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Florida lawmakers made a conscious effort to harshly punish anyone accused of making false threats of violence and false bomb threats, and the same goes for a defendant accused of making a false alarm of fire. If you or a loved one has been charged with unlawfully pulling a fire alarm or making a false threat of fire the, penalties could be severe and even permanent in some cases. Do not gamble with your future or your juvenile’s future by expecting the state to treat false fire alarm charges with a slap on the wrist. The potential consequences of being charged with a criminal offense of this nature are very real, and should not be taken lightly. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense attorney who specializes in cases involving false threats and false fire alarms. He has successfully defended multiple adult and juvenile clients facing these offenses, and is standing by to offer a free consultation about how he can dismiss or reduce the charges in your case. Contact Benjamin anytime at (954) 543-0305 to set up a phone consultation or an appointment at his Fort Lauderdale or West Palm offices. Benjamin is also willing to travel to Miami for his clients facing charges in Miami-Dade County, and to the Treasure Coast for his clients with charges in Martin and St. Lucie County.
Making a false threat of fire or pulling a fire alarm without reasonable cause is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. This means the maximum penalty could be up to one year in jail and the possibility of a permanent criminal conviction. Any person who is charged for a second time faces the possibility of a third-degree felony conviction and up to 5 years in jail. There is no time limit on how close the two cases must be for the repeat offender penalties to apply. Many fire alarms are located in hallways of large buildings such as schools, and these areas are usually subject to surveillance video recording. in addition, police may use forensic evidence such as fingerprinting to try to locate the person responsible for initiating the false fire alarm. While pulling a fire alarm is the most common reason for this charge, police can also bring charges against a person who falsely announces or circulates in any fashion that there is a fire. Mass text messages or even a social media post could be enough to trigger a false fire alarm charge. The state must prove that the defendant did not make a reasonable decision to pull the alarm or announce a fire, so a potential defense could be that the defendant was told or thought there was actually a fire. There may be other defenses available to a person facing charges for false fire alarm, and a criminal defense lawyer will be able to explain the best course to dismiss or reduce the charges.
The most common defendants in false fire alarm charges are juveniles and young adults, but we have seen people of all ages charged with making false claims or threats of bombs or fire. Benjamin Herbst has successfully represented hundreds of juvenile defendants, and understands that a simple prank could severely impact a juvenile or young adult’s future. He has the experience and the patience necessary to communicate with juvenile clients, and he always stays in touch with the family. Benjamin takes pride in always being available for his clients and provides them with his cell phone number for access on nights and weekends. If you or a loved one is facing charges in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach or along the Treasure Coast contact South Florida criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst today for a free consultation.