If charged with petit theft in Florida, you need an experienced defense lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Smith & Eulo can help you fight the charges and protect your rights.
Petit theft is a misdemeanor offense in Florida, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, you could face enhanced penalties if you have a prior conviction for petit theft or any other crime.
Smith & Eulo’s expert Fort Lauderdale Petit theft defense lawyer will assist you in navigating the criminal court system and fighting for the best possible resolution in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What is petit theft in Florida?
As a misdemeanor offense in Florida, petit theft is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Petit theft occurs when someone unlawfully takes or uses another person’s property without their permission and intends to permanently deprive them of the use or benefit of that property.
For example, petit theft could occur if someone took a pair of sunglasses from a store without paying for them or if they stole a neighbor’s lawnmower.
What are the penalties for a petit theft conviction in Fort Lauderdale?
There are two degrees of severity for a petit theft charge in Florida — first-degree and second-degree petit theft. The penalties for petit theft in Florida depend on the value of the property stolen and the offender’s prior criminal history.
First-degree petit theft applies when:
- The property stolen was worth more than $100 but less than $300.
- The defendant has been convicted of theft-related offenses before.
In this case, the maximum penalties for a first-degree petit theft conviction include:
- Up to one year of jail time
- Up to one year of probation
- One year of mandatory driver’s license suspension
- Up to a $1000 fine
Meanwhile, second-degree petit theft applies when:
- The stolen property value is less than $100.
- The defense has no prior petit theft or any other criminal conviction.
The maximum penalties for second-degree petit theft can include:
- Up to six months of jail time
- Up to a $500 fine
- Up to six months of probation
- Mandatory suspension of driver’s license for six months
Since petit theft is deemed a “crime of dishonesty,” your conviction will become grounds to deny certain education and employment opportunities.
What are the possible legal defenses against a petit theft charge?
Fortunately, your lawyer can raise several possible legal defenses in a petit theft charge case. Some of the most common include:
- The property was stolen by mistake.
- The property was taken with the owner’s consent.
- The offender had a good faith belief that they were entitled to the property.
- The prosecution overestimated the value of the property.
We could also look to see if one of the following conditions may apply:
- Customer mistakenly leaving the store
- Mistaken identity
- A previous customer changed price tags
- The defendant forgot about the item placed in their bag or stroller
- Poor video quality causes a factual dispute about the defendant’s identity
How can a Fort Lauderdale petit theft defense lawyer help?
If you’ve been charged with petit theft in Florida, you should speak with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys as soon as possible. A lawyer can go through the details of your case with you and advise you on your legal alternatives. They may also assist you in navigating the criminal justice system and obtaining the best possible result in your case.
For example, if the prosecution overstated the worth of the stolen item, a lawyer may be able to lessen or eliminate the charges. Alternatively, if there is proof that you did not act to deprive the owner of the property permanently, a lawyer might argue for a lesser sentence.
Contact a Smith & Eulo petit theft defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale today for a free consultation
Being charged with theft is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly and requires a strong Petit theft Defense in Fort Lauderdale.
At Smith & Eulo Law Firm, our skilled attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of theft cases, including petit theft. We will thoroughly investigate your case and build a strong defense on your behalf.
Call us today at (754) 332-0513 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers.
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