Penalties for Tampering with Electronic Monitoring Devices
Tampering with Electronic Monitoring Devices
Florida uses ankle monitors, also called ankle bracelets, during pre-trial or pre-sentencing detainment and during probation or parole. It is a GPS monitor, which notifies authorities when a suspect or offender moves beyond a certain geographic zone.
When someone is required to wear an ankle monitor, they cannot take it off or tamper with it in any way. It remains on until authorities take it off. Since House Bill 75 was passed in October 2016, tampering with or trying to circumvent an ankle bracelet is a third-degree felony.
House Bill 75 added to Florida Statute 843.23, which states that it is unlawful for anyone to intentionally and without authority:
- Remove, destroy, alter, tamper with, damage, or circumvent the operation of an electronic monitoring device, which must be work or used by the individual pursuant to a court order or the Florida Commission on Offender review, or
- Ask, authorize, or solicit a person to remove, destroy, alter, tamper with, damage, or circumvent the operation of an electronic monitoring device that the individual must wear pursuant to a court order or the Florida Commission on Offender Review.
Penalties for Tampering with an Ankle Bracelet
If you are convicted of a third-degree felony because of altering or removing an ankle bracelet, then you can be punished with up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
This conviction also counts toward a habitual offender status under Florida law. If you have two more felonies already, from anywhere in the U.S., then you may be labeled a habitual fender for this offense, which enhances the possible penalty. As a habitual offender, you face up to 10 years in prison.
Defending Against Tampering with an Ankle Monitor
You may be arrested for messing with your ankle monitor for a wide range of actions. No matter how uncomfortable the monitor is, you must not tamper or play with it. Do not try to make it more comfortable or less unsightly. If any change with the monitor occurs, the police are notified. You could be arrested for doing something, even if you had no intention of moving outside of your allowed geographic boundary.
If you are charged with this offense though you did not intentionally try to remove the bracelet, turn it off, or alter it in any way, call a Kissimmee criminal defense lawyer from Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. as soon as possible. We will fight to prove that this arose due to a misunderstanding and that charges are unnecessary. If the prosecution chooses to move forward with charges, you will aggressively defend you in court.