The Cop Column
October 2008
Sgt. Rick Hord
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

The Thousand Dollar Wheelie and Other New Laws

As always, October 1 was the day many new laws took effect. Here’s a sampling of some of the results of the 2008 legislature:

“Pulling a wheelie” on a motorcycle is now a very serious traffic ticket: $1,000 plus court costs (F.S. 316.2085(2)).. Intentionally jumping off a ramp or bump carries the same penalties, as the law says motorcyclists must keep “both wheels on the ground at all times.” Momentary loss of contact due to road conditions or factors beyond the rider’s control is not considered a violation. A second offense carries a $2,500 fine plus a one year license revocation. A third offense is a felony, with a mandatory fine of $5,000 and a ten year license revocation.

Speeding in excess of 30 miles per hour over the limit was already a mandatory court appearance for the violator. Now, a speeder going 50 over the limit faces the same tough penalties when he gets to court as does the motorcyclist who “pulls a wheelie” (F.S. 316.1926 (2)).

            Acting as a secondary metals recycler without having registered with the Florida Department of Revenue is now a felony (F.S. 538.23(5)). It’s one of several new provisions relating to metals recyclers.

Stealing copper or other nonferrous metals from utility service or communication service providers is now a very serious crime (F.S. 812.145) if it interferes with the company’s ability to provide service.  The new law makes such a theft a first degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, regardless of the value of the metal stolen.

Not taking someone to the doctor can now be a felony (F.S. 843.21), if the person was injured as a result of criminal activity, the victim’s medical condition worsens as a result of being deprived of medical care, and not going to the doctor was with the intent of hindering investigation of the crime.

            Caller-ID Spoofing is now a first degree misdemeanor (F.S. 817.487). Caller-ID Spoofing is relatively new technology that enables someone making a telephone call to fool the recipient’s caller-ID. It’s sold through Internet-based vendors who tout such “legitimate” uses as making clients believe you’re calling from the office when you’re really on vacation.

             Taking a cellular telephone or other “portable communication device” inside the secure perimeter of a state prison without prior official authorization is now a Felony (F.S. 944.47).

            All of those laws went on the books October 1.

A couple of laws with effective dates earlier in the year are worth mentioning:

As of July 1, holding yourself out to the public as a “Social Worker” without a college degree in that field, even without compensation, is now a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. (F.S. 491.016).

As of May 28, it’s been illegal to tape a paper temporary license tag inside the rear window of a car (F.S. 320.131). Temporary tags must now be mounted on the outside of the vehicle in the same manner as a permanent tag, and they’ll now be printed on waterproof material.