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On April 19, 2021, Florida Gov. Rob DeSantis signed five bills into law. Two of them involve changes to criminal law. The following blog post is an overview of HB 1 and SB 2510. 

HB 1: Combating Public Disorder 

Widely known as the “anti-rioting” bill, this new law is designed to crack down on violent protests and combat public disorder. HB 1 was first filed in the Florida House of Representatives in early January and passed the Senate on April 15, 2021. 

The following are several provisions of the anti-rioting law: 

  • Makes it harder for city and county governments to reduce funding for law enforcement, giving local elected officials the authority to challenge budget decisions, and allowing the state to approve or amend the local budget 

  • If local governments fail to stop a riot, they are subject to civil lawsuits 

  • Define “riot” as a violent public disturbance that involves three (3) or more individuals acting with common intent to damage property, cause injury, or be a threat of damage or injury 

  • Individuals who commit crimes during a riot will face enhanced penalties 

  • Create a new criminal offense called “aggravated riot,” which occurs when the riot consists of over 25 participants, causes great bodily injury or property damage valued at over $5,000, uses or threatens to use a firearm or dangerous weapon, or blocks the road by force or threat of force. This crime is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. 

SB 2510: State Agency Law Enforcement Radio System 

This new law funds the radio maintenance needs of Florida police departments through July 2026. An additional $3 will be added to a criminal offense and traffic violations – on top of other imposed penalties. 

According to SB 2510, the collected $3 surcharge will be sent or transferred to the Florida Department of Revenue. In turn, a trust fund will be created for the radio systems and maintained by the Florida Department of Management Services each quarter, while the collected funds will be paid out by counties each month. 

For more information about Florida criminal law, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074. Let a former state prosecutor with more than 19 years of criminal experience protect your rights and freedom. 

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