Officers arrested a defendant for a first degree misdemeanor petit theft. Florida law considers the crime of petit theft as the willful taking of another’s property with the intention of either permanently or temporarily depriving that individual of that property. In order for the crime to be considered petit theft, the value of the stolen item must be less than $300.
Petit Theft Penalties in Florida
As petit theft is a misdemeanor, a person could receive up to sixty days in jail. A second offense will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor with up to one year in jail. The driver’s license will also be suspended for a period of one year.
As petit theft is a crime of dishonesty, it will be placed on the offender’s criminal record. This could affect future jobs, as well as finding places to rent. Financial aid and other types of loans may also be hard to come by with a criminal record.
Petit Theft Defenses
There are many different defenses that can be used by those that have been charged with petit theft. These include:
- Mistaken accusations
- Mistaken identity
- Momentary deprivation of property
- Individual leaving a store forgetting to pay
- Taking an item for a purpose rather than stealing it
- False accusations by loss prevention officers
- Being set-up by co-defendants
- Customer forgetting they have placed an item in a stroller
- Poor quality of video so it is hard to tell who is actually stealing
- Items are not found in possession of the person who supposedly stole it
- Exiting the store with no intention to steal the item (retrieving purse or wallet out of the vehicle)
- Price tags were removed or altered by a previous customer
Most stores have a Zero-tolerance rule or policy. This policy demands that anyone caught shoplifting is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Stores that follow this policy include Target, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, Staples, Best Buy, Macy’s, Dillards, Nordstrom, Circuit City, and many more.
If you have been charged with petit theft, you need a lawyer that will fight for you. Call Musca Law Firm to represent you in court. We have a team of skilled lawyers with over 150 years of combined experience. Our law firm will help you complete all necessary paperwork. We can also see if you qualify for diversion programs. If you do qualify for a diversion program, once it has been completed, we can assist you in expunging or sealing your record.
We will fight tooth and nail for you and have many defenses and tactic that have helped us win a number of our cases. Many of our clients walk away with a reduced charge or they have the charges completely dropped. Call us today for a free consultation.
RESULT: The defense noticed the client’s petit theft case for trial. The defense prevailed with a no formal finding of guilt ruling, resulting in NO CONVICTION!