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What to Do if Arrested for Theft in Florida

Theft in Florida is a property crime that is charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the property taken, the particular item stolen, and if the offender has a record of prior thefts.

Theft is the intentional taking or using of someone else’s property, either permanently or temporarily, that deprives the owner of his or her right to the property and any benefit from it, or the appropriation of it for his or her own use without the consent of the owner.

Offenses and Penalties

  • Second Degree Petit (Petty) Theft

This covers property taken that is valued at under $100 and does not include any specific property covered in another statute. This is usually the common shoplifting charge and is considered a second degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 60-days in jail, 6 months’ probation and a $500 fine.

  • First Degree Pettit (Petty) Theft

This concerns property taken with a value between $100 and $299. This is a first degree misdemeanor and carries up to 1 year in jail, 1 year probation and a $1000 fine. If you have a prior theft charge, however, the offense is upgraded to a thirddegree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years’ probation and a $5000 fine.

  • Third Degree Grand Theft

This offense includes property taken that is at least $300 but under $20,000. This is a third-degree felony.

Also, if the item taken is a firearm, motor vehicle, fire extinguisher, a commercially farmed animal, construction sign, stop sign, or anhydrous ammonia, the offense is a third degree felony, regardless of its market value.

  • Second Degree Grand Theft

If you steal any property valued between $20,000 and $99,900, it is a second-degree felony in which you face up to 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation and a $10,000 fine.

  • First Degree Grand Theft

Property taken that is worth at least $100,000 is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Defenses

If you steal something that is without value, then you have committed no crime. It has to have some market value. Trash or something left on the side of a sidewalk or road presumably has no value.

Another defense is that you had a well-founded belief that you had an ownership interest in the property. If someone advised you that you could take an item and there was a misunderstanding whether you were to keep it, you may not be guilty of theft. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the theft was intentional.

Retain The Wiseman Law Firm

Having a criminal conviction poses many difficulties for anyone seeking employment, promotion, housing, credit, school enrollment, and can lead to deportation for some who may be illegally in the USA.

In many cases, The Wiseman Law Firm can find alternative dispositions for you including diversionary programs, community service, probation and sometimes dismissal of your charges. In other cases, The Wiseman Law Firm theft attorney can sometimes negotiate a private solution with a department store and seek dismissal of any criminal charges or a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Your future is vital. Don’t trust it to any criminal defense firm. Contact The Wiseman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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