Nobody ever imagines that they’ll be arrested for theft. Oftentimes, it comes out of nowhere.
One minute, you’re living your life. The next minute, police are putting you in handcuffs and then interrogating you. At the same time, you’re wondering if you’re going to go to jail.
The choices you make at this point will change the course of your life.
If you or a loved one is charged with theft, you need a criminal defense lawyer. And not just any lawyer. You need an experienced and passionate theft lawyer who can give you the aggressive defense you need.
That’s why we’re here. Our firm will work with you to stand up for your rights.
What Is Theft in Florida?
Florida’s law states that a person commits theft when they “knowingly obtain or use” the property of someone else. The person must also intend to:
- Deprive the other person of the right to use the property or benefit from the property; and
- Appropriate the property for their own use or for someone else who does not own the property.
But that’s just the basic definition of theft. In Florida, there are multiple categories of theft. People also tend to use a lot of different words and phrases to talk about theft.
Some examples include larceny, petty theft, shoplifting, and grand theft. Some of these crimes count as misdemeanor offenses and others as felonies.
All of this can be pretty confusing. That’s why you need a good shoplifting lawyer to walk you through the law and how it applies to your case.
Types of Theft Crimes
There are two categories of theft under Florida law. For each category, there are different “degrees” that determine how harsh the penalties are if a person is found guilty.
Petit theft is the name of the less severe category of theft. The word “petit” comes from the French word “petite” which means “small.” There are two degrees for petit theft: first-degree and second-degree.
Second degree petit theft
Second-degree petit theft—also called “petty theft”—is the least severe form of theft in the state of Florida.
The state can charge a person with petty theft if the value of the stolen property is under $100.
First degree petit theft
As you might imagine, first-degree petit theft is more serious than second-degree petit theft.
A person can be charged with first-degree petit theft if the value of the stolen property is between $100 and $750.
First-degree petit theft is a first-degree misdemeanor. That means it carries a maximum jail term of one year and a maximum criminal penalty of $1,000.
Grand theft is a more serious category of theft in Florida. It has three degrees.
Grand theft in the third degree
Third-degree grand theft occurs if the stolen property is worth between $750 and $20,000, stealing certain items—such as illegal drugs, cars, firearms, or wills— also qualifies as third-degree grand theft.
The punishment for third-degree grand theft involves a combination of up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Grand theft in the second degree
Second-degree grand theft involves the theft of property that has a value of between $20,000 and $100,000 as well as emergency medical equipment that is worth more than $300.
The punishment for second-degree grand theft is any combination of up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Grand theft in the first degree
The most serious kind of theft in Florida is first-degree grand theft. First-degree grand theft occurs when the stolen property is worth more than $100,000.
The penalty for first-degree grand theft is any combination of up to 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000. Unlike the other types of theft, first-degree grand theft requires a minimum jail sentence of 21 months.
What is the Difference Between Larceny and Theft?
People often ask about the differences between theft and larceny. The two terms are closely related, and different states define them differently.
In Florida, larceny is just another word for theft. In fact, the old name for Florida’s theft charges was “petit larceny” and “grand larceny.”
Another common question is whether larceny is the same as robbery.
These two terms are different. Larceny means taking the property of someone else using non-violent means like fraud and trickery. Robbery, on the other hand, involves the taking of property and the threat of or use of force, violence, and assault.
Is Shoplifting Larceny?
Yes. Florida’s statutes do not define “shoplifting.” Instead, a shoplifter would be guilty of first-degree or second-degree petit larceny/theft, based on the value of the stolen goods.
Many people forget that alleged theft offenders have to deal with more than just criminal charges. Theft victims can sue the alleged offender in civil court for up to three times the actual damages of the theft and are entitled to damages of at least $200.
The law also states that the theft victim can recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs. That means that you could be paying for the theft victim’s attorney!
Do I Need a Shoplifting Lawyer?
The answer to this question is obvious: YES! If you’ve been charged with a theft crime in Florida, you need to know what you’re up against.
As you read this sentence, the prosecution team is building their case against you. They are collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and doing everything they can to convict you.
Remember that they have years of experience putting people away. Their job is to get convictions. They will not try to help you or stop for one second to give you the benefit of the doubt.
And don’t forget what’s at stake here. A criminal conviction for theft will turn your life upside down. You’ll probably pay heavy fines. You may even end up in jail.
Even if you don’t do jail time, this conviction will be on your record forever. Getting employment will be harder. Getting accepted into college will be harder. You may even lose child custody rights.
Going without an attorney is gambling with your future. Don’t do it.
By hiring the right larceny lawyer, you can give yourself a fighting chance and get your life back on track.
Contact a Florida Theft Defense Lawyer Today
Not all theft lawyers are created equal. Some attorneys won’t have the right experience for your case. Others will treat you as a number rather than as a human being. Sometimes, they might just not be the right fit for you.
The shoplifting lawyer you choose needs to be someone you can talk to, trust completely, and feel safe around.
We’ll make sure you understand your rights and the legal process. We’ll also fight tooth and nail to give you the best shot at success.