A 25-year-old Boca Raton woman now faces a charge of inciting a riot in Pompano Beach after a bawl at a bowling alley, the Sun Sentinel is reporting.
The newspaper states that the woman was jailed after 20 to 30 people began fighting at the bowling alley. Inciting a riot, under Florida Statutes 870.01, can be punished either as a first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony.
According to the law, an affray is essentially a fight in a public area. Officers can charge someone with a first-degree misdemeanor in that case. A riot, however, is the more serious charge. That is encouraging or inciting a large-scale fight or disturbance in a public place.
In either situation, the defendant will need an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Any charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, requires legal counsel because they can have serious consequences.
While it’s true that a misdemeanor carries lower penalties, that doesn’t mean a conviction won’t end up hurting a person’s career or ruining relationships. Avoiding a conviction can help a person repair their image and reputation, as well.
Jail or prison time is a possibility any time there is a felony charge, so it’s something all suspects facing these type of charges need to keep in mind.
According to the newspaper, the woman was at a bowling alley on North Federal Highway. Two large groups were bowling, with one of the groups acting more boisterously than the other. Members of the louder group had been drinking and were using obscene gestures in a joking manner.
The other group, however, included children and took offense to the antics. When they asked the other group to stop, an argument started.
The woman who was later arrested allegedly threw two full drink glasses at a woman in the other group and then allegedly threw a punch and chair at the woman. A sheriff’s deputy reported seeing some of the actions when he first arrived at the alley in response to a 911 call.
The woman was arrested and charged with encouraging others to start in the fight. Another person was charged with refusing to leave the scene of the crime.
From what’s printed in the news article, it’s unclear what proof the sheriff’s deputy had to charge the woman with inciting a riot. It’s also not clear what actions the suspect took to try to get other people to join a fight. If the only witnesses who say the woman was trying to get others into a fight were the alleged victims, the state may not have a strong case. Victims are always going to seek the most serious charges and bring up the worst possible allegations.
The testimony of any criminal case witnesses – but especially that of alleged victims — must be looked at with a healthy dose of skepticism. A trained Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney is able to find weaknesses in the state’s case.
If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.
More Blog Entries:
West Palm Beach Man Arrested For Alleged Feces Battery on Girlfriend: January 6, 2012
Two held after bowling brawl in Pompano Beach, by Wayne K. Roustan, Sun Sentinel