For one Florida woman, inconsistent facts, unreliable witnesses, and a flurry of media attention has resulted in a whirlwind of chaos after she was accused to animal cruelty. According to media reports, the woman was charged with two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty after a video camera recorded her allegedly beating a small dog. The incident occurred at the veterinarian clinic where the woman worked. The video of the alleged abuse went viral after being posted on the internet.
As a result of the viral video, the woman received the criminal charges and was terminated from her employment. The owner of the veterinarian clinic has maintained from the start of the investigation that his employee was responding to an aggressive animal that had previously injured two additional staff members before the viral video was made. He also believes that the video was stolen and manipulated with the footage of the aggressive animal being removed implicating that the woman was willfully abusing the animal. He further states that the animal was not injured in the incident.
Since media attention has increased, the owner of the veterinarian clinic has since changed his stance in defense of his clinic, rather than his employee. Even so, the prosecutors in this case have since dropped the charges against the woman due to difficulties with witnesses involved in the case. The witnesses referred to were also employees of the clinic at the time of the incident, and worked alongside the woman facing the misdemeanor charges. Media reports have not indicated what difficulties the prosecution had with the witnesses.
Fortunately, for this Florida woman, the prosecution was unsuccessful in proving her guilt and the criminal charges were dropped. Many cases move forward after the charges are filed and result in lengthy court processes. This is one reason why it is crucial to obtain the aid of an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as you are accused of a crime. It is never too early to begin defending your rights and protecting your future interests and reputation.
Misdemeanor Charges and Penalties
The penalties for a misdemeanor crime conviction range depending on the severity of the charge. In most cases, misdemeanors are classified as being first degree or second degree offenses. Common misdemeanor crimes include battery, theft, trespassing, animal cruelty, and disorderly conduct. The penalties for misdemeanor offenses in Florida include:
• First Degree Misdemeanor – First degree misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor criminal offenses. The penalties for these offenses include up to $1,000 in fines, or incarceration for up to one year.
• Second Degree Misdemeanor – Second degree misdemeanors are less serious crimes and are punishable by up to $500 in fines, and incarceration for up to 60 days.
In order to prosecute a misdemeanor, prosecutors must begin the process within the statute of limitations or the case can be dismissed. Depending on the crime, the statute of limitations in Florida is one or two years.
Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph understands the importance of guiding his clients in the process of prosecution, and helping them understand what will be required of them as they defend their rights. Contact Marc A. Joseph, P.A. today for a free consultation of your criminal defense case by calling (813) 234-6374.