Despite the name implying that the crime is small, a conviction for petit theft (commonly referred to as petty theft) in Florida can have major consequences for alleged offenders. In addition to possible incarceration and fines, theft is considered a “crime of dishonesty.”
A person with a petit theft conviction can experience several difficulties obtaining employment or housing because of this designation. Potential employers and landlords will not be overly concerned with how minuscule the value of the item allegedly stolen was. They will only view the alleged offenders as untrustworthy and use the criminal record as sufficient reason to deny applications.Petit Theft Lawyer in Broward County, FL
Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you arrested in South Florida for alleged petty theft? It is in your best interest to contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.
Evan A. Hoffman is a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who represents clients accused of theft crimes all over Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Margate, Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, and many surrounding areas. Call (954) 524-4474 today to have our lawyer review your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Petit Theft Information Center
- How does the value of the property allegedly stolen impact the classification of a petty theft offense?
- Can petit theft ever result in felony charges?
- Where can I learn more about petty theft offenses in Broward County?
Misdemeanor Petit Theft Penalties in Florida
Florida Statute § 812.014 classifies petit theft offenses as crimes involving allegedly stolen property valued at less than $300. Chapter 14.1 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions states that in order for an alleged offender to be convicted of a theft offense, the prosecution must prove the two following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The alleged offender knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or to use the property of the alleged victim; and
- The alleged offender did so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the alleged victim of his or her right to the property or any benefit from it, or appropriate the property of the alleged victim to the alleged offender’s own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.
The classification of a petit theft offense is dependent on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. The two grades of petit theft include:
- Property valued at less than $100 is petit theft of the second degree, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $500.
- Property valued at $100 or more but less than $300 is petit theft of the first degree, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Alleged offenders who have been previously convicted of theft offenses can face first-degree misdemeanor charges for petit theft offenses in which the value of the property that was allegedly stolen is less than $100.
Felony Charges for Petit Theft in Broward County
While petit theft is commonly a misdemeanor offense, the crime can be classified as third-degree felony in certain instances. Convictions for third-degree felony offenses are punishable by maximum sentences of five years in prison and/or maximum fines of $5,000.
Petit theft can become a third-degree felony offense if an alleged offender has been previously convicted two or more times for any theft offense. Petit theft is also the third-degree felony offense of grand theft of the third degree if the property stolen is any of the following—even if the value of the property would otherwise be classified as petit theft:
- A bee colony of a registered beekeeper;
- A firearm;
- A motor vehicle (except for vehicles elsewhere in the statute that trigger more serious penalties);
- A will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument;
- An aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility (which also involves a $10,000 fine);
- Anhydrous ammonia;
- Any amount of a controlled substance;
- Any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit;
- Any commercially farmed animal, including any animal of the equine, bovine, or swine class or other grazing animal;
- Any fire extinguisher;
- Any stop sign; or
- Property taken from a designated construction site identified by the posting of a sign as provided for in Florida Statute § 810.09(2)(d).
Florida Resources for Petit Theft Crimes
Fort Lauderdale Police Department | Theft/Lost Property Report — You can download a Theft/Lost Property Report form on this website if you have been the victim of petite theft. After a report has been submitted, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department will contact you and attempt to retrieve your property and bring the offender to justice. Any appropriate serial number or make or model numbers of stolen (or lost) property will be entered into the national and state database for recovery purposes.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department
1300 W. Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Chapter 14 | Florida Standard Jury Instructions — Visit this website to see the specific instructions that can be used for theft offenses in Florida criminal cases. Learn more about inferences, lesser included offenses, and other important definitions. It is important to understand that jury instructions are rarely used verbatim, as they must frequently be customized for the unique aspects of an alleged offender’s particular case.
If you have been arrested or you think you could be under investigation for an alleged petty theft offense in South Florida, you will want to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm can help you explore all of your legal options.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman defends clients in Sunrise, Davie, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines, and other nearby communities in Broward County. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.