Florida Updates Its Theft Law to Address Porch Pirates and Shoplifting Rings

Florida Updates Its Theft Law to Address Porch Pirates and Shoplifting Rings

Florida Updates Its Theft Law to Address Porch Pirates and Shoplifting Rings

Retail theft a crime that has always carried harsh legal penalties in the state of Florida. However, Governor DeSantis recently signed legislation that increased the penalties associated with various forms of retail theft, even for first-time offenders. This legislation addresses so-called “porch pirates” and shoplifting rings.

Even for theft of goods valued at a relatively small amount, those convicted under these new laws could face years in prison. If you have been charged with retail theft, package theft, or a related offense, you should consult with a reliable theft defense attorney as soon as possible so you can protect your rights and evaluate your best legal options.

The Consequences of a Theft Conviction

Theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida, depending on the value of the goods involved. One of the most significant differences between a felony and misdemeanor offense is that the former tends to carry much longer periods of incarceration and financial penalties upon a conviction.

However, both misdemeanors and felonies can leave you with a permanent criminal record and leave you facing serious time behind bars. The recent law has resulted in numerous changes that will directly impact those accused of retail theft and related offenses.

For example, acts formerly considered petty theft are now considered full-fledged misdemeanors, carrying both jail time and penalties for convicted offenders. Individuals who engage in multiple instances of retail theft over a period of up to 120 days can now be charged with a felony, whereas the prior threshold was 30 days.

Understanding Florida’s New Porch Piracy and Shoplifting Law

The new Florida theft law means that porch piracy involving goods valued at under $40 is now a first-degree misdemeanor. Possible punishments for this category of offense include up to 12 months in jail.

If you have a prior theft record and are convicted of porch piracy, even if the goods are valued under $40, that crime becomes a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail. When the alleged act of porch piracy involves goods valued at $40 or above, it automatically becomes a third-degree felony as well.

The other aspect of the new law specifically increases the penalties for individuals involved in shoplifting rings – which have increased in recent years. If a person engages in retail theft with five or more other people, they will also face a third-degree felony charge.

If the retail theft is committed with five or more other people, while also involving the use of social media to incite participation (another trend that has been increasing), the crime is a second-degree felony. Punishments can include up to 15 years in jail.

If the retail theft involves a firearm, or the accused has two or more previous convictions for this crime, the offense becomes a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony carries some of the harshest legal penalties of all offenses charged in the state of Florida, including up to 30 years in jail.

Call The Umansky Law Firm When You Are Arrested for Porch Piracy Being Part of a Shoplifting Ring

Any person is innocent of a crime unless their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing retail theft charges under Florida’s new shoplifting and porch piracy laws, now is the time to build the strongest possible defense.

One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys can work tirelessly to reduce the penalties you are facing, whether through seeking a lesser charge, negotiating a plea deal, or fighting for a complete dismissal. To discuss what legal outcomes might be possible for your case, contact The Umansky Law Firm today and receive your free, one-on-one legal consultation.

Florida Updates Its Theft Law to Address Porch Pirates and Shoplifting Rings
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