Theft Crimes and Shoplifting

There are various levels of theft crimes.  What is taken and how dictate the level or crime that can be charged.  Typically the higher in value the item(s) taken, the more severe the crime.  The manner by which the item(s) is taken (by breaking in or by force) will also affect the level of the crime.

Loss prevention officers have become quite prevalent over the past few years and so has the technology for detecting theft.  Even with the video and testimony of the loss prevention officer, it may still be possible to get your case dismissed.  Call us today to find out more.

Petit Theft (a.k.a. Petty Theft) or Shoplifting

Probably the most common form of theft in our society is shoplifting or petit theft.  This is where the item taken is not of significant value.  If the item taken is worth less than $100, then it is only a second degree misdemeanor.  If it is worth $100 or more but less than $300, it is a first degree misdemeanor.  Additionally, if you ever have a prior conviction for any theft charge and are charged with petit theft 2nd degree, it automatically gets upgraded to a 1st degree misdemeanor because of that prior.

Another not-so-well-known possible consequence of being charged of a petit theft is that the court must suspend your driving privileges if you are convicted.  If it is your first conviction, for a period of up to 6 months.  If it is your second or subsequent, it must be for a period of 1 year.  Before entering a plea to a petty theft charge, know whether or not the adjudication is going to be withheld.  If it is not, that means you are going to adjudged guilty (or convicted), which will require your driver’s license to be suspended.

Petit Theft (a.k.a. Petty Theft) or Shoplifting Less Than $100.00

Crime Level: 2nd degree misdemeanor

Most likely outcome*: A fine, an impulse control course and court costs – perhaps a little probation.  Warning: be careful not to take a straight up fine offer if it includes an adjudication of guilt (in other words, being “convicted” of the crime).  Being convicted means you can never have it sealed or expunged off your record and will require your driver’s license be suspended.

Maximum Penalties: 60 days in jail; $500 fine.

Collateral Consequences: Stigma of being arrested for a crime of dishonesty, Mandatory Driver’s License Suspension if convicted (6 months for first conviction, 1 year for second or subsequent conviction).  Civil demand letter asking for a settlement payment to a civil law firm.

Possible Diversion: Yes, with victim approval.  No if you stole from your employer.

Defenses: Mistake (no intent), Entrapment, Necessity

Related Offenses: Grand Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion Robbery

* For Orange County, Florida, assuming no priors or aggravators.  Actual outcomes vary from case to case and this most likely outcome estimate should not be relied upon as definite.

Petit Theft (a.k.a. Petty Theft) or Shoplifting More than $100.00 But Less Than $300.00

Crime Level: 1st degree misdemeanor

Most likely outcome*: A fine, an impulse control course and court costs – perhaps a little probation.  Warning: be careful not to take a straight up fine offer if it includes an adjudication of guilt (in other words, being “convicted” of the crime).  Being convicted means you can never have it sealed or expunged off your record and will require your driver’s license be suspended.

Maximum Penalties: 1 year in county jail or probation; $1,000 fine.

Collateral Consequences: Stigma of being arrested for a crime of dishonesty, Mandatory Driver’s License Suspension if convicted (6 months for first conviction, 1 year for second or subsequent conviction).  Civil demand letter asking for a settlement payment to a civil law firm.

Possible Diversion: Yes, with victim approval.  No, if you stole from your employer.

Defenses: Mistake (no intent), Entrapment, Necessity

Related Offenses: Grand Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion Robbery

* For Orange County, Florida, assuming no priors or aggravators.  Actual outcomes vary from case to case and this most likely outcome estimate should not be relied upon as definite.

Grand Theft Third Degree

Usually, the only thing that makes a theft a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor, is the when the value of the stolen property is $300 or more.  It does not matter whether or not you knew what the value of the property was so long as the prosecutor can prove it.  If the value is proven to be $300 or more but less than $20,000, it is Grand Theft 3rd Degree.  Other ways of getting charged with Grand Theft Third Degree are if the stolen property is: a motor vehicle, will, a firearm, a stop sign, a fire extinguisher, any commercially farmed animal, any controlled substance.

Crime Level: 3rd degree felony

Most likely outcome*: Felony probation, community service hours, no return to the place of the theft, an impulse control course, court costs, costs of prosecution.

Maximum Penalties: 5 years in state prison or probation; $5,000 fine.

Collateral Consequences: Stigma of being arrested for a crime of dishonesty.  Civil demand letter asking for a settlement payment to a civil law firm.

Possible Diversion: Yes, with victim approval.  No, if you stole from your employer.

Defenses: Mistake (no intent), Entrapment, Necessity.

Related Offenses: Petit Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion Robbery

* For Orange County, Florida, assuming no priors or aggravators.  Actual outcomes vary from case to case and this most likely outcome estimate should not be relied upon as definite.

Grand Theft Second Degree

It is Grand Theft 2nd Degree if the value of the property is valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000.  There are other ways to get charged with Grand Theft Second Degree as well – such as stealing law enforcement property, stealing emergency medical equipment, or stealing cargo engaged in intra or interstate commerce – but these are rare.

Crime Level: 2nd degree felony

Most likely outcome*: Felony conviction, probation followed by some jail, community service hours, no return to the place of the theft, an impulse control course, court costs, costs of prosecution.

Maximum Penalties: 15 years in state prison or probation; $10,000 fine.

Collateral Consequences: Stigma of being arrested for a crime of dishonesty.  Civil demand letter asking for a settlement payment to a civil law firm.

Possible Diversion: No.

Defenses: Mistake (no intent), Entrapment, Necessity.

Related Offenses: Petit Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion Robbery

* For Orange County, Florida, assuming no priors or aggravators.  Actual outcomes vary from case to case and this most likely outcome estimate should not be relied upon as definite.

Grand Theft First Degree

Perhaps the rarest form of theft is that of the first degree.  This is where the value of the property stolen is $100,000 or more.  You can also be charged with Grand Theft 1st degree if, during the course of any grand theft, you use a motor vehicle or cause damage to property in excess of $1,000.

Crime Level: 1st degree felony

Most likely outcome*: Felony conviction, probation followed by some jail or prison, community service hours, no return to the place of the theft, an impulse control course, court costs, costs of prosecution.

Maximum Penalties: 30 years in state prison or probation; $10,000 fine.

Collateral Consequences: Stigma of being arrested for a crime of dishonesty.  Civil demand letter asking for a settlement payment to a civil law firm.

Possible Diversion: No.

Defenses: Mistake (no intent), Entrapment, Necessity.

Related Offenses: Petit Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion Robbery

* For Orange County, Florida, assuming no priors or aggravators.  Actual outcomes vary from case to case and this most likely outcome estimate should not be relied upon as definite.

Offering Free Consultations

For strong advocacy and protection of your rights, hire an Orlando theft crimes attorneys at the earliest possible stage. Call The Fighter Law Firm, P.A. at 407-574-7576 or send us an e-mail, and we will respond shortly.