Florida’s Breach of the Peace Statute is Unconstitutional

Florida’s Breach of the Peace (BOP) statute is unconstitutional and should be repealed by the Legislature. The BOP is found in Florida Statute §877.03 which states:
“Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”

In 1973 a Florida Supreme Court justice said the BOP statute is unconstitutional for being too vague and over-broad and should be repealed by the legislature. Unfortunately, this was said in a concurring opinion and was beyond the holding of the case. The fact that the BOP statute is unconstitutional is a concern for all citizens, but for gun owners in particular this statute is especially problematic.

Florida Statute §933.14(3) states in relevant part:
“No pistol or firearm taken by any officer with a search warrant or without a search warrant upon a view by the officer of a breach of the peace shall be returned except pursuant to an order of a trial court judge.”

Unfortunately, many law enforcement agencies around Florida use the BOP statute to seize weapons and firearms whenever they are called to a scene, even when no crime has been committed. Some Sheriffs and Police Chiefs use this illegal policy to claim that they are “getting guns off the street” and to prove that they are “tough on illegal guns.” They know that most people will not go to court to retrieve the firearm as often it is more expensive to hire an attorney and go to court than to just purchase a new firearm.

Florida Gun Lawyer is looking for a case to challenge this unconstitutional statute, if you or someone you know has been arrested or charged for a breach of the peace call me immediately. It’s beyond time to get this bad law off the books.

Posted in Constitutional Law, Legal