In the day-to-day world of practicing criminal law, like many professions, there is a specific knowledge of understanding. With that is also a specific language. For example, most charges are referred to in a shorthand or abbreviated fashion. Okaloosa County Cops use this language well.
It is also the way criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors discuss cases between each other. Sometime, you may hear these acronyms used, even in open court. That is why I have compiled a list of common references that I have used during the course of my years in the criminal legal practice. I believe this information will be helpful to you.
Many of the below acronyms and abbreviations are used statewide, but some are county specific. And since my main office locations are in Fort Walton Beach and Destin Okaloosa County, Florida—some of these terms may be of a “local dialect.”
BUI: Boating Under the Influence. Similar to DUI, BUIs are common here in the Fort Walton Beach / Destin area.
DC: Disorderly Conduct. Also called “Breach of Peace” (BOP) instead of Disorderly Conduct. Charged as a second degree misdemeanor, this is one of the most commonly charged crimes we see in the local area.
DOMV and DV (Battery): Domestic Violence. Usually used to describe an Assault or Battery case involving a domestic situation. These include: Husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or other family interactions that become physical nature resulting in an arrest. Keep in mind that under Florida Law, if a Battery case is categorized as a Domestic Violence situation, the courts may access additional sanctions upon a conviction, like 6 months of Batterer’s Intervention Classes (BIP), pursuant to Statute.
DSP: Dealing in Stolen Property by Trafficking. This offense falls under the category of theft related crimes. And while the elements of the crime are written very broadly, most often, it is referring to the intentional sale of stolen property to a third party, which is, in most circumstances, a pawn shop broker. Florida is especially tough with DSP as all other theft related offenses, classifying it as a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years, making it one of the most punitive states in the entire U.S. for this type of charge.
DUI: Driving Under the influence. In Florida, we only have DUI. In other states, there could be DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or some other categorization of the charge which would revolve around the arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, we have a couple other abbreviations common with DUI cases. FSTs: Field Sobriety Tests. BAC: Breath or Blood Alcohol Concentration.
DWLSR or DWLS: Driving while License Suspended or Revoked. A first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. A second offense can be enhanced to a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year (or 11 months, 29 days) in jail. And subsequent charges could be treated as felonies.
FATE: This is an acronym for Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement. There are many different levels for this crime, all of which are serious felonies.
L & L: Lewd and Lascivious Crimes (Sex Based). An “L&L” is any crime that would fall under the category including for example: L&L Conduct, L&L Exhibition, L&L Molestation, etc.
LSA: Leaving the Scene of an Accident or Crash. While the general public refers to it as a “hit and run” criminal attorneys call is it LSA. That is because under Florida Statutes, there is no such thing as a “hit and run.” Besides, LSA sounds less dramatic and less culpable—and that is good for your client.
MIP and POA: Minor in Possession of Alcohol (Under 18) as well as Possession of Alcohol by a Person (Under 21), is especially targeted by law enforcement during spring break and summer months, but we see cases year round—and especially on the beach.
NO VALID or NO VALID DL: No Valid Driver’s License. This refers to a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
POM and POP: Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both are generally treated as misdemeanors (if POM under 20 grams) and are commonly found charged together. However, the statutory sanctions for Possession of Marijuana can be more severe than that of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, so try to focus on getting the marijuana charge dismissed.
POCS and POCS with Intent: Possession of a Controlled Substance is commonly (and generically) referred to as POCS or simply “possession.” (Higher amounts may rise to a “trafficking” charge.) Keeping in mind there are many different types of POCS cases, whether it be a Schedule 1: cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana…or a Schedule 2: prescription drugs like xanax, lortab, hydrocodone, oxycodone, or adderall.
RAWOV, RAWV, and BATT LEO: Sometimes charged together, these refer to the crimes of Resisting Arrest without Violence (a misdemeanor), Resisting Arrest with Violence (a felony), and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO). There is also a charge called Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (AGG BATT LEO).
RT, PT, GT and GTA: The first two stand for Retail Theft and Petit Theft, which are essentially similar misdemeanor charges. The second two refer to Grand Theft and Grand Theft Auto. These two crimes start out as third degree felonies, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Sex Batt and Cap Sex Batt: Sexual Battery and Capital Sexual Battery. Sexual Battery can include rape and date rape related charges regarding child or adult victims. Capital Sexual Battery is a capital felony punishable by a mandatory life sentence. Even though it is technically a “capital crime,” the death penalty is not a possible sentence.
VOP and VOCC: Violation of Probation and Violation of Community Control. While Community Control is a more restrictive version of probation akin to house arrest, these violation of community supervision cases are handled by the courts substantially the same in terms of due process and procedure-with no right to a jury trial, all decisions are made by the presiding judge from the bench. Therefore, establishing technical defenses early on–is an absolute must.
WC or W/C: Worthless Checks. In Florida, it is a crime to write a bad check or to post-date a check. Basically, it is the same thing as a NSF check (non-sufficient funds), but in Florida, the criminal charge per statute is specifically called “worthless checks.”