A man inside a resort saw a group of people leave their souvenir bags unattended. He allegedly took the bags into the restroom, decided not to tamper with the items, and left the resort. The goods were recovered and returned to their rightful owners, but the suspect had been caught on videotape. Officers arrested him on charges of petit theft.
Petit Theft in Florida
Petit theft in Florida is a misdemeanor offense in the second degree. However, a second offense will result in a first-degree misdemeanor. Petit theft is defined as the taking of someone else’s property in a willing and knowing manner where the value of the property is $300 or less. Petit theft can take place in a store but does not have to.
Penalties for petit theft include:
- Up to 6 months in jail with a first offense, and up to one year in jail with a second offense
- Criminal record
- License suspension for up to 6 months for a first offense and up to one year for a second offense
- 6 months of probation for a first offense and one-year probation for a second offense
- Fines up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1000 for a second offense
The prosecution must be able to prove the following within the case:
- The defendant willingly and knowingly took the property of the said victims
- The defendant did it with the intent to deprive the victim to the right of their property or to appropriate the property for the defendant’s own use or any other person that is not entitled to the property (this can be done in a permanent or temporary fashion).
- Good faith possession – if the individual believes they have a right to the property, it cannot be constituted as stealing
- Valueless property – If the defendant takes an item that someone left out on the curbside for trash, it is seen as valueless property. Therefore, the defendant cannot be charged with petit theft in such cases.
- Equal ownership – If the defendant is a co-owner of the property, and the other property owner does not have a superior legal interest, the defendant cannot be charged with petit theft.
Defenses Used For Petit Theft
There are many different defenses that can be used for petit theft. If none of these defenses fit your case, your attorney can put together a strong defense for your case. Some of the following defense are commonly used:
If you or a loved one have been charged with petit theft, Musca Law Firm would like to hear from you. We have a staff of attorneys that have over 150 years of combined experience. We offer strong and strategic defenses, and our lawyers know how to negotiate effectively with the prosecution. We strive to make every case favorable for our clients by either reducing or dismissing the charges they face.
We accept phone calls 24 hours per day and we serve the entire state of Florida. We have offices located in Naples, Daytona Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Clearwater and many other cities across the state. We provide a high level of personal service while aggressively fighting for your rights! Call us today at (888) 484-5057 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
RESULT: The defense successfully proved to the State that no crime actually took place and no charges against the client were filed!