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Petit Theft in Florida is defined as the knowing and unlawful taking, obtaining, use, or attempts to use or take another’s property (valued at less than $300) coupled with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the other’s right to the property or to appropriate the property to his own use or the use of another.

Basically, if you take, or try to take, property that does not belong to you, you could find yourself charged with Petit Theft in Florida.

Penalties for a Petit Theft Charge

In Florida, the penalties for Petit Theft vary depending on the value of what was taken and whether you have previously been convicted of theft.

If the value of the property taken is less than $100 and you have no prior theft convictions, you will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor punishable by:
  1. Up to 60 days in the County Jail
  2. Up to 6 months of supervised probation
  3. Up to a $500 fine
If the value of the property taken is more than $100 but less than $300 or if you have a prior theft convcition, you will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor punishable by:
  1. Up to one year in the County Jail.
  2. Up to sex months of supervised probation.
  3. Up to a $1,000 fine
Additionally, Petit Theft is considered a crime of dishonesty an there are several other potential and collateral consequences to a Petit Theft conviction including difficulty finding employment especially if handing money is required.

Defenses to a Petit Theft Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Petit Theft charge in Florida include:

You did not knowingly take the property

The law requires that you “knowingly” take property that does not belong to you. If the alleged theft was simply a misunderstanding or if you did not knowingly take the property, you may have an affirmative defense to the Petit Theft charge.

You had a right to take the property
You can’t steal property that belongs to you. A very specific requirement of the Florida Petit Theft law is that the property allegedly taken did not belong to you and that it was unlawful for you to take it.
 
If the property allegedly taken belonged to you and you had a right to it, you may have an affirmative defense to the Petit Theft charge.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Petit Theft in Florida!
(407) 545-6416