Petit Theft Attorney in Tampa, FL
Petit theft is not among the most serious crimes in Florida, but it can carry substantial penalties nonetheless, including jail time, probation and fines. Prosecutors do not go easy on defendants accused of this crime simply because it is a misdemeanor. You should not make any statements or decisions regarding your case before you have obtained experienced legal representation.
If you or a loved one are facing petit theft charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa petit theft criminal defense lawyer, today.
Petit Theft: Theft Generally in Tampa, FL
Generally speaking, Florida’s definition of theft includes obtaining or using another person’s property with the intent to deprive the person of it. It also includes obtaining or using another person’s property with the intent to appropriate it for your personal use or the use of a third person who is not entitled to it. Florida recognizes two broad types of theft, each defined by level of severity: grand and petit. Petit is the less severe and carries lighter penalties than grand theft.
Petit Theft: Levels and Penalties in Tampa, FL
Petit theft is divided into two levels of severity, first-degree petit theft and second-degree petit theft. First-degree petit theft is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. It includes the theft of anything valued at between $100 and $300, with one exception: Theft of property valued at between $100 and $300 from a dwelling is third-degree grand theft, a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Second-degree petit theft, meanwhile, is a catch-all category. It includes all theft of property valued at less than $100 as well as theft of low-worth items without a definite value that are not included in the state’s definition of grand theft or first-degree petit theft. This means it is second-degree petit theft to steal less than $100 worth of property or to steal low-worth, hard-to-value items other than wills and testamentary documents, fire extinguishers, automobiles, firearms, property from construction sites, large amounts of citrus fruit, stop signs, anhydrous ammonia, and controlled substances. Second-degree petit theft is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Any conviction for petit theft also carries the possibility of a driver’s license suspension. A judge may impose a six-month suspension for a first-time conviction for petit theft; for a second or subsequent conviction, a one-year suspension is mandatory.
Petit Theft: Gasoline Theft in Tampa, FL
Florida law contains a special clause dealing with gas-and-run theft. It is considered an act of second-degree petit theft to put gas in your car’s tank and drive away without paying. This is punishable by at most 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. But conviction will also lead to mandatory driver’s license suspension: six months for a first conviction and one year for a second or subsequent conviction.
Petit Theft: Enhanced Penalties in Tampa, FL
There are no mandatory minimum sentences for petit theft convictions, but there are enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. A petit theft committed by an offender with a prior conviction for any type of theft is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year and a fine of $1,000, even where the current conviction is for stealing less than $100. A petit theft committed by an offender with two or more convictions for any type of theft is treated as a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years in prison.