27 Aug Top Offenses in Polk County
As a resident of Polk County, it is important to know the prominence of certain offenses in the county. This gives you the opportunity to learn and take steps to change what you can to keep the streets safe for your loved ones.
In 2019 alone, there were about 29,360 arrests in Polk County, Florida. Most of these arrests were for the following crimes:
#1. Robbery crimes
According to the Florida Statute, an individual commits a robbery when they use violence or threats to take possession of another person’s property. In 2019, Polk County had 300 reported robbery incidents.
Due to the nature of the crime, Florida categorizes robbery as a violent crime. As such, the State does not take the prosecution of this crime lightly.
If convicted of a crime of robbery, an individual can face severe penalties of up to 15 years in prison. These penalties depend on the type and severity of the robbery. Here are the different types of robberies:
- Armed robbery: This is a robbery involving the use of any kind of deadly weapon that can cause harm to another person.
- Strong-arm robbery: This kind of robbery involves the use of violence and threat in dispossessing another person of their belongings. It doesn’t involve the use of deadly weapons.
- Home invasion robbery: Home invasion robbery is when a person breaks into a home and steals the occupants’ possessions. This is different from burglary theft because home invasion robbery involves violence while burglary does not.
- Robbery by snatching: This occurs when a person in a quick motion snatches the property of another person. This kind of robbery involves less violence.
- Car hijacking: This is when a person steals another person’s vehicle by using violence or threats. The use of firearms will increase the penalty for this crime. Polk County had 936 reported cases of motor vehicle theft in 2019.
If you are indicted in a robbery case, you will need to employ the service of a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
#2. Drug crimes
Florida law prohibits people from producing, possessing, selling, or delivering controlled substances.
Controlled substances are drugs that the government tightly regulates. This is because, without regulations in place, these drugs may cause addiction or be abused. Some of these substances include marijuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, ecstasy, morphine, etc.
Drug charges can range from possession of drugs to drug trafficking. The penalties also range from engagement in a diversion program to 30 years in the state prison.
Prosecutors do not handle drug crimes lightly, and neither should anyone facing such charges. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
By the Florida statute, a person commits the crime of theft when they take or attempt to take any piece of property that isn’t theirs. The person’s intention could be to prevent the victim from using the property or to use the property themselves. It is also referred to as larceny and is divided into petit and grand theft.
It’s petty theft when the value of the property stolen is between $100 to $750. On the other hand, a person commits a grand theft when the property stolen is between $750 to $100,000 or more. In 2019, Polk County had over 8,900 instances of larceny.
Both petty and grand theft attract different penalties. The value of the property stolen typically determines the penalty for the crime. It can range from 5 years to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
If you or anyone you know faces any type of theft charge, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer.
#4. Driving under the influence (DUI)
DUI is another common offense in Polk County, Florida. According to Florida law, a person commits DUI when they drive with a BAL of .08 or more.
To determine the blood alcohol level (BAL) in a driver’s system, a police officer may put the driver through a series of tests. One of the most common tests is the breathalyzer test.
The penalties for DUI in Polk County are dependent on various factors. These include the number of past DUI convictions, injuries caused to others while driving, and the presence of a minor in the vehicle. In addition, the judge has the power to assign jail time, license revocation, and fines within the following parameters:
- First offense: When a person commits a crime of DUI for the first time, they are likely to face one year of probation and up to 9 months in jail. They may also be sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a ten-day vehicle impoundment. Finally, there is also a possible fine of between $1000 to $2000 upon conviction.
- Second offense: When an individual commits a second DUI offense within five years, the court will give a sentence of a minimum of ten days in jail. It may also order revocation of license and a thirty-day vehicle impoundment. The maximum penalty is 12 months of jail time plus or minus a fine ranging from $2000 to $4000.
- Third offense: When an individual commits a third DUI offense within the space of 10 years, it can attract 30 days to 5 years of jail time. The court can also order a 90-day vehicle impoundment and 10 years driving license revocation. In a case where the driver had a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or greater, the fine will be nothing less than $4000.
#5. Assault or aggravated assault
Florida law defines assault as an intentional and unlawful threat towards another person. This threat must be coupled with the apparent ability of the perpetrator to carry it out. The effect of this is that it creates a genuine fear in the victim that violence is imminent.
In Florida, a simple assault attracts a punishment of 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a fine of $500.
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, takes assault a step further. It involves making a threat by brandishing a deadly weapon. In 2019, there were 1,501 reported cases of aggravated assault in Polk County. The penalty for this crime is 5 years’ imprisonment or a fine of $5000.
Under Florida State law, a person commits fraud when they hide information that should be accessible to the public. It also occurs when an individual purposefully lies or carries out any dishonest act to dupe others.
Fraud can come in different forms ranging from credit card theft to forgery. It can also involve misleading advertisements, wrongful possession, and the use of someone else’s identity.
Some common types of fraud include:
- Tax fraud
- Public assistance fraud
- Corporate fraud
- Federal fraud
A person found guilty of any type of fraud in Polk County faces penalties ranging from restitution to 30 years in state prison.
Contact Sara Jones Law for help
The offenses mentioned above are serious crimes that shouldn’t be handled with levity. If you or a loved one are faced with any of these charges, the first line of action should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At Sara Jones Law, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is skilled in handling various types of criminal cases. So reach out to us today, and let us use our wealth of experience and knowledge to defend you.