The Florida Senate
(This document is based on the provisions contained in the legislation as of the latest date listed below.)
Prepared By: The Professional Staff of the Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice
INTRODUCER: Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice; Criminal Justice Committee;
and Senators Boyd and others
SUBJECT: Catalytic Converters
DATE: March 16, 2023 REVISED:
1. Erickson Stokes CJ Fav/CS
2. Atchley Harkness ACJ Fav/CS
3. FP
Please see Section IX. for Additional Information:
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE - Substantial Changes
I. Summary:
CS/CS/SB 306 creates the Catalytic Converter Antitheft Act, which addresses tampering with
and theft of a catalytic converter, a device the bill defines as an emission control device that is
designed to be installed and operate in a motor vehicle to convert toxic gases and pollutants in
the motor vehicle’s exhaust system into less toxic substances via chemical reaction. There have
been numerous incidents throughout the United States of catalytic converters being detached
from motor vehicles and stolen due to precious metals contained in the devices.
The bill requires recordkeeping and records inspection and disclosure regarding certain
transactions involving a catalytic converter, and punishes certain unlawful transactions involving
a catalytic converter. Specifically, the bill:
 Defines key terms;
 Limits purchase of a detached catalytic converter to a registered secondary metals recycler
and requires that this recycler comply with statutory recordkeeping and other requirements;
 Provides that it is a third degree felony to knowingly possess, purchase, sell, or install a
stolen catalytic converter, a catalytic converter removed from a stolen vehicle, a new or
detached catalytic converter from which specified information has been removed, or a
detached catalytic convertor without proof of ownership (with exceptions).
 Provides that it is a second degree felony to knowingly import, manufacture, purchase for the
purpose of reselling, etc., a counterfeit, fake, or nonfunctional catalytic converter;
BILL: CS/CS/SB 306 Page 2
 Provides that proof that a person was in possession of two or more detached catalytic
converters, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person in
possession of the catalytic converters knew or should have known that the catalytic
converters may have been stolen or fraudulently obtained; and
 Prohibits a secondary metals recycler from processing or removing from the recycler’s place
of business a catalytic converter the recycler has purchased for a period of 10 business days
after the date of purchase. This prohibition does not apply to a purchase from another
secondary metals recycler, a salvage motor vehicle dealer, or a person or entity except under
s. 538.22, F.S.
The Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research preliminarily estimated that
the original bill would have a “positive indeterminate” prison bed impact (an unquantifiable
increase in prison beds). See Section V. Fiscal Impact Statement.
The bill takes effect July 1, 2023.
II. Present Situation:
Theft of Catalytic Converter
The U.S. Justice Department has described a catalytic converter as “a component of an
automotive vehicle’s exhaust device that reduce the toxic gas and pollutants from a vehicle’s
internal combustion engine into safe emissions.”1 The reason why catalytic converters are
tampered with (detached) and stolen is the high volume of precious metals in the center or “core”
of the converter, “especially the precious metals palladium, platinum, and rhodium.”2
Some of these precious metals are more valuable per ounce than gold and
their value has been increasing in recent years. The black-market price for
catalytic converters can be above $1,000 each, depending on the type of
vehicle and what state it is from. They can be stolen in less than a minute.
Additionally, catalytic converters often lack unique serial numbers, VIN
information, or other distinctive identification features, making them
difficult to trace to their lawful owner. Thus, the theft of catalytic
converters has become increasingly popular because of their value,
relative ease to steal, and their lack of identifying markings.3
Press Release: Justice Department Announces Takedown of Nationwide Catalytic Converter Theft Ring (Nov. 2, 2022),
available at
ring (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023). “A catalyst is a device installed in the exhaust system of a vehicle. It treats and eliminates
harmful pollution produced in the vehicle’s engine, and is a type of device commonly referred to as an ‘after-treatment
system.’ Automakers install catalysts in their new vehicles to meet tailpipe emissions standards (commonly referred to as
‘OEM catalysts’, which stands for original equipment manufacturer).” Notice of Availability of EPA Tampering Policy and
Request for Information Regarding 1986 Catalyst Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Dec. 14, 2020), 85 FR
80782, available at
tampering-policy-and-request-for-information-regarding-1986-catalyst (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023).
BILL: CS/CS/SB 306 Page 3
There do not appear to be any official national or statewide data on the number of catalytic
converter thefts. However, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a not-for-profit organization
that assists insurers, law enforcement, and representatives of the public in preventing and
combatting insurance fraud and crime, reports: “In 2018, there were 1,298 catalytic converter
thefts for which a claim was filed. In 2019, it was 3,389 thefts with a claim. In 2020, catalytic
converter theft claims jumped massively to 14,433, a 325% increase in a single year.”4
The Congressional Research Service reports that “the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration ... issued a Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Standard, which requires manufacturers
to apply or stamp a car’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the engine,
transmission, and a dozen other major vehicle parts so law enforcement agencies can better
identify vehicles from which the parts were stolen. However, the standard does not require
automakers to stamp identification numbers on catalytic converters.”5
Federal Law on Tampering with Catalytic Converters
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), tampering with a catalytic
converter “is illegal under federal law[.]” The EPA cites to a 1990 amendment to Part A of Title
II of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. s. 7521-7554) which was codified at 42 U.S.C. s. 7522(a)(3)),
and which broadened earlier federal tampering provisions to apply them to “everyone, including
car owners.”6
The Congressional Research Service cites the following federal criminal statutes that authorize
federal law enforcement agencies to investigate vehicle or vehicle part theft but notes this theft
does not appear to be a priority for these agencies:
 18 U.S.C. s. 2312, which punishes transportation of a stolen motor vehicle in interstate
 18 U.S.C. s. 2313, which punishes receiving, possessing, concealing, storing, bartering,
selling, or disposing of a stolen car that has crossed state lines;
 18 U.S.C. s. 2321, which punishes buying, receiving, possessing, or obtaining control of a car
part, with the intent to sell or otherwise dispose of it, if the person knows that the
identification number was removed, obliterated, tampered with, or altered; and
 18 U.S.C. s. 2322, which punishes operating, owning, maintaining, or controlling a chop
shop or conducting operations in a chop shop.7
Catalytic Converter Thefts Skyrocket Across the Nation, National Insurance Crime Bureau, available at (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023). The
organization is not representing that it is reporting all catalytic converter theft for the relevant time period noted.
Addressing Catalytic Converter Theft, IF118700 (July 6, 2021), Congressional Research Service, available at (last visited on Feb 3, 2023).
Frequent Questions related to Transportation, Air Pollution, and Climate Change, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
available at
air (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023). The EPA further notes: “The resale of a vehicle which has already had the catalytic
converter removed is not specifically addressed by federal law. Therefore, the person who removed the converter violated
federal law, but not necessarily the person who sold the vehicle. However, the sale of vehicles that have had the emission
control system removed, disabled, or tampered with may be further governed by state or local laws.” Id.
Addressing Catalytic Converter Theft, IF118700 (July 6, 2021), Congressional Research Service, available at (last visited on Feb 3, 2023).
BILL: CS/CS/SB 306 Page 4
National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and Catalytic Converter Theft
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) was established by federal law
“to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being
resold.”8 The U.S. Department of Justice says the NMVTIS is “a tool that assists local, state, and
federal law enforcement in investigating, deterring, and preventing vehicle-related crimes.”9 The
NMVTIS is “[a]dministered by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators” and
“requires regular reporting by scrap recyclers and salvage yards”10
Florida Law
Section 812.014(1), F.S., provides that a person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or
uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or
 Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or
 Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the
use of the property.
The statute, in part, provides for escalating punishment for grand theft based on the property
value range applicable to the value of the property stolen in the theft.
Grand theft is theft of property valued at $750 or more. If the property stolen is valued at:
 $750 or more, but less than $5,000, it is grand theft of the third degree and a Level 211 third
degree felony;12
 $5,000 or more, but less than $10,000, it is grand theft of the third degree and a Level 3 third
degree felony;13
 $10,000 or more, but less than $20,000, it is grand theft of the third degree and a Level 4
third degree felony;14
Law Enforcement, National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, U.S. Department of Justice, available at (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023). The Congressional Research
Service says the federal law has facilitated “identifying stolen vehicle parts.” Addressing Catalytic Converter Theft,
IF118700 (July 6, 2021), Congressional Research Service, available at (last visited on Feb 3, 2023).
Consumers Don’t Be Fooled. Protect Yourself, National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, U.S. Department of
Justice, available at (last visited on Feb. 3, 2023).
The Criminal Punishment Code (Code) (ss. 921.002-921.0027, F.S.) is Florida’s primary sentencing policy. Noncapital
felonies sentenced under the Code receive an offense severity level ranking (Levels 1-10). Section 921.0022(2), F.S. Points
are assigned and accrue based upon the offense severity level ranking assigned to the primary offense, additional offenses,
and prior offenses. Section 921.0024, F.S. Sentence points escalate as the severity level escalates. These points are relevant to
determining whether the offender scores a prison sentence as the minimum sentence, and if so scored, the length of that
sentence. Id. The offense severity ranking is either assigned by specifically ranking the offense in the Code offense severity
level chart (s. 921.0022(3), F.S) or ranking the offense by “default” based on its felony degree (s. 921.0023, F.S.).
Sections 812.014(2)(c)1. and 921.0022(3)(b), F.S. A third degree felony is generally punishable by not more than five
years in state prison and a fine not exceeding $5,000. Sections 775.082 and 775.083, F.S. But see ss. 775.082(10) and
921.00241, F.S. (prison diversion).
Sections 812.014(2)(c)2. and 921.0022(3)(c), F.S.
Sections 812.014(2)(c)3. and 921.0022(3)(d), F.S.
BILL: CS/CS/SB 306 Page 5
 $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, it is grand theft of the second degree and a Level 6
second degree felony;15 and
 $100,000 or more, it is grand theft of the first degree and a Level 7 first degree felony.16
It is also grand theft of the third degree, a third degree felony, to commit theft of any item
specified in s. 812.014(1)(c)1.-13., F.S. (e.g., theft of a will, firearm, fire extinguisher, or stop
A catalytic converter is not an item specified in s. 812.014(1)(c)1.-13., F.S., so theft of a catalytic
converter would be punished as either petit theft or grand theft based on the value of the device.
For example, if the value of the catalytic converter stolen is $1,000, the theft of this device is a
grand theft of the third degree, which is a Level 2 third degree felony. The offender who
commits this offense is unlikely to receive a prison sentence absent the commission of an
additional offense, prior criminal history, or other factors that score enough sentence points to
make the offender eligible for a prison sentence.18
Tampering with a Catalytic Converter and Related Offenses
Section 316.2935, F.S., addresses a motor vehicle’s air pollution control device or system and
tampering with that device. This section defines “tampering” as the dismantling, removal, or
rendering ineffective of any air pollution control device or system which has been installed on a
motor vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer except to replace such device or system with a device
or system equivalent in design and function to the part that was originally installed on the motor
At the time of sale, lease, or transfer of title of a motor vehicle, the seller, lessor, or transferor
must certify in writing to the purchaser, lessee, or transferee that the air pollution control
equipment of the motor vehicle has not been tampered with by the seller, lessor, or transferor or
their agents, employees, or other representatives.20 A licensed motor vehicle dealer must also
visually observe those air pollution control devices listed by rule of the Florida Department of
Sections 812.014(2)(b)1. and 921.0022(3)(f), F.S. A second degree felony is punishable by not more than 15 years in state
prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000. Sections 775.082 and 775.083, F.S.
Sections 812.014(2)(a)1. and 921.0022(3)(g), F.S. A first degree felony is generally punishable by not more than 30 years
in state prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Section s. 812.014(1)(c)4., 5., 8., and 11., F.S.
A Level 2 offense alone would not score more than 22 sentence points. See s. 921.0024(1)(a), F.S. Section 775.082(10),
F.S., provides that a defendant must be sentenced to a nonstate prison sanction, which could include jail, if the defendant’s
offense was committed on or after July 1, 2009, is a third degree felony but not a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08, F.S.,
and excluding any third degree felony violation under chapter 810, F.S., and if the total sentence points pursuant to
s. 921.0024, F.S., are 22 points or fewer. Theft is not a forcible felony. Although subsection (10) provides that “the court”
may impose a prison sentence if it makes written findings that a nonstate prison sanction could present a