Whether a theft offender is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the value of the stolen property and whether the offender has any prior convictions. In Florida, misdemeanors are prosecuted in the County Court, while felonies are prosecuted in the Circuit Court. The more serious the offense, the more serious the penalties will be.
Florida Statutes say that a theft crime occurs when a person knowingly uses or obtains-or tries to use or obtain-someone else’s property either permanently or temporarily and: a) tries to take that property for his or her own use or gives it to someone else who isn’t entitled to that property for their use or; b) deprives the owner of the property of their legal right to have or benefit from the property.
Common Theft Crimes:
Auto Theft: stealing or attempting to steal any kind of motor vehicle that is legally authorized to run on a public road.
Burglary: illegally entering or trespassing into a building or home for the purpose of committing or attempting to commit a crime.
Petit Theft: stealing property valued less than $300.00. This is a first degree misdemeanor and can be punished by up to one year in jail. An offender who is accused of committing petit theft and already has two prior theft convictions can be charged with a third degree felony.
Grand Theft of the third degree occurs when the stolen property is:
- More than $300.00.
- A motor vehicle.
- A will or another form of testament.
- 2,000 or more pieces of citrus fruit.
- Anhydrous ammonia.
- A firearm.
- A commercial farm animal.
- A fire extinguisher.
- A stop sign.
Grand Theft of the second degree occurs when the stolen property is worth at least $20,000 but under $100,000.
Shoplifting: stealing an item that is being sold at a retail establishment.
Robbery: using intimidation or violence to steal an item or property.
Penalties for theft crimes can include restitution, probation, jail and prison time. Having a theft conviction on your record can carry long-term consequences, including the loss of eligibility for certain loans and employment opportunities.