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Two incoming Gator recruits facing felony charges over property damage

It may seem hard to believe, but in roughly six weeks the college football season will officially kick off with Division I schools across the nation taking the first steps toward what they hope will be a winning season. If you have a hard time believing it, consider that the Florida Gators are scheduled to start team practices in a little over a week.

Interestingly enough, the Gators, a perennial powerhouse, may be taking the field without two of their top offensive recruits following their recent arrests for allegedly causing more than $1,000 in property damage.

According to reports, the University of Florida Police Department was summoned to a residential housing complex on the Gainesville campus last Friday evening to investigate reports of broken windows.

Upon arrival, an officer noted three shattered windows, all of which had small holes typically made by pellet -- or BB -- guns.

A review of surveillance footage showed the windows being shot by two men earlier in the evening, while a subsequent check of ID cards ultimately led the officer to the two 18-year-old incoming wide receivers.

When confronted, one of the players confessed to the act and surrendered his BB gun. Both were then taken into custody early Sunday morning, and charged with shooting a missile inside an occupied dwelling, a second-degree felony, and criminal mischief for damaging property of more than $1,000, a third-degree felony.

While it remains to be seen whether the two young men will see the felony charges dropped or reduced in exchange for a guilty plea, this case should perhaps serve as a warning to young people that what they think is mere horseplay can sometimes have serious consequences.

Indeed, under Florida law a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, while a second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you have been charged with any sort of felony, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible in order to protect your freedom and your future. 

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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