Under Florida law, theft is where someone takes property with the intent to appropriate it for personal use or take away another person’s right to the property. Petty theft (also known as petit theft) involves stealing property of relatively small value. Although it is punished less harshly than grand theft in Florida, a conviction can have serious consequences. If you are accused or charged with petty theft, you should consult an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney.Degrees of Petty Theft in Florida
Petty theft of the second degree happens when someone steals property worth less than $100. It is a misdemeanor in Florida. Someone convicted of petty theft of the second degree is imprisoned for 60 days or less and fined not more than $500.
Petty theft of the first degree happens when the property stolen is worth between $100 and $300. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Someone convicted of petit theft of the first degree is imprisoned for at least one year and fined not more than $1,000.
In addition to the criminal conviction, civil penalties may apply to petty theft in any degree. You can be required to pay either $200 or three times the amount of monetary damage caused by the theft, whichever amount is greater. You also may be required to pay the reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs of the victim of your theft. A theft victim must give the offender a written demand to pay these costs within 30 days of filing the action. If you are served with this written demand and pay the amount demanded, the victim is required to release you in writing from civil liability.
Moreover, your driver's license may be suspended if you commit petty theft. This suspension will not last more than six months for a first conviction. Also, if you are under 18, your driver's license may be suspended, or you may not be issued a license at all. This is used as an alternative to jail or probation for minors.
Theft offenses are treated more seriously if they are repeat offenses. Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year after a second theft conviction. If you have two or more petty theft convictions on your record, your third theft offense may be treated as a third-degree felony.A West Palm Beach Petty Theft Lawyer Can Help
Petty theft may seem like a minor offense, but the consequences can be increasingly harsh if you rack up more than one conviction. Moreover, any sort of theft offense can impact your employment options and ability to join particular professions in the future. I am an experienced Palm Beach Gardens criminal defense attorney who has 30 years of experience. Five of these years were spent in the prosecutor's office, so I know how prosecutors pursue these cases and thus can build the strongest possible defense to fight them. Clients can consult with me at two offices. One office is located in Palm Beach Gardens, near I-95 and PGA Boulevard, and the other office is located in West Palm Beach. Both offices accept credit cards. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling 561-533-1221, or contact me through my online form. I accept credit cards.