Proposed Legislative Action to Curb Retail Theft and Porch Piracy in Florida

adminCriminal Defense

In recent years, there has been a surge of retail theft and porch piracy nationwide, fueled in part by the rise of online shopping. From brazen thefts at retail stores to the theft of packages from doorsteps, these crimes inflict financial losses for businesses and individuals and erode trust and safety within communities. 

In response, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a proposed legislative action on February 13, 2024, aimed at curbing the uptick in these crimes. The proposed bill, HB 549, sponsored by Florida House member Bob Rommel, underscores Governor DeSantis’ commitment to tackle theft and porch piracy crime. Governor DeSantis stated, “We will not tolerate retail crime, porch pirates, and the lawlessness that they allow in California and New York.” 

The Proposed Legislation includes:

  • Third-degree Felony Charge for Group Retail Theft: For individuals convicted of retail theft with five or more persons, they may be sentenced up to five years in prison.
  • Second-Degree Felony Charge for Soliciting Retail Theft via Social Media: Persons using social media to encourage others to participate in retail theft may face a second-degree felony charge. This offense is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison upon conviction.
  • First-degree Felony Charge for Armed Retail Theft or Repeat Offenders: Individuals committing retail theft with a firearm or those with two or more prior convictions for retail theft could face a first-degree felony charge, carrying a potential sentence of up to thirty years in prison.
  • Second-Degree Felony Charge for Porch Piracy Offenses: Individuals who commit porch piracy thefts from over twenty homes or steal property worth $100 or more may face a second-degree felony charge.
  • Third-Degree Felony Charge for Moderate Porch Piracy Offenses: Individuals who commit porch piracy thefts from over twenty homes or steal property worth between $40 and $100 may face a third-degree felony charge.

Will Stiffer Penalties Deter Crimes?

While penalties certainly play a role in the criminal justice system, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Addressing the root causes of crime is necessary to achieve a long-term reduction in criminal behavior. Many individuals feel compelled to resort to such actions due to underlying issues such as financial hardship, unemployment, or lack of access to basic necessities. Additionally, struggles with addiction or mental health issues can cloud judgment and lead to impulsive and risky behavior. 

Enhanced Penalties Underscore the Need for Strong Criminal Defense

Given the current tough-on-crime policies in Florida, the proposed legislation to combat retail theft and porch piracy will likely be passed and become a reality. It is imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense law firm immediately to protect your rights and interests when facing these charges. The most effective defense strategy depends on each case’s facts and circumstances.

What The AP Law Group Offers

 At The AP Law Group, our legal team offers the guidance and unwavering support you need throughout your legal journey. We work closely with you to help you understand the legal process and know what to expect at each stage of the proceedings. 

Our approach begins with a thorough case evaluation, where we scrutinize the evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, and any other pertinent information. We tailor a defense strategy for your case’s circumstances by identifying weaknesses or mitigating factors in the prosecutor’s case.

In many cases, skillful negotiations with prosecutors can secure a favorable resolution without a trial. However, should the case proceed to trial, our attorneys provide vigorous representation in court, advocating for your acquittal.

Your Trusted Defense: The AP Law Group in Ocala and Gainesville, Florida

At The AP Law Group, we take immense pride in being fierce negotiators and compassionate advisors for our clients facing criminal charges. We tackle each case with tenacity and determination, never backing down from a challenge. Our team is committed to relentlessly advocating for our client’s rights and interests, seeking the best possible outcome in every situation. With unwavering compassion, we will stand by you every step of the way, ensuring you never walk alone during a difficult and uncertain time.

Contact The AP Law Group at (352) 732-9191 to schedule a free consultation to explore your defense options. With offices in Ocala and Gainesville, Florida, we represent clients throughout Marion and Alachua Counties and the surrounding areas.