The holidays bring joy, time with family, and, unfortunately, spikes in arrests. What crimes are most often committed during the holidays, and why? What can you do to protect yourself if you’re arrested? We looked at some of the most frequently committed crimes associated with the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
Here are the most committed crimes in the U.S. during the holiday season:
Shoplifting / Larceny
Shoplifting arrests often peak during the holidays. Stores are full of people, and some may try to take items that they cannot afford or may accidentally leave items in their cart when they walk outside. Depending on the value of goods, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida. If property is valued at $750 or more, this may constitute grand theft, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Grand theft charges may also apply to an item of any value if it is a:
- Stop sign
- Fire extinguisher
- Motor vehicle
- Commercially farmed animal
- Construction site sign
- Controlled substance
Holiday shoplifting charges can become complex because of the involvement of private security personnel, who may or may not implement the correct policies and procedures when detaining and questioning suspected shoplifters. There is often video evidence in these cases as well, but factors like these do not necessarily mean that they are “open and shut” and will result in a conviction. It’s important to talk to a theft crime attorney as quickly as possible after a shoplifting arrest to make sure your rights are protected from the very beginning.
According to holiday drunk driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day have the highest numbers of drunk driving fatalities. In 2018, 285 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. from Christmas to New Year’s Day. In view of statistics like these, law enforcement officers in Florida and across the nation are increasingly vigilant over the holidays. They are on the lookout for drunk drivers, and they will pull motorists over if they exhibit signs of potential intoxication.
If you’re arrested for suspected DUI during the holidays, you need to remember that “failed” field sobriety tests and even a breath test that showed a blood alcohol level above the legal limit do not necessarily mean that you are or should be found guilty. Field sobriety tests are not completely accurate, and even breath or blood tests have their faults. A competent lawyer will know how to help you keep your driver’s license and avoid jail time when you should be celebrating with your family.
At Thomas & Paulk, we have experience with DUI cases such as:
- First-time DUI offenses
- DUI accidents
- DUI causing injury
- Aggravated DUI
- DUI checkpoint arrests and charges
- Felony DUI
- DMV hearings
We can also help if you live out of state and were visiting Florida when you were arrested.
Increases in online shopping can lead to increased cyber crime rates, ranging from fraud to identity theft. With cases like these, federal investigators and prosecutors may become involved. Working with a defense lawyer who is familiar with federal crimes will be your best opportunity of reaching a positive outcome and potentially avoiding formal charges in the first place, depending on the situation.
Our attorneys represent clients in Tampa and across Florida in cases involving:
- Identity theft
- Computer intrusions
Seasonal Patterns in U.S. Crime Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a study, Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends, which analyzed trends and patterns in violent and property crimes in the U.S. based on the time of year. National crime statistics from 1993 through 2010 were used to conduct the study.
The following seasonal patterns were found, which correlate with common holiday crimes:
- Burglary rates were lowest during the spring and winter and highest in the summer.
- Assault, aggravated assault, rape, and sexual assault rates were higher in the summer than the other three seasons, with winter having the lowest rates.
- Robbery rates stayed relatively constant throughout each season.
- Domestic violence rates were typically highest during the summer.
Arrested? Talk to a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer
Just because you were driving away from a bar on New Year’s Eve or driving in the early morning hours on the day after Thanksgiving, this does not mean you were drinking and driving. Just because you were shopping on Black Friday, you aren’t necessarily a shoplifter. Law enforcement will be on the lookout for the most committed crimes over the holidays, and that can open the door to potential mistakes or arrests for crimes that didn’t actually happen.
At Thomas & Paulk, we have represented thousands of people across Florida in a complete range of criminal cases, from first-time misdemeanors like DUI all the way to serious felonies like robbery or aggravated assault. During the holidays, we recognize that people are experiencing more stress than usual, whether it’s from financial problems, family-related issues, and more. If you were arrested or are under investigation for any crime, we are here to offer our insight and guidance. All you have to do is exercise your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer at our firm and you will take the first step toward securing a brighter future for yourself.
Your consultation is free and confidential – call (813) 321-7323 today!