The Florida statutes define theft as knowingly obtaining or using the property of another with intent to deprive the other person the right to the property or appropriate the property to their own use. Criminal charges for petty theft in Florida vary depending on the value of the stolen property and the process by which the theft was committed.
A Florida criminal defense attorney with experience in petty theft charges can help you review your options in dealing with these criminal charges. Do not plead guilty to the charges until you speak with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney, as you may be able to get the charges reduced or dropped with legal help.
Levels of Petty Theft in Florida
The type of criminal charges you face for petty theft in Florida will depend on the value of the item(s) you are accused of stealing. The lowest criminal charges you may face are charges of 2nd degree petty theft, which is when the property stolen is valued under $100 or unspecified. This 2nd degree misdemeanor carries a maximum 60-day jail sentence and up to $500 in fines.
If the stolen property is valued between $100 and $299 your criminal charges will be for petty theft in Florida of the 1st degree. This is a 1st degree misdemeanor with a maximum of 1 year of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines. Remember that any misdemeanor charges will be on your criminal record unless they are later expunged.
If the value of the stolen property is $300 or more your criminal charges are increased to grand theft and elevated to felony charges. All of these charges can benefit from the help of a Florida criminal defense attorney and can be argued against at trial.
Challenging Criminal Charges of Petty Theft in Florida
Whether you are being accused of stealing a pack of gum or a Playstation 3, you have the right to a Florida criminal defense attorney to help you fight the criminal charges being brought against you. Many innocent shoppers have unknowingly committed petty theft in Florida by placing items in their bags erroneously and forgetting about them. Not all petty thefts are intentional and done consciously, and your Florida criminal defense attorney may be able to argue your defense in this manner.
Even if you admit to the criminal charges, doing so may help you obtain a reduced sentence. By discussing your charges of petty theft in Florida with an experienced Florida criminal defense law firm you can determine your best options for fighting your criminal charges.