It is a second-degree misdemeanor if you take the property of another valued at less than $100. A second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a $500 fine.
It is a first-degree misdemeanor if you take the property of another valued at more than $100 but less than $300. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail, 1 year of probation, and a $1000 fine.
It is also a first-degree misdemeanor if you have a prior conviction for petit theft. So even if it is alleged that you stole $50 in property, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you have a prior conviction for petit theft.
Petit theft can lead to a physical arrest or a promise to appear (PTA), depending on the circumstances. But make no mistake about it: a PTA is still considered an arrest.
Penalties range from Pretrial Diversion (PTD) all the way up to jail.
If you have no prior record, you may be able to enroll in PTD. Conditions of PTD for petit theft cases are usually anti-theft or values courses, community service hours, and restitution, if the alleged victim claims that his or her property was either not returned or was damaged.
I am a criminal defense lawyer who practices in Miami and Broward. If you have been arrested for petit theft, call me to discuss your case.