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:

    • Anti-theft course

    • Stay away order

    • Restitution

    • 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;

  • Misidentification;

  • Factual disputes;

  • Crime committed by someone else

Petit Theft is considered a crime of dishonesty and can have serious consequences not only related to having a criminal record that may bar a person from certain types of employment, schooling, or licenses, but also have immigration and deportation consequences as well. Most businesses these days have video surveillance which can be either helpful or harmful which is why it is important to have an attorney who can help you navigate the criminal justice system and a Petit Theft case.


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