Theft of any kind is considered serious in Florida. While most Petit Theft charges are misdemeanor offenses, penalties upon conviction can be severe. Conviction for a property crime, such as theft, can permanently limit someone’s future opportunities, as it is considered a crime of dishonesty and can be used to challenge your future credibility or trustworthiness. A theft-related conviction could ruin your professional reputation because many employers are not willing to hire someone who has a history of stealing. or doing anything dishonest.
Before trying to avoid a conviction on your own, contact an experienced theft attorney. A West Palm Beach petit theft lawyer will defend you in Court and will fight to get the charges Dismissed and help you avoid any possibility of any criminal conviction.
Petit Theft Defined
Theft crimes are mostly classified based on the value of the stolen property. Petty theft, legally known as, petit theft is a misdemeanor offense in Florida. Someone who allegedly steals property valued under $300 could face a petit theft charge. The higher the value of the involved property, the more serious the theft crime is.
Prosecutors must prove someone accused of petit theft did the following:
- They knowingly obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or to use, the property of another
- They did so with the intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or appropriate the property to their own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property
According to this law, prosecutors must show that the accused intended to steal the property, as opposed to simply borrowing it. A West Palm Beach petit theft lawyer can defend those accused to of this crime and possibly even get it Dismissed.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Theft
West Palm Beach petit theft law is taken seriously. Those charged with petit theft in West Palm Beach could face the following penalties upon conviction:
- Up to one-year in jail
- Up to one-year probation
- A maximum fine of $1,000
- Community Service
- Education Programs
These are the penalties someone could face for a petit theft conviction. Those charged a second or additional time in the future with petit theft would face enhanced penalties, including increased jail time and raising the actual offense to the felony charge of Grand Theft.
Defending West Palm Beach Petit Theft Charges
There are two main elements to a theft charge, the accused committed the crime knowingly and had the intent to either deprive or appropriate someone else’s property. For petit theft charges, in particular, a prosecutor must prove that the property was valued under $300. If prosecutors cannot prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, they cannot convict someone of petit theft. The charges should be dismissed or the accused should be found not guilty.
Role of an Attorney
An attorney can try to show that the defendant’s actions did not meet the elements of the crime. A West Palm Beach petit theft attorney can closely examine the facts of the case, and use that information to tailor their defense.
Importantly, a criminal defense attorney can make sure the accused’s rights are not violated during the criminal process and that they receive the least punishment if they cannot get the petit theft charges totally dismissed for you.
If you are facing a petit theft charge, or any theft-related criminal charge, call an attorney as soon as possible. West Palm Beach petit theft lawyers can defend you against these charges, attempt to find any way to get your charge dismissed, and work hard to help you avoid a conviction.