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Bill proposes military service over jail time

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Some convicted offenders could choose a stint in the military over jail time under a bill slated to come before lawmakers during the upcoming legislative session.

Filed on Dec. 21 by Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), SB 1356 would allow offenders age 25 years or younger convicted on misdemeanor charges who are sentenced to serve less than four years in jail to enlist into any branch of the U.S. armed forces rather than serve their jail time.

Offenders who choose the military option could still face jail time if they fail to complete their first term of enlistment or do not meet other military requirements.

Under the proposed bill, habitual felons and violent “career” criminals would not be eligible for the option.

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A twin bill HB 187 was filed in the State House of Representatives by Rep. Patricia Williams, D-Pompano Beach in September. That bill now resides in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee of the Florida House.
Both bills remain pending.

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