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Florida bill targets organized retail theft

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2022 | Criminal Law

News from the last couple of years has focused on the alleged spike in retail theft. As more communities try to find solutions to this, policymakers take action by drafting bills and laws designed to crack down on these problems.

Many, however, find themselves concerned that the proposed policies have flaws or may prove ineffective. Some worry they may adversely impact particular groups.

Laws that tackle the threat of boosting

According to the Florida Bar, the house voted 80-36 to approve SB 1534. This bill comes with the support of the Florida Sherrifs Association, Retail Federation, and National Federation of Independent Business. Proponents seek a solution to the act of boosting—or the act of walking into a store and stealing items without getting caught.

The bill creates a new crime known as organized retail theft, which subjects people to third-degree felonies for multiple retail thefts within a certain window. Those convicted of stealing 20 or more items may face second-degree felony charges.

While supporters point to organized theft involving up to 250 individuals, there are those who oppose the bill’s passing. One example noted was a teenager shoplifting school supplies suddenly facing felony-grade charges.

Theft convictions that threaten futures

This bill provides more tools to prosecute those charged with retail theft. Defending against those charges may be the only thing standing between a person’s future and a black mark on his or her criminal record for life. In the case of retail theft, there are tactics and questions to help a defense.  Those facing these charges may wish to investigate these strategies and lean on all available resources.