Orlando Petit Theft Attorney
Petite or petty theft refers to theft that by law is relatively small when compared to other types of theft. Florida Statute §812.014 defines petite theft as the theft of property that is valued at less than $300 and would not be considered grand theft. For example, an individual may steal a firearm, stop sign, a commercial farm animal or even a specific amount of fruit which would be valued at less than $300, however these and certain other property constitute grand theft. Although the crime may not seem particularly severe, it is vital for anyone accused of petite theft to speak with a skilled Orlando theft defense lawyer right away.
In order for an individual to be found guilty of petite theft, prosecutors must prove certain elements of the crime. The state has the burden of proving that you took property from someone else with the intent to:
- Deprive the individual of his/her rights to the property or benefit of the property, or;
- Appropriate the property for your own personal use or for the use of another individual not entitled to the use of the property.
Whether you are charged with first or second degree petit theft will be determined by the value of the property. First degree petty theft involves the theft of property valued at more than $100, but less than $300. Second degree petty theft involves the theft of property valued at less than $100.Defenses to Charges of Petite Theft in Florida
Defenses that have proven to be effective in defending against the crime of petit theft include:
- Good faith possession - It must be proven under Florida law that property was taken with the intent to steal. If an individual takes possession of property with good faith belief that he/she has a right to the property, the element of intent to commit theft is lacking.
- Valueless property - Property must have a value, however trash cannot be stolen because it has no value. For example, if a sofa or refrigerator is placed by the road for any reason, it becomes trash. The theft of those items will not be considered petite theft, per se, because it presumably has no value.
- Equal ownership - Unless a co-owner making a complaint has a superior legal interest in property owned by both parties, one co-owner cannot be found guilty of petit theft for taking that property.
- Voluntary abandonment - if a defendant abandons an attempt to commit petty theft and the circumstances indicate voluntary and complete cancellation of the criminal purpose, voluntary abandonment may be a viable defense.
The penalties a defendant will face if convicted of petit theft depend on whether the defendant is charged with first or second degree petty theft, and any prior theft conviction. Penalties include:
First degree petit theft - the theft of property valued at between $100 and $300 will result in penalties which include up to one year in jail, one year probation, and/or fines of up to $1,000. Those with a prior theft conviction will be charged with first degree petit theft, even if the value of the property is less than $100.
Second degree petit theft - a conviction for the theft of property valued at less than $100 will result in penalties which include up to six months in jail, six months of probation, and/or fines of up to $500.
It is also important to note that a conviction for petit theft may result in suspension of your driver's license for six months, or for one year for a second or subsequent conviction.Contact Adams & Luka Today
Even though petit theft may seem a less serious theft offense than others, the punishment is stiff and can affect your reputation, career, and other aspects of your life. At Adams & Luka, we will mount an aggressive defense and advise you of all of your options in order to secure positive results. Put your situation in capable hands by calling us now at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.