3 Crimes You Might Be Surprised to Learn Are Felonies in Florida

Committing a felony in Florida can come with steep consequences, often resulting in jail time and fines. However, avoiding felony charges may be difficult when there are some that are hiding in plain sight. In this article, a felony defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm shares three crimes you may be surprised to learn are felonies in the state of Florida.

Related: Under Arrest? Here’s Some Advice.

Altering a State Lottery Ticket

Florida Statute 24.118(3)(a) states: “Any person who:

(a) Knowingly presents a counterfeit or altered state lottery ticket;

(b) Knowingly transfers a counterfeit or altered state lottery ticket to another to present for payment;

(c) With intent to defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges, passes, or counterfeits a state lottery ticket; or

(d) Files with the department a claim for payment based upon facts alleged by the claimant which facts are untrue and known by the claimant to be untrue when the claim is made;

is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.” Altering a lottery ticket might seem like it is not a big deal, but it can result in jail time and steep fines.

Tampering, Adjusting, or Changing a Vehicle Odometer

Odometer fraud is often committed in order to attempt to sell a vehicle for a higher amount than it is worth. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that roughly 450,000 vehicles are sold annually with false odometer readings, ultimately costing buyers over $1 billion in service fees. For this reason, tampering with an odometer carries a felony charge — even if you are the legal owner of the vehicle. Florida Statute § 319.35(1)(a) defines odometer fraud as the following:

“It is unlawful for any person knowingly to tamper with, adjust, alter, set back, disconnect, or fail to connect an odometer of a motor vehicle, or to cause any of the foregoing to occur to an odometer of a motor vehicle, so as to reflect a lower mileage than the motor vehicle has actually been driven…”

Florida law also strictly prohibits supplying a written odometer statement knowing that the information is false.

Interfering with a Railroad Signal

Interfering with railroad signals, even if done as part of a prank, is a serious felony. Railroad signals are an important factor in keeping drivers safe, and, as such, altering or interfering with a railroad signal is a felony punishable by jail time and fines. Florida Statute 860.08 states:

“Any person, other than an employee or authorized agent of a railroad company acting within the line of duty, who knowingly or willfully interferes with or removes any railroad signal system used to control railroad operations, any railroad crossing warning devices, or any lantern, light, lamp, torch, flag, fuse, torpedo, or other signal used in connection with railroad operations is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Contact a Felony Defense Attorney in Tampa

Committing a felony of any kind can carry serious consequences that will interfere with your life and your family. This is why you should contact a felony defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will answer all of your questions and discuss the best defense for your unique case.

For a free consultation with a felony defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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