In the past several years, Miami-Dade police have charged over 50,000 people with so-called “quality of life” misdemeanors like being in a park after hours, selling flowers by the side of the road, and drinking beer near a liquor store. All of these cases were processed by the county’s already overburdened court system, and many of the charges were later dismissed.
The County Commission will be reviewing a report later this month to decide if these “nuisance laws” should be lifted. Currently there are 18 seemingly minor misdeeds that are on the books as crimes punishable by jail time. Those who support the decriminalization movement say it would allow police to focus on more serious crimes such as domestic violence, homicide, or assault.
Broward County has fewer cases, so there is no decriminalization movement in that country.
Miami-Dade County’s costly `nuisance laws’ could get the ax, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 12, 2009
Contact a Miami-Dade defense attorney if you have questions about Florida legal issues.