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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / DeSantis Discusses Stricter Penalties for Shoplifting and Porch Piracy

DeSantis Discusses Stricter Penalties for Shoplifting and Porch Piracy


If you shoplift or steal from porches in Fort Myers, it could be much easier to face felony charges within the next few months. Governor DeSantis is supporting legislation that would heighten penalties for these crimes, and this is a clear response to rising retail theft in the Sunshine State. Even if you feel forced to shoplift due to financial pressures, this offense could cause life-altering consequences with the passing of this legislation. Here’s what you need to know:

Florida Governor Wants Stiffer Penalties for Shoplifting 

In February of 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticized what he believes to be excessively light shoplifting penalties. He specifically targeted the high threshold for felony charges, stating that “you only get a felony if you do five different retail thefts within a 45-day period.” Business owners widely supported this sentiment – pointing out that retail theft is beginning to seriously affect their bottom line. According to the most recent statistics, shoplifting leads to many billions in losses for businesses across the country each year.

The new suggested penalties would target both shoplifters and so-called “porch pirates.” Under these new laws, shoplifters would face third degree felonies for any repeat offenses. There would no longer be a 45-day lookback period for sentencing, and you would potentially face a felony as long as you have a single prior shoplifting offense on your record. If you have two prior retail theft convictions on your record, you would face a first degree felony.

Penalties become much greater for anyone involved in organized shoplifting. DeSantis seems to be specifically targeting the use of social media to recruit shoplifters, and anyone caught recruiting people in this manner would face a second degree felony. If you shoplift alongside just four people, you would also face an automatic third degree felony – even if it was your first offense.

You face a first degree felony if you use a firearm to carry out retail theft, and the same penalty applies to any act of violence or abuse against a senior citizen while shoplifting. Note that you do not actually need to brandish the weapon, and simply being caught in possession of a firearm while shoplifting could be enough to trigger first degree felony charges.

In terms of porch piracy, you would face a second degree felony for stealing property from 20 different properties. You would also face an automatic third degree felony if you steal property worth at least $40 from someone’s porch. If you steal property worth more than $100, you would face a second degree felony.

Although none of these new penalties have been signed into law, the chances of this bill passing are relatively high. Other states have passed similar laws, and pressure from retail businesses is high.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Fort Myers 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Myers, look no further than Foley & Wilson. Over the years, we have assisted numerous defendants accused of shoplifting, and we can guide you toward positive outcomes. We keep a close eye on legal changes within Florida to help mitigate your potential consequences – including new shoplifting legislation. Although penalties may be heightened, the same defense strategies apply. Book a consultation to discuss these strategies in more detail.



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