June 01, 2020
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HB 1309

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to retail-theft diversion programs;
3amending s. 812.014, F.S.; requiring a law enforcement
4officer who has probable cause to believe that a defendant
5has committed retail theft to issue a notice to appear in
6lieu of arresting the defendant under certain
7circumstances; authorizing a state attorney to establish a
8retail-theft diversion program for the purpose of
9diverting defendants from criminal prosecution if the
10defendant meets certain criteria; providing eligibility
11criteria for participating in a retail-theft diversion
12program; requiring the state attorney to mail notice to
13appear to a defendant upon referral to a diversion
14program; providing the conditions that each participant in
15the retail-theft diversion program must complete;
16providing that a defendant may be prosecuted for the
17retail theft if all conditions in the diversion program
18are not fulfilled; authorizing a state attorney to collect
19a fee from each participant in the program; setting a
20limit on the fee for each defendant; providing an
21effective date.
23Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
25     Section 1.  Paragraphs (e) and (f) are added to subsection
26(3) of section 812.014, Florida Statutes, to read:
27     812.014  Theft.-
28     (3)
29     (e)  If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to
30believe that a defendant has committed retail theft as defined
31in s. 812.015(1), the officer shall issue a notice to appear in
32lieu of arresting the defendant if the aggregate value of the
33merchandise stolen is less than $300 and the defendant has no
34previous criminal or juvenile convictions.
35     (f)  A state attorney may establish a retail-theft
36diversion program in the state attorney's office or by using an
37independent contractor for the purpose of diverting from
38prosecution defendants who meet the offense criteria in
39paragraph (e). However, establishing and operating a diversion
40program does not affect the authority of the state attorney to
41prosecute any defendant for committing retail theft.
42     1.  Upon receipt of a complaint or notice to appear
43alleging the crime of retail theft, a state attorney who
44operates a retail-theft diversion program shall determine
45whether the defendant is appropriate for referral to the retail-
46theft diversion program. In making such determination, the state
47attorney shall consider the following:
48     a.  The value of the merchandise stolen in the retail
50     b.  The existence of other pending complaints or criminal
51charges against the defendant.
52     c.  The strength of the evidence of the retail theft.
53     2.  Upon referral of the defendant to the retail-theft
54diversion program, the state attorney shall mail a copy of the
55notice to appear to the defendant. The notice must contain all
56of the following:
57     a.  The date and location of the alleged retail-theft
59     b.  The date before which the defendant must contact the
60retail-theft diversion program office concerning the notice to
62     c.  A statement of the maximum penalty for the retail-theft
64     3.  If the state attorney permits the defendant to enter
65the retail-theft diversion program, the state attorney shall
66enter into a written agreement with the defendant to divert him
67or her from prosecution for retail theft. The diversion
68agreement must include all of the following conditions, which
69must be accepted by the defendant:
70     a.  Attendance and proof of completion of a program
71designed to assist, educate, and prevent future unlawful conduct
72by the defendant.
73     b.  Full restitution, if any is established, of the value
74of the retail theft.
75     c.  Full payment of fees due under subparagraph 5.
76     d.  A knowing and intelligent waiver of the defendant's
77right to a speedy trial for the period of his or her diversion.
78     4.  Any defendant who does not fulfill all conditions in
79the diversion program may be prosecuted for the crime of retail
81     5.  To fund the retail-theft diversion program, the state
82attorney may collect a fee from each participating defendant.
83The fee for each defendant may not exceed:
84     a.  Twenty-five dollars, if the value of the stolen
85merchandise does not exceed $50.
86     b.  Thirty dollars, if the value of the stolen merchandise
87is more than $50 but does not exceed $100.
88     c.  Forty dollars, if the value of the stolen merchandise
89is more than $100 but does not exceed $300.
90     Section 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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