Are you facing petit theft charges? Any theft charge should be taken seriously, whether it was a minor mistake or an unfortunate misunderstanding of the law. You don’t want to navigate this complex legal process without qualified help. A Petit Theft Defense attorney in Tampa has the experience and knowledge to protect your rights before the court.

With so much at stake, an experienced lawyer can provide invaluable support throughout every step of your case, from developing strategies for jury selection to seeking maximum damage control on criminal record preservation. At Smith & Eulo, you can find a lawyer to guide you while putting your best interests first.

What is Petit Theft in Tampa, FL?

petty theft lawyer tampa flIn Florida, petit theft is when a person commits theft from another person or business where the property is valued at more than $100 but less than $750. Remember that theft doesn’t have to occur in a place of business.

The Elements of Petit Theft

For a person to be charged with petit theft, the court of law must establish and prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The accused knowingly obtains or endeavors to acquire the property of another, either temporarily or permanently.
  • The accused has deprived the other person of the right to own or benefit from the property.

Petit theft is considered a misdemeanor. However, it can become a felony, depending on the circumstances. For example, if the defendant has been previously charged with theft twice, they’re already committing a third-degree felony.

Understanding the Required Intent

Florida’s statute requires finding and establishing criminal intent for a person to be charged with petit theft. According to State v. G.C., 572 So. 2d 1380, 1381-82 (Fla. 1991), the specific intent requirement is described according to Florida’s theft statute Section 812.014 context.

The state must show that there’s an intention and that the offense took place and was completed, with the defendant specifically intending to steal the property.

Furthermore, the intent is a question of fact for the jury that they need to infer from the surrounding circumstances. However, there must be substantial competent evidence that the jury can reasonably assume the required intent in petit theft cases.

The Three Classifications of Petit Theft

If the total value of the property in question is less than $750, then it’s considered petit theft. Most of these charges stem from shoplifting offenses, which are misdemeanors. However, as mentioned above, it can become a felony.

With petit theft, the value of the property and previous convictions will impact the charges against the accused. Below are the charges the defendant may face:

  • Petit theft to the second degree: If the value is less than $100 and is a first-time offense, then the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor.
  • Petit theft to the first degree: The property is valued at between $100 to $750, and if the accused was previously charged with a petit theft crime, the offense is elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • Third-degree felony: If the accused has been convicted of petit theft twice or more times, the offense becomes a third-degree felony. Depending on other factors, it can elevate to grand theft.

Remember that the more petit theft offenses you commit, the harsher the punishment you receive. If you have been recently charged with this offense, formulate a strong Petit Theft Defense in Tampa with a reliable lawyer with experience handling these cases.

Petit Theft Penalties & Fines

You will face penalties and fines if you have been convicted of petit theft in Florida. Some of these penalties and fines are as follows:

  • Second-degree misdemeanors: The penalty is up to 60 days in jail with a maximum fine of up to $500.
  • First-degree misdemeanors: Your penalty will increase, and the jail time becomes one-year imprisonment with up to a $1,000 fine.
  • Third-degree felony: You will receive a fine of $5,000 and five years in jail.

Additional punishments are also possible, such as suspending your driver’s license. For your first conviction, you can get suspended for six months. After that, it will get suspended for another year for every guilty conviction.

Enhanced Penalties for Habitual Offenders

It’s worth noting that there are enhanced felonies for habitual felony offenders, thefts involving a 65-year-old and older, or repeated petit felony charges.

For a habitual felony offender, the judge can extend the prison term if the petit theft is a third felony offense. At the same time, the prison sentences may double if the defendant receives a second or third-degree felony charge. However, for first-degree felony charges, they can face life imprisonment.

Consequences of Being Charged with Petit Theft

Petit theft is considered a “crime of dishonesty,” which will show in your criminal records. Therefore, it will affect many aspects of your personal life. Since it’s already permanent, you will have difficulty looking for a job, applying for a loan, getting a house, and more.

Once you’re brought in to be charged with this crime, you should look for a Petit Theft Defense Lawyer in Tampa. These professionals will do their best to find the best defense according to your situation. In addition, they will guide you throughout the process while giving your legal advice.

The resources that these lawyers offer are second to none. It makes it easier for them to build a strong defense for you and try to have the charge reduced or dismissed altogether. In any case, having a reliable lawyer by your side will increase your chances of getting favorable results in court.

Choose the Best Tampa Petit Theft Defense Lawyer

A petit theft offense may seem insignificant but can cause life-changing consequences. Therefore, it is best to find a Tampa petit theft defense lawyer who can help protect your rights and fight in court for you.

At Smith & Eulo, we are committed to providing our clients with top-notch legal services at an affordable price. Our team of experienced lawyers has extensive knowledge in petit theft cases, and we can bring the best solution to the table.

If you or your loved one are in need of information on Petit Theft, call us at 813-359-8667 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7, we offer free initial consultation and payment plans. In addition to our Tampa office, we have offices in the following cities across the state of Florida:

*Additional Orlando Florida & Orange County Legal Resources

We Serve Tampa, FL

Open 24/7

Contact Us Today!