From texting while driving to hazing, there are 27 new laws that are now in effect that impact Florida residents.
The following are some of the laws effective as of October 1, 2019:
- Texting and driving – Although HB 107 became effective on July 1, starting this month drivers must be hands-free when driving through school and work zones. Since law enforcement won’t start issuing citations for this violation until January 1, 2020, verbal or written warnings will be given instead. Violating this law also results in three points on the driver’s license.
- Hazing – HB 1080 makes it a third-degree felony—rather than a first-degree misdemeanor—for hazing that leads to permanent injury. A third-degree felony carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum $5,000 fine. Additionally, witnesses to a hazing incident gain immunity if they contact 911 for emergency medical services.
- Veterans’ courts – SB 910 eliminates the honorable-discharge requirement for veterans to meet in order to participate in veterans’ court. The new law also broadens eligibility requirements for treatment options ordered by the court.
- Police dogs and horses – SB 96 makes killing or causing great bodily injury to a law enforcement, fire, or search-and-rescue canines or police horses a second-degree felony, rather than a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Child-like sex dolls – SB 160 makes showing, selling, or gifting a child-like sex doll a first-degree misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense will be charged as a third-degree felony.