Pursuant to Florida Statute 826.01, it is a crime in the State of Florida for a married person to marry another person. It is also a crime to knowingly marry the spouse of another person while they are still married. This type of relationship is commonly called “Bigamy.”
What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict You of Bigamy
In order to be convicted of committing bigamy, the State of Florida has to simply prove the following:
- That you were married, and
- That while you were married, you married a second person
- That you knew someone was married, and
- That while they were still married, you married them, too!
The Florida Legislature has provided exceptions to the crime of bigamy that may be able to prevent you from being convicted of bigamy:
- If you reasonably believe that your prior spouse is dead when you remarry, you cannot be guilty of bigamy;
- If your prior spouse has voluntarily deserted you, remained absent continuously for 3 years, you did not know that your prior spouse was still living, and you remarry, you cannot be guilty of bigamy;
- If your bonds of matrimony have been dissolved, you cannot be guilty of bigamy;
- If a domestic or foreign court has entered an invalid judgment purporting to terminate or annul the prior marriage and you do not know that the judgment is actually invalid, if you remarry you cannot be guilty of bigamy; and
- If you reasonably believe that you are legally eligible to remarry, you cannot be guilty of bigamy.
How do these exceptions apply? Maybe, for example, your first spouse went missing for several years and you remarried because you reasonably, but mistakenly, believed your first spouse to be deceased. Technically you could be charged with bigamy, but you could have a valid defense against those charges.
Punishment for Bigamy
Bigamy constitutes a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison.
While it may sound like a Hollywood movie plot (think of that survivor movie where the guy crash-landed on the island and his wife remarried, thinking he was dead), bigamy charges are serious in the State of Florida. Believe it or not, scenarios like this happen every day in the real world. The attorneys at the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. understand, and will work to help you if you are facing criminal bigamy charges.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you have been charged with committing bigamy in the State of Florida, you should contact a West Palm Beach Bigamy Lawyer at The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. to discuss your defense options. Third-degree felony charges are serious in the State of Florida, and if you are facing such charges, you will want a knowledgeable defense team in your corner.