Petit Theft, sometimes referred to as Petty Theft or Larceny, is the act of taking, attempting to take or using another person’s property valued at less than $300 without the consent of the owner, and with the intent to deprive the owner of a right to or benefit from the property.Definition of Petit Theft in Florida
The crime of Petit Theft, as defined by § 812.014, is knowingly taking, using, or attempting to take something valued at less than $300 without the consent of the owner, and with the intention of depriving the owner of a right or benefit in the property.
The State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime of Petit Theft by establishing that both of the following elements of the crime occurred:
Penalties for Petit Theft in Florida
(1) The defendant knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully took or used the property of another person.
This means the State of Florida must prove that the defendant willfully intended to take the property and knew the property belonged to another person.
(2) The defendant ‘s intention was to either temporarily or permanently (a) deprive the other person of the right to their property or to the benefit of their property; or (b) take the other person’s property for defendant’s own use or the use of anyone not entitled to the use of the property.
This means the State of Florida must prove the defendant intended to deprive the victim of the use of their rights to the property
Petit Theft of the First Degree
If the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, or if you have a previous conviction for petit theft, the crime is considered Petit Theft of the First Degree, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
Petit Theft of the Second Degree
If the value of the property taken is worth less than $100, the crime is considered Petit Theft of the Second Degree, a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
In addition, if adjudicated guilty of Petit Theft, your driver’s license can be suspended for six months of for a first conviction, and one year for each subsequent conviction.Defenses to Petit Theft in Florida
- Owner or co-owner of the property taken
- Mistaken identity or false accusation
- The property was borrowed with the owner’s permission and without any intention to deprive the owner of the property but exceptional circumstances prevented a timely return of the property to the owner
- The property taken was only taken for a very short period of time, such as only a few seconds, and immediately returned, voluntarily abandoning any attempt to take or remove the item
- Mistakenly leaving store without paying, such as forgetting about an item placed underneath the shopping cart or in a stroller
- Exiting a store without any intention to steal, such as going to your car to retrieve a purse, wallet, or credit card in order to pay
- The property was abandoned
- The property has no value, such as items left on the curb with the trash
- Intentionally leaving a store without paying for all merchandise obtained in the store
- Removing any item from another person’s home or car without the owner’s permission
- Taking fruit, vegetables, cookies or any other item for sale at an outdoor stand or flea market and leaving without paying
- Intentionally refusing to return books and other materials borrowed from a school or library after they are due to be returned
- Theft or shoplifting of item(s) from a retailer with a total value of less than $300.
If you have been charged with the crime of Petit Theft in Broward, Palm Beach, or Miami-Dade County, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., can help you better understand your situation and your options. Contact us today for your free consultation.