On October 1, 2016, several new laws took effect in Florida after they passed during the 2016 legislative session and gained approval from Governor Rick Scott. One of the new laws makes it a third-degree felony to tamper with or ask for assistance tampering with an electronic monitoring device (EMD), also commonly referred to as an ankle bracelet.
What does the new law say about tampering with electronic monitoring devices?
Depending on the crime, a judge may choose to order “community control,” commonly referred to as house arrest, instead of incarceration. During your community control, you must wear a GPS tracker at all times (e.g., when you sleep, when you shower, etc.). This allows officers to track your movements in case you venture outside your limits.
A new law (House Bill 75) states that if your community control conditions include wearing an electronic monitoring device, it will be a third-degree felony to do any of the following:
- Remove the electronic monitoring device
- Destroy the electronic monitoring device
- Alter the electronic monitoring device ‘s functions
- Damage the electronic monitoring device
- Block the operation of the electronic monitoring device
- Tamper with the electronic monitoring device in any way
Furthermore, it is also a third-degree felony to ask another person to aid you in any of the above acts or allow any of the above acts. A third-degree felony includes up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
What should I do if accused of tampering with or asking someone to remove my monitoring device?
If a police officer has a valid reason to believe you tampered with or attempted to get someone to aid you in tampering with your electronic monitoring device, he will arrest you on a new charge.
Note: If your EMD sustains damage through no fault of your own, you should report it to the monitoring officer as soon as possible to avoid potential charges.
If you are facing charges for tampering with or asking someone to assist you with removing an ankle bracelet, contact a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney at Goldman Wetzel. Because this is a new offense, you will face new charges in addition to charges for which a judge ordered house arrest.
We will review your statements and examine the circumstances to determine the best defense against the tampering charges. Call our office at 727-828-3900 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your charges and how to fight them.