Petit Theft in Florida (Definition, Penalties & Defense)

David Weisselberger | November 26, 2023

e-filing portal logo
national trial lawyers top 40 under 40 logo
bbb logo
florida bar logo
aba logo
shopper approved logo
lawpay logo

Petit theft, or petty theft, is the intentional appropriation of property valued at $750 or less without the owner's consent, defined by Florida Statute 812.014. This statute outlines the offense as deliberately depriving the owner of property for personal gain, obstructing its intended use. 

The unauthorized taking is a crucial element, with a $750 financial threshold. This legal framework applies to scenarios like shoplifting. Petit theft inflicts financial loss and violates the owner's property rights. 

Understanding these intricacies, as outlined in Florida Statute 812.014, is vital for legal proceedings, anticipating penalties, and devising effective defense strategies in Florida.

What Is Petit Theft in Florida?

what is petit theft in florida

Petit theft occurs when an individual intentionally deprives the rightful owner of property valued at $750 or less without their consent. The act of depriving involves taking or using the property for personal gain, depriving the owner of its use or benefit.

What Are the Elements of Petit Theft in Florida?

For a charge of petit theft to be substantiated, certain elements must be present:

  • Value of the Stolen Property: The property taken must have a value of $750 or less. If the value exceeds this threshold, the offense may be classified differently.
  • Intent to Deprive: The offender must intend to either permanently or temporarily strip the owner of their property.
  • Unauthorized Taking: The act must involve taking the property without the owner's consent.

What Are the Penalties for Petit Theft in Florida?

The penalties for petit theft in Florida are contingent on the value of the stolen property and the individual's criminal history.

Second Degree Misdemeanor

Petit theft is typically categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor when the stolen property's value is $750 or less. Potential consequences could involve a maximum of 60 days of incarceration and fines capped at $500.

First Degree Petit Theft

In cases where an individual has previously been convicted of theft, a subsequent offense may be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor. This could result in heightened penalties, with a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and fines not surpassing $1,000.

Felony Petit Theft

If the value of the stolen property falls within the range of $750 to $5,000, the offense could be classified as a felony petit theft. Felony petit theft is a third-degree felony, carrying more severe consequences, including up to 5 years in prison and fines not exceeding $5,000.

What Are the Defenses of Petit Theft in Florida?

defenses to petit theft in florida

Several defenses may be employed to challenge petit theft charges:

Lack of Intent

If the accused can demonstrate that there was no intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the property owner, this may serve as a defense.

Mistaken Identity

If there is reasonable doubt about the perpetrator's identity, a defense strategy may involve arguing mistaken identity.

Consent

If the owner gave consent for the accused to take the property, it could be a valid defense against petit theft charges.

Property Ownership Dispute

In cases where there is a genuine dispute over property ownership, it may be used as a defense.

How Erase The Case Can Help

Explore options for case expungement. Contact us for specialized assistance navigating legal complexities and finding a favorable resolution. We are committed to aid you expunge your cases and minimize the long-term impact. 

Don't let legal challenges linger – visit Erase the Case today to understand how we can assist you in expungement.

FAQ

How do I get a petty theft charge dropped in Florida?

Getting a petty theft charge dropped in Florida may involve legal strategies such as negotiating with the prosecution, presenting evidence that weakens the case against you, or proving a lack of intent. Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential to explore the best course of action for your specific situation.

What is the difference between petit theft and theft in Florida?

The primary distinction lies in the value of the stolen property. Petit theft involves property valued at $750 or less, while theft encompasses a broader range of values. The penalties and classification of the offense vary based on the value of the stolen property.

Can you go to jail in Florida for petty theft?

Individuals convicted of petit theft in Florida can face jail time, especially for repeat offenses or cases involving higher values of stolen property. The incarceration duration depends on the offense's classification, ranging from 60 days for a second-degree misdemeanor to up to 5 years for a third-degree felony.

Rate this page
CASE

Violent Crimes
Traffic Crimes
Theft & Fraud
Drug Drimes
NEED A LAWYER?
REQUEST A CONSULTATION
Contact Form (#blog)

David Weisselberger
Author | Founder
"David Weisselberger is the founder of Erase The Case. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Florida, & also his Juris Doctor from UM School of Law. Afterwards, He has been working as a former Miami-Dade County Assistant Public Defender. Also, as a solo lawyer and former associate at South Florida’s honored Saban & Solomon Law Firm. He has learned firsthand the effects people face from having a public criminal arrest record mark their lives. Therefore, David has always been working hard to help people get rid of haunting crimnal past and have a second chance in life"

Don't wait. Speak to an attorney today!

Please fill out the form below:
Contact Form

Trusted process. Proven results.

We have provided more expungements than any other law firm in the state of Florida, but don't just take our word for it.  
google reviews
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "My experience with this law firm was exceptional. After submitting the required documents, they took care of everything with ease, professionalism, and expediency. I was kept informed throughout the process. In only 3 months, all record of my case was erased from my background check. I used the "expunge now, pay later" option, which let me pay the fee over time with Affirm."
    Lee County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "I'm beyond happy right now, I contacted David about my case few months ago and right away he was able to help me , the whole process was very easy they kept me updated every step now my case is sealed.very professional I recommend this firm, if I can give more than 5 stars I would. "
    Miami-Dade County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "I would recommend anyone that has a background to use Erase the Case Services. David is a great lawyer answers all of your questions keeps you updated during the process. The staff there are excellent people very professional. The process doesn't even take long!"
    Broward County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "After having doubts about Erase the case the expungement law firm, David and his team gave me the piece of mind I've been searching for after successfully expunging my case... I 100% recommend Erase the case to anybody in need of help. Again, thanks David for everything."
    Orange County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "It was such a clear and straightforward experience all the way through, I'm grateful and thankful that I found their services! Companies like this give hope to those that have had hardships in life a chance to a better future. Erase the Case did an amazing job, they stand on behalf of those looking to change their lives for good! Thank you."
    Hillsborough County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "David is extremely professional and knowledgable in his craft. He and his team will ensure you receive excellent legal care and advice. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for representation that you can trust and at reasonable retainers. Do not hesitate to reach out. Thanks David"
    Palm Beach County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "Erase the case has been a pleasure to work with. Attorneys are respectful of your situation and provide realistic honest expectations. They are very responsive and there if you need to contact them. It's great to be able to speak directly with the attorney regarding any issue."
    Duval County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "Great communication and keeping me updated with the process. He handled everything so professionally and kept in the loop at all times. I highly recommend EraseTheCase! Thank you so much for your assistance with my case."
    Pinellas County
  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "David made the process simple and thoroughly explained everything. He made himself available to answer questions and was timely in responding to emails. He is very knowledgeable In this area and I would recommend him to anyone looking to complete this process."
    Polk County
Click to see more reviews.
google reviews logoshopper approved logo
phone-handsetcrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram