Although, charges of bigamy in Florida are minute and rarely seen, bigamy is categorically frowned upon and can spell out dire consequences for offenders who are convicted. Bigamy for the simple majority of residents is morally unacceptable, however; many do not realize that the act is a crime.
Under Florida law, bigamy refers to the act of intentionally and knowingly getting married to a spouse when you have an existing marriage contract with another individual.
Under the Florida Bigamy State, there are specific exceptions for which an offender may be cleared of committing bigamy. These defenses include:
- If the existing marriage was legally dissolved
- If the defendant can prove that he or she had reasonable belief that his/her first spouse was deceased as at the time of marrying the newer spouse*
- If the defendant can prove that his/her first spouse willfully disappeared and remained continuously absent for a period of three (3) years: and as at the time of marrying the newer spouse, the defendant had no specific knowledge that his/her first spouse was still alive*
- If the defendant can prove that the/she had reason to believe he/she was divorced, but a judgment for divorce issued by the court was in a way invalid, leading to the notion that the marriage was technically still binding
- If the defendant can prove that he/she otherwise had reason to believe that he/she could legally remarry
Defenses #2 and #3 are less potent in current years, seeing as widespread use of the Internet makes it less likely that either of both scenarios could pristinely play out.
Bigamy is a criminal conduct in the state of Florida and the offender under the Florida State Bigamy Statute may be charged with felony of the third degree. A felony conviction of bigamy like other felony convictions will be entered into the criminal record of the convicted individual, with substantial effect on opportunities and reputation of the individual.
- Prison time: Maximum of 5 (Five) years
- Fine: Maximum of $5,000
An individual who as yet had a living husband or wife, marries another person shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree.
Knowingly marrying husband or wife of another
An individual who as yet had knowledge that his or her spouse was in a legally binding marriage contract with another; but went ahead to marry his or her spouse shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree.
An individual who marries or has sexual intercourse with another individual to whom he or she is related by linear consanguinity or a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, commits a crime tagged “incest.” The offender shall be prosecuted with felony of the third degree. Where “sexual intercourse” refers to the act, by which the male sex organ penetrates the female sex organ, however slight: Emission of semen is not mandatory for the act to be tagged as “sexual intercourse.”
Broward Criminal Attorney: Kenneth Padowitz
Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney, Kenneth Padowitz, provides aggressive representation to those that have been accused of crimes. Contact our law firm today to discuss your situation with the attorney today.