The dine and dash is nothing new anywhere in the country, but it happens so often in Florida that the legislature specifically made it a crime. Florida Statute 509.151(1) makes it illegal to obtain food at any foodservice establishment with the intent to defraud the operator. The offense is commonly known as defrauding an innkeeper.

Value Less Than $300

Defrauding a food service operator for a bill of less than $300 is a second degree misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500. Because the crime is a misdemeanor, there are no sentencing guidelines, so a judge can use broad discretion in sentencing.

Value More Than $300

Defrauding a food service operator for a bill of $300 or more is a felony of the third degree. It is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000. A sentencing judge would have less discretion than in a misdemeanor because of Florida’s sentencing guidelines on felony convictions.

Other Consequences

Even if convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this offense, you would still be convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or deceit. The consequences can be very harsh when seeking employment and/or licensing. A conviction can be a basis for termination of employment. It might also be the basis of questioning your credibility in the future in court or other settings.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Representation

The Khonsari Law Group are dedicated and experienced criminal law attorneys. They’re sensitive to the fact that a criminal conviction can define your future. Call our St. Petersburg offices at (727) 269-5300, and we’ll arrange for a free case consultation and evaluation. You can use our online contact form, too. Start your defense early. You don’t want your freedom, reputation or future impacted.