Yes, you read that correctly. According to the Sun Sentinel, a 27-year-old South Florida shop owner was arrested and jailed on Monday for allegedly selling contact lenses to people who did not have prescriptions. Although the man suspected of illegally selling contact lenses was released on $3,000 bond, he still faces a felony charge here in Florida.
As our criminal defense attorneys know, you can get injected into the criminal justice system for far less than trafficking drugs and robbing houses. Sometimes, seemingly harmless, even helpful, actions can land someone in jail, as evidenced by this story out of Palm Beach County.
When most people think of somebody being placed under arrested for selling something, they conjure images of cocaine dealers, unlicensed firearms dealers, or even individuals selling liquor to people under the age of 21. But this case emphasizes the fact that you can be jailed for selling just about anything if such thing has laws that govern its sale.
In the State of Florida, according to State Statute 484.013, it is a third-degree felony to “prepare or dispense” contact lenses without first being provided a prescription for such contact lenses. If the man charged in this case is convicted of the third degree felony, he faces up a steep penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
So, exactly why is it illegal under state law to sell contact lenses without having been given a license? Well, contact lenses sit on your eyeball, and the prescriptions tell the contact lens dispenser what the size, shapes and angles of your eyes are; therefore, contact lenses are supposed to be designed specifically for you so that they work well with your eyes and don’t damage them.
According to the FDA, wearing the wrong sized/shaped contact lenses can cause serious injuries, including but not limited to eye cuts, infections, decreased vision, and even blindness.
It was actually an undercover sting operation that nailed this Palm Beach store owner; purchasing a set of contact lenses, the undercover police officer paid $15 but failed to show a prescription. Regardless, the store owner still sold the lenses to the undercover officer, and thereby violated Florida law.
It has been reported that this man had been previously told to stop selling contact lenses without being provided a prescription for the lenses. This fact, if true, will serve to counter any claim that he may have in which he argues that he did not know that he was not allowed to sell contact lenses without being given a prescription. He will surely need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges against him.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers. We have decades of experience in successfully defending even the most complex criminal matters. For a free consultation, call us at 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).