Florida House and Senate Pass Bill to Help Utility Companies Get Restitution
The House and Senate have passed a bill that will make it easier for utility companies get restitution on criminal cases. When I worked at the State, I often had what’s called “grow house cases”. These are cases where the accused has allegedly tampered with a meter of a house to get electricity but not be charged for it. The electricity was then being used for lamps to grow marijuana inside the house. These lamps would easily exhaust thousands of dollars in electricity. Because there was no longer a working meter, determining how much electricity that was used was based on an estimate. Courts typically don’t like estimates and until now the utility companies had a hard time getting paid. The Senate and House passed bill HB 879 which states in part, that restitution can be ordered based on “a prima facie showing of the amount of unlawfully obtained electricity services may be based on any methodology reasonably relied upon by a utility to estimate such loss.” Now the utility companies get to set the terms of how they want to estimate the cost of the lost electricity.
The Florida House and Senate also passed a bill changing the law on Domestic Violence. The Domestic Violence Statute has been changed to include: that if a person is a first time offender, they must do 10 days in jail. A second offense now requires 15 days in jail and a third or subsequent offense requires 20 days in jail.
If the Domestic Violence was done in front of a child, under 16 years of age, who is a family member or household member of the victim or the accused, then the penalty is a minimum of 15 days for a first time offense, 20 days for a second offense, and 30 days for a third or subsequent offense.