Petit theft, or "petty" theft, is considered a misdemeanor offense in Florida. The degree of the misdemeanor depends upon not only the value of the property but upon whether the accused has prior convictions for any theft-related crime.
For a first-time offender, petit theft is a second-degree misdemeanor if the property allegedly stolen is valued at up to $100. For property valued at over $100 but under $300, the crime will be a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties can be surprisingly harsh for this misdemeanor offense. It is always a wise idea to have the best theft defense lawyer you can possibly retain when dealing with any sort of accusation.
Penalties are dependent upon the amount that was taken. Below we have listed the common penalties associated with first and second-degree misdemeanors in Florida. A judge has the possibility of imposing one or all of the penalties listed under each type of petty theft.
In addition to this, if a judge finds you to be guilty of the charges, you could have your driver's license suspended for six months after a first time conviction, or up to one year after a subsequent conviction.
There are four common defenses that can be utilized in petit theft cases, and with the right defense lawyer you could have a chance at reducing or dismissing your charges altogether. First, there is the principal of equal ownership. If a person co-owns an item, one of the co-owners cannot be charged with petit theft for taking it. The only loophole to this defense is if the other owner had more invested into the property and had greater legal ownership. The second defense relates to good faith and involves showing that the individual in question had no intent to steal. They strongly believed that the property was theirs to take or thought they had permission to have it.
Another item to consider is the value of the property itself. If the piece that was taken had no real value to it, the person cannot be accused of stealing what is essentially considered to be trash. A South Florida theft crimes lawyer could show that the item has no intrinsic value or that it was left as valueless to be taken by another individual. In some cases, it is possible to show that the person had a change of heart when attempting to commit petty theft. This is called voluntary abandonment, as they abort the criminal action before it has been completed, due to their own conscience. With the proper legal defender, they can investigate the details of your case and look to find appropriate evidence to protect you against your charges.
Reliable South Florida theft crime attorney, Eric Matheny, has spent years as a former prosecutor. Not only has this given him an unprecedented amount of legal knowledge, but it has given him a distinct advantage in and out of the courtroom. He is able to more easily identify the tactics the prosecution may try to use against you and prepare assertive arguments on your behalf.
Past clients, as well as his colleagues, have voted him as a 2012 Client's Choice for Criminal Defense on the prestigious legal website, Avvo. There is no case too complicated for him and his legal team to handle with an extraordinary level of dedication and determination.
Fighting to protect your rights, our South Florida petit theft attorney is available 24/7 as he knows that arrests can happen at any time of day or night. Be sure to contact us today at (888) 900-0365 to speak with us about your case! Payment plans offered.
With an insider’s perspective on how the justice system works, our lawyer case assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case which gives him the ability to make wise, informed decisions on how to proceed, no matter what you are facing. Attorney Matheny has handled over 50 jury and non-jury trials and proudly serves the accused and arrested in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.Learn More about His Experience