Getting around town can be tough, especially if you don’t own a car. Fortunately, public transportation is an option. Networks of buses and inter-city rail services serve Florida’s cities, providing people with an affordable and convenient way to travel around.
But some would abuse Florida’s public transportation. They might jump the turnstiles to hitch a free ride on a railcar or enter from the back of a bus to avoid paying.
These forms of fare evasion are prohibited in Florida, and anyone caught attempting these can face criminal charges.
Fare evasion is petit theft
Per state rules, evading a bus or rail fare is petit theft of the second degree, a misdemeanor of the second degree. A conviction for this offense leads to up to 60 days in county jail and $500 in fines.
However, if a court convicts a person for a second or subsequent offense under the law, the crime becomes a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties for such a conviction include up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines. The court has the option to require the convicted to perform public service instead of paying a fine.
Enhancements for fare evasion offense
If a person who was caught committing fare evasion resists the reasonable effort of an officer of a transit agency employee to make the person pay, their offense is immediately upgraded to a misdemeanor of the first degree.
In conclusion, it’s illegal to avoid public transportation fares. While the offense is just a misdemeanor, it still leads to jail time and fines.