October 1, 2016 marks the beginning of several new laws going into effect in Florida. The over two dozen new laws were passed in the last legislative session and were signed by Governor Rick Scott in March. These new laws include:
HB 387 – Carl’s Law
HB 387, also known as “Carl’s Law”, was named after Carl Stark. Stark was a 36-year-old disabled man with autism who was shot and killed by teenagers who were looking to steal a car. Carl’s law gives increased penalties, both civil and criminal, for people who are convicted of victimizing a person with disabilities.
This law deals with electronic monitoring devices, such as the kind worn on the ankles of people under house arrest or other kinds of monitoring due to previous criminal charges. HB 75 makes it a third degree felony for a person to ask someone else to try to circumvent or remove the electronic monitoring device.
This new law was enacted to help reduce public benefits fraud and to punish people who participate in this kind of fraud by trafficking in electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. Public benefits such as food stamps and cash are electronically added to the cards and the benefit recipients use the cards like debit cards at stores, ATMs, and other places. SB 218 makes it a first degree misdemeanor to have two or more EBT cards and to try to sell or sell one of the cards. A second conviction under this provision is a third degree felony.
This law is related to prostitution, minors, and sex trafficking. HB 545 makes it illegal to prosecute anyone under the age of 18 for prostitution. This law was passed because people under the age of 18 who are engaged in prostitution should be treated as human trafficking victims rather than criminals. This law also includes provisions that give out harsher penalties for people who knowing rent space that is then used for prostitution.
This new law deals with threats of violence and the use of firearms. Under SB 436, it is not a first degree misdemeanor to threaten to kill or harm people engaged in certain professions. These professions are: firefighter, law enforcement officer, state or assistant state attorney, elected official, judge, or any of their family members. This law also makes it a second degree felony to make threats of using firearms in a violent manner and make false reports about firearms being used in a violent manner.
SB 912 is a law that attempts to crack down on electronic skimmers used on ATMs and gas pumps that illegally steal credit card information. This new law increases the penalties for people who are found with illegal credit card information and also requires gas stations to have proper security measures.
Contact Us for Professional Representation
If you are charged with a crime, whether under the new laws or older laws, it is crucial that you get the assistance of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys. Our experienced criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida can defend you in court against any crimes you are charged with.