“Florida man” is a social media meme that has rocketed erratically behaving Floridians to internet fame… or infamy. Many of these stories involve encounters with law enforcement; however, it is worth remembering that, just because a person is behaving erratically, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are breaking the law. Sometimes, whether you’re talking about the internet-famous “Florida man” or an average, ordinary citizen, the police may charge a crime when what actually happened does not match the elements that the law requires. When you’re charged with a crime you didn’t commit, you need a skillful legal profession on your side. You need the representation of an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.
D.K. was a man who allegedly was having a “Florida man” moment in Brevard County. According to witnesses, D.K. was standing in his driveway. And he was throwing rocks at vehicles as they passed by…. And he was naked. According to ClickOrlando.com, jail records reflected that the man was in jail for “exposure of sexual organs.”
That seems all pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? D.K. was outside in his driveway and he was naked, so his “sexual organs” were “exposed,” right?
Actually, it isn’t that simple. In Florida, the crime of “exposure of sexual organs” is a violation of a specific law, Section 800.03 of the Florida Statutes. For a person to be guilty of this crime, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of four criminal elements. Two of those elements are: that the accused must have exposed himself in a vulgar, lewd, lascivious or indecent manner, and must have intended his exposure or exhibition to be vulgar, lewd, lascivious or indecent.
Defeating a charge when you don’t meet all of the crime’s elements
The law generally requires more than just that the accused was spotted outside naked. Last summer, CBS Miami reported on a Volusia County schoolteacher who was arrested after mowing his yard nude. The teacher was originally charged with “exposure of sexual organs and disorderly conduct,” according to the report. The state, while proceeding on the disorderly charge until obtaining a deferred prosecution agreement, dropped the exposure charge, likely because simply mowing one’s own backyard in the buff, absent something more, doesn’t meet the elements of that crime.
Similarly, the man in Brevard County, unless there are additional facts not reported by ClickOrlando, may not have committed a violation of Section 800.03, either. The man, who very possibly was intoxicated or having a mental illness event, may have committed some sort of crime – such as maybe disorderly conduct – but just standing in one’s driveway while throwing rocks naked could very possibly fall short of a crime of exposure of sexual organs.
Now, you may reasonably be wondering right now… why is this important, Mister Attorney? I generally keep my clothes on everywhere outside the shower.
It’s important because authorities leveling charges against people when the accused’s actions didn’t fit the elements of the crime happens in many situations, and not just with naked rock-throwers.
Maybe you were overcharged (such as being charged with grand theft instead of misdemeanor petit theft when the value of the items you took was less than the dollar amount required for that felony grand theft charge.)
Maybe, though, your conduct didn’t fit the elements of any crime at all. When that happens, you need more than just to avoid a conviction and a fine and/or jail sentence, you need to get those charges dropped. You need someone who knows how to take your case, pursue it effectively, and get you not only full justice but swift justice, as well.
In either scenario, you need a skilled professional who knows how to protect your rights when you’ve been incorrectly charged. You need the experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. Our attorneys have many years of helping people accused of disorderly conduct and other crimes to seek justice in Florida. Call us today at (727) 286-6141 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.