Theft charges in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, recovered about $279,000,000 while more than $1.3 billion in goods and property were stolen in the state in 2011. While theft always will come with a high price for those charged with it, the penalties for theft in the state of Florida vary greatly, depending on the type of theft committed and the total value of goods involved in the theft.
Types of Theft Charges in Florida
Under Florida law 812.014, theft occurs when a person knowingly obtains, uses, or attempts to obtain or use the property of another person, depriving them of use and benefit from the property. Both petty theft and grand theft are addressed under this definition.
In the state, there are three main types of theft. These include grand theft, which involves property valued at more than $300 and is classified as a felony in Florida.
Petit theft involves stolen property valued between $100 and $300 and is considered a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor. Shoplifting, or retail theft, refers to theft from a merchant or business and can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of goods taken.
The penalty for each of these types of theft depends on the total value of stolen property involved, whether petty theft or grand theft in Miami Beach.
Punishments for Theft Charges in Florida
An individual who commits petit theft for the first time will incur a second-degree misdemeanor charge; if the perpetrator previously was convicted of petit theft, he or she will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Those convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor will face up to 60 days in jail time and a maximum fine of $500. For a first-degree misdemeanor, these will increase to a maximum one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
If grand theft has been committed, the individual will face a felony charge. If the value of the property stolen was between $300 and $20,000, this will be considered a third-degree felony, resulting in up to five years in jail.
Property valued between $20,000 and $100,000 will result in a second-degree felony charge and come with a maximum 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, if the stolen property values more than $100,000, the individual will face a first-degree felony charge and the possibility of up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine. Auto theft is always considered grand theft, carrying with it a first-degree felony charge.
Individuals convicted of shoplifting will face petit theft charges if the property is valued at less than $300 or grand theft charges if it is more than that amount.
A Lawyer Can Help with Theft Charges in Florida
Anyone charged with shoplifting or theft should contact a local attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense.
Common defense strategies in theft cases include:
- the property owner consented;
- the charged individual was intoxicated involuntarily;
- the individual believed he or she owned or had a right to possess the property in question, also known as good faith possession;
- the individual was the co-owner of the stolen property; and
- the property has no value on the current market.
A lawyer can assist in gathering evidence, negotiating settlements and representing charged individuals in court. To learn more about Florida theft laws and punishments, call (877) 663-5110 to speak to an attorney at the Falk & Ross Law Firm in Miami Beach today about theft charges in Florida.