Petit theft is a
offense in the State of Florida. It is basically shoplifting, or retail
theft. However, the taking of any property is considered theft. What makes
this "petit" (pronounced
is the value of the property.
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,
to discuss your case.