge as a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney to build a defense that works for your particular case.
Contact Us Today
We are professional attorneys who are waiting to hear your side of the story. We would never judge you or assume that you did anything wrong. Come in for a free consultation and learn more about how the state needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Never speak to police of go to court before speaking with an attorney and reviewing the available evidence. The Office of Dell & Schaefer is here to help you through these difficult times. We have been representing criminal defense clients since 1979.