The tragic death of George Floyd has sparked daily protests and riots all over the country. In an effort to stop these protests and riots, many counties and cities have instituted curfews to all residents.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giminez first announced a mandatory curfew for Miami on May 30, 2020. This curfew has been imposed daily in Miami and there is no information to date on when the curfew order will expire.
This curfew has sparked outrage and confusion for some Miami residents. The curfew presents questions such as: Does the curfew apply to everyone? What if my job requires me to work after curfew? Can I leave my house if I have an emergency?
One thing is clear. Law enforcement officers are arresting individuals for curfew violations in Miami. Therefore, you need to know your rights pertaining to this law.
Curfew Violation Law
Florida Statute 252.38 grants authority to all county or city mayors to impose a curfew pursuant to a “State or Local Emergency”. Pursuant to that authority, Mayor Carlos Giminez declared a Local Emergency based on “civil unrest” in Miami-Dade County. You can read a copy of the order here.
The order prohibits all individuals from making use of any street or sidewalk for any purpose between the hours of 10:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. The curfew was subsequently amended from 9:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. and does not have an expiration date. You can read a copy of the amended order here.
Update: As of June 3, 2020 the curfew has been amended from 9:00 P.M. to midnight.
Are There Exceptions to the Curfew Order?
Yes, the curfew order does not apply to the following individuals or circumstances:
- Individuals who work at “essential establishments” and are returning directly to their homes from their place of employment or directly to their employment from home;
- Individuals who are employed in “essential services” such as police officers, fire rescue, first responders, health care employees, utility repair service personnel, and the media;
- Individuals walking their dogs within 250 feet of their residence.
Will I go to Jail for a Curfew Violation?
Under either Florida Statute 252.50 or Miami-Dade County Ordinance 8B-12, violating a curfew order is a misdemeanor crime. An officer that believes that he or she has probable cause of a curfew violation has the discretion to make an arrest.
Alternatively, in lieu of arrest, an officer also has the discretion to issue a defendant a Promise to Appear or a “PTA”. The defendant would then be required to attend a future court date.
What are the Penalties for a Curfew Violation?
Under Miami-Dade County ordinance 8B-12, it is unlawful for anyone to fail or refuse to obey any emergency order, including a curfew order. The maximum sentence for violating a curfew order in violation of the county ordinance is punishable by up to 180 days in the county jail and a $500 fine.
A defendant could also be charged under Florida Statute 252.50 which states that any individual that violates an emergency order under this section is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine.
Defenses to Arrest for Curfew Violation
An arrest to a crime does not always result in a conviction. If you, or someone you know, is arrested for a curfew violation, they may have several defenses available to them.
- Lack of Notice – Mayor Giminez imposed the initial curfew order at approximately 9:30 P.M. on May 30, 2020 for a curfew to go into effect at 10:00 P.M. At this time, many individuals were still protesting in Miami and could have been far from their homes. In addition, due to the short notice, many individuals might not have actually received the notice of the curfew order.
- Media – The order specifies several occupations that are exempted from the curfew order. Notably, members of the media should have a complete defense under the exception. However, at least one member of the media was still arrested for violation of a curfew order despite allegedly showing his credentials to the police.The charges were dismissed the following day.
- Essential Employees –The curfew order does not apply to employees who work at “essential establishments” and are traveling directly to work or their home from work.
- Legally Walking Dog – The curfew order permits an individual to walk his or her dog within 250 feet of their residence.
Attorney for Curfew Violation in Miami, FL
If you are arrested for a curfew violation in Miami, FL, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney for representation. E.J. Hubbs is a former prosecutor who has handled over 10,000 criminal cases in his career. In addition, he is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar; an honor held by less than 1% of attorneys in Florida.
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.