Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez who was photographed riding a Manatee last month was arrested on a State Attorney’s Office-issued warrant for Violation of the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. A series of photographs were released after Gutierrez was seen riding the manatee at the popular Fort Desoto Beach on October 2nd. Gutierrez allegedly told authorities that she was new to the area and didn’t know that it was illegal to ride a manatee.
When law enforcement initially questioned Gutierrez about the incident, Gutierrez told authorities that she was not aware that, “it was against the law to touch or harass manatees.”
Under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act (FMSA), it is unlawful for anyone to intentionally or negligently annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb a Manatee. Violation of the FMSA is a second-class misdemeanor and exposes one to a fine up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail.
Misdemeanor offenses are crimes that carry a punishment of less than one year in jail. Unless charged with other felony offenses, misdemeanors are heard by a county court judge and are considered less serious crimes than felonies. Misdemeanors are typically characterized as either second degree or first-degree misdemeanors.
A second-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by no more than sixty days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine. A first-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by no more than one year in jail, one-year probation, and a $1,000 fine. As it can with almost all felonies, a court may also impose probationary sentences for misdemeanors up to the statutory maximum for the offense.
The court can also combine incarceration with probation. Examples of lawful arrangements include and can be as extreme as a twelve-month straight probationary sentence with 364 days incarceration as a condition of probation for a first-degree misdemeanor, to six months’ probation with 60 days of incarceration for a second-degree misdemeanor.
Many times, courts will order true split sentences, causing the accused to serve six months of incarceration followed by a six-month period of probation totaling up to one year for a first degree misdemeanor.
A judge may revoke probation in a first-degree misdemeanor case and impose the full incarceration penalty (one year for a first-degree misdemeanor and 60 days for a second-degree misdemeanor), with credit for any time served, upon revocation of probation, no matter how long the defendant may have been on probation.
If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville misdemeanor crimes defense attorney, one will be able to ensure that one can move on from the criminal charge without incarceration or other negative punishments. Get an experienced attorney who will work towards obtaining a hearing and gaining a favorable result from the judge, so one can be free of a very powerful State-operated legal system.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Florida woman, Ana Gutierrez, arrested on warrant for riding manatee, Brian Gillie, The Examiner