Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fla. lawmakers providing for inflation in crime

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Someone shoplifting a $400 camera in Florida now faces a charge of felony grand theft. A bill passed by the Florida Senate would be more lenient on those kinds of crimes.

Currently, anyone who steals $300 to $20,000 faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Under the proposal (SB 1548) passed Friday, stealing up to $600 wouldn't trigger those penalties. Instead, shoplifting items costing between $100 and $600 would be punished by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Changing the law could mean 76 fewer people sentenced to prison next year, saving the state $762,508. The theft law hasn't been changed since 1986. The price of a $300 item then would now be about $600 because of inflation, one lawmaker said.

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