Public Nuisances

According to NBC Miami, public nuisance offenders are becoming more and more of a problem on Miami Beach. Some of the offenders have been arrested well into the hundreds of times, according to one Miami Beach Police officer, Jerome Berrian. Law enforcement is encouraging the public to help crack down on public nuisance offenders by showing up to court. According to Ed Griffith, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s office, “If people show up for court and articulate their concerns at these options, then you can get a better judicial response.” Police officers are making more of an effort to show up at bond court as well to increase the penalties offenders are given, and talks of a prosecutor focusing on public nuisance charges may be in the city’s future budget discussions.

Definition of a Public Nuisance

As per Florida statute 823.01, public nuisance is defined as activity that either injures the general health of the population, annoys the community, or corrupts the public moral. All public nuisances are second degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. The only public nuisance violation that is punishable as a felony (of the third degree) is that of keeping or maintaining a building that is used for keeping, using, selling, or delivering controlled substances.

Types of Public Nuisances

There are many other types of unlawful offenses that incur similar or greater penalties that can often be mistaken for public nuisances, such as littering, public intoxication, loitering, possessing an open container of alcohol in public, public intoxication, and trespassing. However, these types of offenses are not public nuisances, and have their own sets of punishments depending on the specific charge. The following is a list of public nuisance offense in the state of Florida:

  • Building a bonfire within 10 rods of a house or building (a rod is 5.5 feet);
  • Selling or bringing into the state a domestic animal that is known to have a contagious disease;
  • Improperly burying or disposing of the dead body of a domestic animal;
  • Maintaining a dwelling or building that has gang-related activity;
  • Improper direction of outside door opening. All doors must open outwards to allow for fire escape;
  • Improperly abandoning some types of home appliances such as refrigerators and clothes washers, which can prevent a hazard to small children;
  • Abandonment of a derelict vessel;
  • Smoking in an elevator;
  • Keeping or maintaining a building or place that is used for the purpose of illegally storing or viewing obscene materials;
  • Violating the Right to Farm Act;
  • Openly burning, with the purpose of disposing, certain agricultural materials; and
  • Violations of Florida’s laws concerning the sterilization and release of animal control or animal shelter animals.

Call an Experienced West Palm Beach Public Nuisance Defense Attorney at Once

If you have been arrested and charged for a public nuisance, do not hesitate to contact one of the West Palm Beach attorneys at the Skier Law Firm today at (561) 820-1508. No matter the offense you have been charged with committing, our attorneys can help you prove your innocence or diminish the penalties.

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