Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communications Device
Under Section 934.215, Fla. Stat., the crime of unlawfully using a two-way communication device requires proof that the use was for the purpose of facilitating or furthering the commission of a felony. The term “two-way communications device” includes any portable two-way wireless communication device such as a cell phone.
Many of these cases involve sexually motivated crimes, especially during a sting operation when an undercover officer will use a computer, tablet, or cell phone to communicate with a suspect about where to meet. When the suspect shows up at the meeting location with that device, the undercover officer will seize it.
These charges are common in string operations for prostitution and drug crimes. Because of the difficulty in proving those underlying crime, officers in elaborate sting operations might add on these charges because it might be easier to prove at trial.
Crimes charged under Section 934.215, Fla. Stat., are third degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The crime of using a two-way device for communications to facilitate a crime is classified as Level 4 offenses for purposes of the severity ranking on the scoresheet.
Attorney for Communications Device Crimes in Tampa, FL
If you were charged with the crime of using a communication device to facilitate the commission of a felony offense, including a sex crime, then contact the experienced attorneys at Sammis Law Firm.
Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We also have a second office in New Port Richey, FL.
Our criminal defense attorneys represent clients on a variety of sex crimes in Tampa, FL, and the surrounding areas throughout Tampa Bay.
Contact us to find out more about the charges pending against you, the typical penalties for that offense, and ways to aggressively fight the charges.
Elements of Crimes for Using a Two-Way Device for Communications
The standard jury instructions for the UNLAWFUL USE OF A TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE are found in Chapter 29.26. The standard jury instructions were adopted in 2017.
Those standard jury instructions for crimes charged under § 934.215, Fla. Stat., provide that in order to prove the crime of Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communications Device, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant possessed and actually used a two-way communications device; and
- The defendant used the device for the purpose of facilitating or furthering the commission of a felony.
If applicable, the jury is also told that “The Court instructs you that (name of felony) is a felony.”
As explained by the standard jury instructions, if there is a dispute about whether the defendant was facilitating or furthering the commission of a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor, the court might consider instructing jurors on the elements of the felony.
The Court might also instruct the jury that the term “two-way communications device” includes, but is not limited to a portable two-way wireless device,” although as of November 2016, there was no definition in the statutes or case law for “two-way communications device.”
Two-way communication devices might include computers, tablets, cell phones, and smartphones, use to communicate a meeting place to commit the crime or make other arraignments.
This article was last updated on Thursday, August 27, 2019.