Halloween is just around the corner, which means putting on a costume and
heading out for a party. Part of your chosen outfit might include a mask,
but you might have heard about a Florida statute that bans people from
wearing an item that covers their face in public. You might wonder: Does
this law pertain to Halloween costumes? The short answer is “no,”
but let’s dive a little further in to understand that law and potential
charges and consequences about wearing masks.
What Are the Anti-Mask Laws?
Where does the misconception come from that it’s illegal to wear
a mask in public on Halloween?
There are 4 separate Florida statutes that prohibit a person from wearing
a covering to hide their face or conceal their identity:
876.12: Makes it illegal for a person over 16 years of age to wear a mask or hood
on a public lawn, walk, alley, street, road, or highway
876.13: Prohibits anyone from wearing a mask or hood to enter into or onto public property
876.14: States that it is unlawful for someone over 16 years of age to conceal
their face or identity with a mask or hood and demand entrance into another
person’s private property
876.15: Bars anyone over 16 years of age from wearing a mask or hood while holding
a meeting or demonstration on private property without first having received
written permission from the owner to do so
When Do These Laws Apply?
Reading the above-mentioned laws on their own, it might appear that wearing
a mask on Halloween is prohibited. However, Florida Statute 876.155 clears
up when the provisions of these laws apply.
According to statute 876.155, 876.12 through 876.16 are applicable when
the person wearing the mask or hood intended to:
- Deprive another person of their legal rights
- Injure or intimidate someone else
- Intimidate, threaten, abuse, or harass another
- Engage in criminal conduct and avoid identification
Therefore, unless your intent with your Halloween mask was to participate
in behavior prohibited by statute 876.155, it is not illegal to wear such
What Happens if Someone Commits a Crime While Wearing a Mask?
If a person does engage in criminal behavior, and they covered their face
to conceal their identity, the classification of the alleged crime increases.
Florida Statute 775.0845 states that if a person commits an offense (other
than one listed in statutes 876.12 through 876.15) while wearing a mask
or hood, they will be charged with the next higher degree.
What that means is:
misdemeanor becomes a first-degree
A first-degree misdemeanor is reclassified to a third-degree
- A third-degree felony is increased to a second-degree felony
- A second-degree felony becomes a first-degree felony
Discuss Your Case with Albaugh Law Firm
Crimes might increase on Halloween night because many people are wearing
costumes that hide their identity. That also means you could be charged
for a crime in a case of mistaken identity. If you are facing criminal
allegations in St. Augustine, reach out to our skilled attorneys today.
We will fight hard to protect your rights and work toward a favorable
outcome on your behalf.
Schedule your free consultation by calling Albaugh Law Firm at (904) 637-1839 or
contacting us online.