In Florida, Petit Theft involves the taking of an item that is less than $300.00. There are varying degrees of “Theft” based on the dollar amount, where the item is taken from, and sometimes the type of item.
Florida Statute 812.014 defines Theft as when a person:
“knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: a) deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or b) appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.”
Petit Theft can be either a first-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree misdemeanor depending on the value of the item stolen.
Note: regardless of the value of the item taken, a second offense can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
First-degree (more than $100 but less than $300
Maximum 1 year in jail; or
12 months of probation;
Second-degree (less than $100)
Up to 60 days in jail; or
Up to 6 months of probation
Additional conditions may include:
Stay away order
Driver license suspension
Under Section 812.0155 Florida Statutes, a court may suspend a person’s driver’s license for a period of six months where the person is adjudicated guilty of misdemeanor petit theft. The court must order the suspension of driving privileges for a period of one year where a person is adjudicated guilty of a second offense.
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Lack of intent;
Crime committed by someone else