Animal Cruelty Charges in Florida
Animal cruelty crimes can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. The State Attorney of each distinct county, throughout Florida, is responsible for what charges are lodged against an individual. The Law Enforcement Official, who investigates many, if not all animal cruelty cases in Florida, is Animal Care and Control. Throughout the State of Florida, Animal Care and Control offices are set up and funded primarily by tax dollars and other fees assessed to the people of Florida. The director of each Animal Care and Control district is approved, after open application process and review by the County Commissioners in the distinct County.
The difference between being charged with a misdemeanor or felony in an animal cruelty case depends a lot on what the sediments of the community are regarding the standards of care, treatment and use of the animal. The community standards are not the entire story if you are facing animal cruelty charges. Animal Care and Control Officers are responsible for putting together, along with other law enforcement officials like county sheriff’s departments, police reports, veterinary reports, witness’s statements and other tangible evidence like photographs to persuade the State Attorney of the prospective County to file formal charges against the accused. Hiring an experienced criminal lawyer at the onset of the Animal Care and Control investigation can make the difference in whether or not any criminal charges are filed or if the criminal charges are filed as a misdemeanor as oppose to a felony.
If Animal Care and Control shows up at your home, your farm, or any other location remember that you do not have to speak to them. Exercising your right to a lawyer or remaining silent is the best advice anyone can follow when being questioned or investigated by any government official. Animal Care and Control Officers do not have police power, meaning they do not have the power to arrest, but they gather information to be used against the accused to later secure a search warrant of a home, business or farm and to use the gathered information in conjunction with law enforcement to secure an arrest warrant for the accused. If you are accused of animal cruelty, cock fighting, dog fighting, animal neglect, or any other animal related investigation do not try to talk your way out of the situation. Stop talking and call an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has trial experience, pre-trial motion experience, pre-filing experience in animal cruelty cases. Call Palm Beach Animal Cruelty Lawyer Andrew D. Stine. Let the experience of an animal cruelty lawyer speak for you. Allow a veteran animal cruelty lawyer with hundreds of hours and tens of cases in experience make the decisions that will help you walk away from animal cruelty allegations.
Did you know that most judges’ sign warrants allowing the search of homes, properties, out buildings, barns, businesses and other real property in Florida, on the information that the accused in animal cruelty cases provides to the searching officers. Yes, that is correct, the words of the accused form the basis of the information that the judge uses to allow government officials to enter your property. Do you know why a fish gets caught? Because it opens its mouth, don’t be a fish, keep your mouth shut and provide no statements to animal care and control officers or any law enforcement officials during any type of investigation. Animal Care and Control will also rely on neighbor complaints, garbage pulls, feed store employee statements, veterinarian reports and other concerned hot line callers, when doing an investigation into animal cruelty cases and when applying for a search warrant of a person’s real property. Rarely do Animal Care Control Officers fumble onto a criminal animal case. There are instances though when a Animal Care and Control Officer is driving down a road and notices an animal in distress, sick, injured or in some other type of emergency. In these instances, which are rare, the officer may enter the property in an emergency situation to check on the animal. These situations are called exigent circumstances. Experienced criminal defense attorney’s, like Florida’s best Animal Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine will always argue against these government intrusions as it violates the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.
There are many court rulings throughout the United States holding that in exigent circumstances or emergency situations the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution takes a back seat to a sick, injured, malnourished or tortured cow, horse, pig, dog and other domesticated animals. As a matter of fact a court decision in Florida has reasoned that Animal Care and Control Officers did not need a warrant to enter a person’s home when the officers looked inside the home of the accused and noticed dead animals in cages, a distinct smell of death coming from the home and other signs of animal neglect and inhumane treatment. Animal Care and Control Officers and State Attorney’s try to justify all none warrant searches in the pigeon hole facts of the last criminal case mentioned. With an experienced criminal lawyer you can argue that the above facts are distinct in many ways and distinguished from your present problem if Animal care and Control enter your property without a warrant. The ability to separate your facts from the above court holding to achieve a different result is best left to a criminal lawyer that also does appellate work or appellate law in these subject areas. Attorney Andrew D. Stine has argued many appellate matters in front of the 4th DCA, 5th DCA and other appellate panels throughout the State of Florida on the issue of illegal searches and seizures.
Remember, do not speak to Animal Care and Control when asked questions. Do not speak to Law Enforcement Officials when asked questions. And when you or a loved one is being investigated for animal cruelty charges or crimes contacted an experienced criminal lawyer immediately.
Andrew Stine is an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney with 10 years of experience, including several animal cruelty cases. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561.880.4300 today and schedule yours.