Grand Theft vs. Petit Theft: How the Florida Courts Look at Theft Crimes

Florida laws impose a variety of stiff punishments for those who are convicted of theft, ranging from monetary fines, to jail time, and other consequences. The level of punishment is dependent upon the nature of the charges. This includes whether the crime qualifies as petit theft or grand theft, and whether the suspect has a record of previous conviction(s) for similar crimes.

Petit theft is considered a misdemeanor offense, while grand theft is a felony offense. This has a considerable impact on the severity of penalties involved with a conviction.

What is petit theft?

Petit theft – often referred to as “petty theft” – is a legal term that refers to cases where the value of the alleged stolen property is less than $300. It is known as first-degree petit theft if value of property is $100 to $299 and is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. If property is valued less than $100, it is considered second-degree petit theft.

What is grand theft?

Grand theft is classified into varying degrees (i.e. first, second, third). As the value of the stolen property rises, the level of the felony charge rises correspondingly.

Cases involving $300 or more in alleged stolen property will qualify as grand theft. Charges will, however, depend on other circumstances (such as how, when, and what was taken).

The Consequences of Conviction for Petit Theft

A conviction for petit theft in the state of Florida may carry the following penalties

  • jail time – as much as one year in jail for a first-degree offense and as much as 60 days in jail for a second-degree offense;
  • fines – $1,000 for a first-degree offense or up to $500 for a second-degree offense; and
  • suspension of driver’s license – loss of license for six months to one year.

The penalties become more severe if the accused has a criminal record that includes previous convictions of theft.

The Consequences of Conviction for Grand Theft

A conviction for grand theft in the state of Florida may carry the following penalties: 

  • Jail time – Up to 30 years in prison for first-degree charges; up to 15 years in prison for second-degree charges; and up to five years in prison for third-degree charges.
  • Fines – Up to $10,000 for first- or second-degree charges and up to $5,000 for third-degree charges.

Charges can intensify in theft cases that involve stolen emergency medical equipment or police equipment, as well as other factors, such as the involvement of weapons or vehicles.

If you are facing petit theft or grand theft charges, contact a defense attorney who has experience trying theft cases. Call 877-663-5110.