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Can you be charged with a Felony for Stealing Soda?

July 4, 2012
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Could you be charged with a felony offense simply for stealing soda from an Orlando, Florida restaurant? For example, if you went to a fast food restaurant and took a cup intended only for water but filled it with soda instead and refused to pay for it, you could be charged with felony theft under certain circumstances under Florida law.

Stealing soda or anything else of minimal value are typically lower level theft crimes. However, if you have multiple theft convictions you may be charged with a felony.

Petit Theft

If you did unlawfully fill your cup with soda by refusing to pay for it, you would normally face a second degree petit theft offense, which under Florida law involves illegally taking an item valued at less than $100. It is considered a second degree misdemeanor with a possible jail time of up to 60-days, 6 months’ probation and a $500 fine.

Felony Theft

Normally, the severity of a theft offense is dependent on the value of the item taken. For example, a stolen item valued at $299 is still a misdemeanor although a first degree, but if it is worth $300, it becomes a third degree felony.

This also applies in the case of taking a soda without paying for it if you have more than two prior theft convictions. A third degree felony offense carries a possible prison sentence of up to 5 years, 5 years’ probation and a fine up to $5000. This is also called third degree grand theft.

Consequences of a Felony Record

Taking a soda with a value of less than one dollar and being charged with a felony because you have two or more theft convictions can be devastating.

Even if you are sentenced to only a few months in prison or jail, you will have to suffer the severe consequences of a felony conviction. A few of the obstacles you will have to face include the following:

  • Loss of driving privileges (also pertains to any petit theft conviction.)
  • Difficulty finding employment.
  • Difficulty in getting a professional license.
  • Inability to be hired for public employment.
  • Problems finding housing.
  • Getting a loan.
  • Getting accepted at a college or university.

A felony conviction in Florida will be on your public record. Anytime you apply for a job apply for further education, or try to rent an apartment, your employer, future college or university, or landlord will conduct a background check and see that you have been convicted of felony theft.

The consequences of a felony or of any criminal conviction are too great not to find an experienced, aggressive and conscientious criminal defense lawyer to represent you. In many cases, a skilled defense attorney can present arguments that may get your case dismissed or dropped, or reduce your charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The Wiseman Law Firm have vast experience representing clients charged with petit or grand theft and have obtained excellent results. Don’t trust your future to any criminal defense lawyer in the Orlando, Florida area. Call The Wiseman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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