Did you know it could be illegal to gamble at your home? You might be shocked especially since there are casinos around South Florida and there is the Florida Lottery. Those casinos are actually on Indian Territory and the Florida Lottery is an exception. Well, what about Bingo? Bingo is prohibited except for certain non-profit organizations. See F.Y.I. Adventures v. State.
We have all seen on TV or in the movies a bunch of guys sitting around a table playing poker for fun. If the poker playing does not fall into the penny- ante exception under Florida Statute 849.085,the poker players having a little fun will have big trouble if they are caught. To fall into the exception, the game can be poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg, the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game cannot exceed $10 in value, the game must be inside a dwelling, no admission can be charged, no one can get commission, no advertising can be done, and the game cannot be with anyone under 18 years of age. Florida Statute 849.08 prohibits playing card games, anywhere, by any device, for money or something of value, unless it falls into the exception in Florida Statute 849.085. Florida Statutes Chapter 849 has many sections that deal with gambling in Florida.What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of Gambling
The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant played or engaged in a game of chance;
- The defendant risked money or property on the outcome of the game; and
- The defendant expected to gain or lose money or property as a result of the game.
It is not necessary that the defendant actually bet his own money or property. He could have been a “hired gun” for the real owner of the property.Defenses
The facts of the situation will determine what types of defenses are used. If the gambling was being done inside the house, did the police have a warrant or warrant exception to search the house? How did the police officer know you were gambling with money and not with poker chips, potato chips, or pennies? Our Palm Beach Gardens Gambling Attorneys will be looking at the facts to find out if the police officer had probable cause to charge you with gambling that does not fall within the 849.085 exception.
Since this is a misdemeanor, the police officer is going to have to witness you committing the crime. Did the officer properly witness the crime? Was it dark? Did the officer clearly hear what was going on?
The facts and questions can go on and on. Our law firm will take depositions of anyone involved to see if the police really did witness this crime or if the officer did not clearly witness the situation and wrongfully arrested you.Punishment
This crime is a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with this crime, call today to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation with one of our Palm Beach Gardens Gambling Attorneys. Our attorneys want to discuss the case with you so we can take the information you give us and craft a defense strategy. After reviewing the evidence, we will present to you your options: we can take the case to trial, negotiate a plea deal, or negotiate that the case be not filed or dropped. Call today so we can get to work helping you.