What Are the Consequences of Petit Theft in Florida?



Any criminal violation can negatively impact your life, including petit theft. People convicted of petit theft may find it difficult to find employment with this crime on their record—few employers want to hire people who may steal from them. However, a petit theft conviction doesn’t just hurt someone’s chance of employment; it may also result in jail time, probation, and a hefty fine. Working with a defense attorney with experience handling allegations of petit theft can provide you with a serious advantage and prevent this crime from permanently impacting your life.

Florida’s Definition of Petit Theft

Florida statute section 812.014 defines petit theft as:

“a person that commits theft they knowingly obtain or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently.”

The following two elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to prove petit theft during a trial:

  • The defendant unlawfully and knowingly used or obtained or endeavored to obtain or use the property of the alleged victim.
  • The defendant committed the act with intent (either permanently or temporarily) to deprive the victim of their right to property or any benefits from it or appropriate the victim’s property to the defendant’s own use or the use of any person not entitled to it.

Florida requires finding specific criminal intent, meaning the state must show that an intentional theft took place and that the defendant carried out their actions specifically intending to steal and deprive the owner of their property.

Penalties for Petit Theft

Florida penalties for petit theft will vary according to the value of the property stolen and the theft record of the accused. However, the general penalties for petit theft include:

First Degree Petit Theft

First-degree petit theft consists of a property value of more than $100 but less than $750. The penalties are typically up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. Petit theft is also classified as a first-degree misdemeanor if the accused has previously been convicted of any theft crime.

Second Degree Petit Theft

Petit theft is considered a second-degree misdemeanor when the property value is less than $100. The penalties consist of up to 60 days in jail or six months probation and a $500 fine.

Felony Petit Theft

A person can be charged with felony petit theft (third-degree felony) if the accused has been convicted of two or more theft offenses. The penalties include up to five years in prison or five years of probation.

In addition to the penalties above, a person may also suffer license suspension consequences. Generally, a person convicted of petit theft may have their license suspended for six months for a first adjudication and up to one year for a second adjudication. Furthermore, petit theft is classified as a “crime of dishonesty,” and conviction is likely to create a permanent criminal record that may make it difficult to find employment, obtain professional licenses, and influence college acceptance.

Work With Our Board-Certified Petit Theft Defense Attorney at Fighter Law

Working with the right Orland petit theft defense attorney is critical to avoiding or minimizing the harsh consequences of petit theft charges. Fighter Law is determined to help people get the second chance they deserve. We know that people make mistakes that can influence the rest of their lives. Our goal is to help people find the defenses they need to keep mistakes from becoming permanent.

Schedule a consultation today by calling (407) 344-4837 or filling out our contact form. We also speak Spanish.

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