Gambling Defenses In Florida
Sitting down for a game of poker with friends and placing a wager sounds like a fun and carefree way to spend a Friday night. Most people believe they’re free to engage in any activities they like in their own homes as long as they’re not harming anyone. However, it’s important to understand that in Florida, there are strict laws against gambling that prohibit most activities that involve making wagers.
Many people who find themselves facing charges for gambling often had no idea that doing so from their own home was an illegal activity. If you’re one of those people, it’s important to know there’s somewhere you can turn for help. At The Umansky Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense team will work to create a viable defense strategy that stands up in court to prove your innocence.
What Are Florida’s Common Laws Against Gambling?
The basic law that prohibits gambling is outlined under the Florida Statutes in Chapter 849. This chapter outlines all the activities that are illegal. Statute 849.08 states that gambling is:
“Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or another thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”
The exception to the rule is card games or other in-house games that are played for a penny-ante. That means if the wager doesn’t surpass $10 it’s not an illegal activity. Likewise, any activity where a person under the age of 18 places a bet is illegal.
In addition to basic gambling activities being against the law, there are also statutes that prohibit Keeping a Gambling House and Renting Out a Place To Gamble.
What Are Florida’s Penalties for Gambling Crimes?
To charge a person with a gambling crime, the prosecutor has to be able to prove that the accused willingly participated in a game of chance, that they placed a wager, and that they expected to lose or gain money as a result. If prosecutors can prove these factors, the offender can face penalties for a Second-Degree Misdemeanor.
Common penalties for gambling charges include:
- Up to 60 days in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
If the initial charge you face is accompanied by additional charges such as Keeping a Gambling House or Renting Out a Place To Gamble, the penalties will be more severe. Likewise, there are stricter penalties for second and third-time offenders.
The best way to defend yourself against a gambling charge is to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
What Are Viable Gambling Defense Strategies?
Misdemeanor offenses such as gambling are unique because the person convicting you must witness you in the midst of the offense. Therefore, defenses for gambling are very straightforward and include strategies such as:
- Case of mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence
- Unlawful search & seizure
When searching for a legal team to defend you, it’s important to ask about the defense strategies they use and how they can help you create the best possible defense for your case.
Count On Our Orlando Criminal Defense Team For Your Gambling Case
Don’t let your life be defined by a single mistake. If you’ve been charged with a gambling offense, contact the attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm today. With more than 100 years of experience, our team of former prosecutors provides a unique point of view with every case. They are knowledgeable in defense strategies for criminal defense cases and more.
Talk to a real attorney now. Call 407-228-3838 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.