Social Media Pics Result in Felony Charges for Florida Woman
Various news sources are reporting about a Florida woman who found herself facing serious allegations after posting beach photographs on social media. As reported by Reuters, the 20-year-old woman allegedly posted pictures depicting her riding on the back of a sea turtle. The photographs went viral and also caught the attention of Florida officials.
Under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules, it is a felony violation to possess, sell, or molest a marine turtle or a marine turtle nest of eggs. These animals are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, due to their classification as an endangered species. Any scientific research or conservation efforts involving a marine turtle habitat requires a specific permit from the Conservation Commission. Violations of the sea turtle regulations are classified as a third degree felony, with a possible imprisonment up to five years and/or a $5,000 fine.
In a public statement, the Melbourne police department explained that numerous complaints were received as the pictures reached wider audiences. This sparked an investigation that eventually led to the identification of the alleged perpetrator and the issuance of a felony arrest warrant. According to Reuters, the arrest occurred after law enforcement agencies were called to a residence about a domestic disturbance. The accused woman was identified at the scene and taken into custody once officers learned of the open warrant.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction
Though many people may opine that the actions of the accused do not rise to the offensiveness of a serious crime, she is nevertheless charged with a felony and facing potentially serious consequences. The effects of a felony conviction can extend far past any punishment levied by the court. In the state of Florida, it can mean the loss of various liberties, including:
- The right to vote in a public election;
- The right to participate as a member of a jury within a court law;
- The right to hold a public office within the state; and
- The right to possess a firearm.
In addition, the convicted felony classification can result in a loss of employment or positions of status within the community. It can further keep you from securing future employment. Additionally, if you hold a security clearance from the federal government, a felony conviction may result in revocation.
Like the woman facing allegations involving the sea turtle, every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Especially in a felony case, the road to defending your innocence should start as soon as charges are filed. An experienced attorney may file motions that attack the legality of a search or probable cause for the initial arrest. If the case proceeds to trial, your lawyer may successfully exclude inculpatory evidence and ultimately create reasonable doubt in the mind of the fact finder.
If you or a loved is facing felony charges, call Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group in Tampa at (813) 803-6518 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with the aggressive defense you need to protect your freedom.