Taking an item without someone’s permission may not seem like a serious offense, especially if you assume the item’s monetary value is not worth a lot. However, even taking a small item from someone else or a business can result in harsh punishment.
The first part of Florida statute §812.014 defines theft as someone who, “knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently.” The law further states that how the offense occurred and the value of the stolen property will ultimately determine the type of punishment someone convicted of theft could face.
Petty theft is when an item with a monetary value of $299 or less is stolen. If convicted, this type of theft is usually considered a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor does not have as severe of a punishment as a felony, the person convicted of a misdemeanor will most likely still face consequences such as jail time and fines.
If someone is convicted of stealing an item with a monetary value of $99 or less, that person could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. In Florida, a second-degree misdemeanor results in a fine of up to $500 and a maximum jail sentence of 60 days.
If the monetary value of a stolen item is $100-$299, then the convicted individual will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Florida punishes those convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
Grand theft is a much more serious type of theft charge. Florida law enforcement will charge someone with grand theft if they are accused of stealing an item with a monetary value of $300 or more. This is much lower than the national average which is $1,000.
There are three classifications of grand theft recognized in Florida:
- Third-Degree Felony — if someone is convicted of taking an item or items with a total value between $300-$20,000, then they will face punishments for a third-degree felony. This means the convicted individual will pay a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.
- Second-Degree Felony — an individual can be convicted of a second-degree felony if they take an item or items with a monetary value between $20,000-$100,000. A second-degree felony comes with the punishment of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony — being convicted of theft as a first-degree felony is the most severe punishment an individual can face for this type of crime. Law enforcement can charge someone with this classification if the item or items stolen exceeds more than $100,000. The punishment for a first-degree felony is a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison.
Other Types of Theft
While the two categories of theft listed above are the most common, there are other types of theft.
If someone keeps lost property they could be charged with theft. For example, if an individual sees someone accidentally leave their purse at a store and takes that purse before its owner comes back, then an individual who took the purse would be charged with theft involving lost property. It’s not necessarily the individual’s responsibility to return the purse to its original owner; however, it is illegal to take the purse knowing the original owner left it there by accident.
Someone who receives stolen property may try to claim they didn’t know the property was stolen, which may be completely true. However, it is the job of law enforcement to figure out if the suspect truly knew the property was stolen when they accepted it.
I Was Charged With Theft — Now What?
Facing any type of theft charge can be frightening. That’s why you need an experienced criminal defense team by your side.
The attorneys at Magilligan Law are here for you, no matter the criminal defense charge you’re facing. Reach out to our team today for a free consultation so we can get working on your case.