The petit theft criminal defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert would like to take the time to explain to you the ins and outs of Petit Theft, as defined by Florida law in section 812.014 of the Florida State Statutes.

To begin with, let’s define our terms. According to Florida law, s. 812.014: (1) A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property. (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. If accused, consult with a Ft Lauderdale petit theft lawyer today to begin building your defense.

Degrees of Theft

Within the scope of theft, there are various degrees of severity of the crime committed and thus the punishment prescribed by law. In Florida, the lowest level offense of theft is called “Petit Theft,” but more commonly known as “Petty Theft.” Petit theft deals with smaller values as the object of the theft, versus, say, the objects in question in a case of grand theft or grand larceny.

If the property stolen has a value of under $100, the offender will have committed petit theft of the second degree, a second-degree misdemeanor in the State of Florida. In Florida, according to s. 775.082 and s. 775.083, a second-degree misdemeanor conviction (a conviction someone accused of stealing property valued under $100 faces) means possible jail time of no more than 60 days or/and a fine of no more than $500.

If, however, the property stolen has a value of more than $100 but less than $300, the offender will have committed petit theft of the first degree, which is a first-degree misdemeanor in the State of Florida. In Florida, according to s. 775.082 and s. 775.083, first-degree misdemeanor convictions (a conviction someone accused of stealing property valued between $100 and $300 faces) means possible jail time of no more than 1 year in prison or/and a fine of no more than $1,000.

Aggravating Factors

Our Ft Lauderdale petit theft attorneys urge you to keep in mind that having prior theft convictions increases the likelihood of a harsher penalty as well as a more powerful prosecution and conviction. Additionally, Florida law, while it does have mandatory minimum sentencing, also has maximum sentencing limitations and there is a degree of discretion afforded to the individual prosecutors and judges in any given case, especially in cases of petit theft.

First offenders, with the help of experienced attorneys, will most likely qualify for a diversion program, which will result in the dismissal of their case. Because the process by which one is granted the right to participate in such a diversion program is an intricate one, it is absolutely necessary that you, if you are arrested for or charged with the crime of petit theft, retain an experienced criminal defense attorney like a lawyer at Leifert & Leifert to guide you through the process.

Hiring a Petit Theft Lawyer

The fact that our firm is composed of former Palm Beach and Broward County prosecutors means that we know the individuals who are prosecuting these cases, we know the judges who are overseeing these cases, and we know how they work. With Leifert & Leifert representing you, you will have both expert legal knowledge and valuable insider knowledge working to shield you from convictions.

If you have been arrested for or charged with the crime of Petit Theft in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, reach out to the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert and see how our Ft Lauderdale petit theft attorneys can help you.