Petty Theft and Shoplifting Questions and Answers
We represent people accused of petty theft or shoplifting in the following localities: Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, Melbourne, Viera, Titusville, Deland, Daytona, and Tavares.
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What is petty theft?
Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense. It is commonly called shoplifting if it is done at a business. In order to be accused of petty theft in Florida a person must have knowingly endeavored to obtain property from another with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the right to it. NOTE: Temporarily depriving someone of their property is considered theft in Florida.
What is the difference between petit larceny and grand larceny?
Larceny is the common law term for theft. The difference between them is based on the value of the property alleged to have been taken. In Florida, petit theft is less than $300. Grand theft is anything $300 or more. Grand theft is a felony.
Do multiple shoplifting charges enhance the penalty?
Yes. A person accused of shoplifting who has been found guilty of a previous shoplifting offense can be charged with an enhanced charge. This can mean an upgrade from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor or a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony.
The Amount of the Theft Determines the Level of Offense
A misdemeanor theft involves property worth less than $300. The only exception to this is if the property is stolen from a dwelling or the curtilage of a dwelling and is worth more than $99.99. In that case the theft is a Third Degree Felony. If the property is not from a dwelling and is between $100 and $299.99 it is a first degree misdemeanor. If it is between $0.01 and $99.99 it is a second degree misdemeanor.
Can I get in trouble for returning an item for a refund?
Yes. Attempting to obtain a refund for merchandise by use of a fraudulently obtained or false receipt is a criminal offense unto itself. This crime can be charged on top of any other theft offense. It is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
Does a conviction for shoplifting require a drivers license suspension?
Florida law now requires that "every judgment of guilty of a petit theft...shall provide for the suspension of the convicted person's drivers license." For a first offense the suspension "shall be for a period of up to 6 months." Subsequent suspensions "shall be for a period of 1 year."
Can I get the case dropped through a diversion program?
Yes. Many state attorney's can offer pretrial diversion as an alternative to taking your case to trial. A person must qualify based on requirements set forth by the Office of the State Attorney. If accepted and a person successfully completes the diversion program then the state will dismiss the case. NOTE: A dismissal may make you eligible to expunge the arrest from the criminal record.
I have been practicing criminal law since 1995...
I practice strictly criminal law. I have been doing so since 1995. My staff and I will vigorously defend your case and keep you informed of all new developments. We do not rest until your case has been resolved and we do not avoid trials. I practice criminal trial law and criminal appellate law. I know the law and the defenses that apply to your case. I have studied the law and constantly stay abreast of all new legal cases that may help my clients. This is what I do and it would be an honor to represent you before the court.
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