Theft & Petty Theft Criminal Defense in West Palm Beach
Florida Statute 812.014
Arrested for a Theft Crime?
While there are many different theft crimes in West Palm Beach under Florida law, the three most common types are Petit Theft, Grand Theft, and Retail Theft. Florida Statute 812.014 defines the different types of thefts and the penalties for each.
What is a Theft?
Essentially, a theft is the taking of property, or even the attempt to take property, knowing that it belongs to another person or entity, with the intent to either temporarily, or permanently, deprive that person or entity of their property. The legal definition of theft can be found at Florida Statute 812.014(1)(a)&(b).
What is Petit Theft?
Petit (pronounced petty) theft is the taking of property that is valued at $100 up to $300. The value of the property taken is measured by the fair market value of the item(s) taken at the time of the theft. In some cases, the value of the property may be established by the replacement cost of the item(s). A petit theft is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.
The theft of an item that is valued at less than $100 is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty days in the county jail and a $500 fine.
What is Grand Theft?
Grand thefts are separated into three different categories. Grand Theft (Third Degree) is simply any theft were the item(s) taken is valued between $300 and $20,000. A third degree grand theft is punishable by up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Grand Theft (Second Degree) is a theft were the property taken is valued between $20,000 and $100,000. A second degree grand theft is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Grand Theft (First Degree) is theft of property valued at over $100,000, or where cargo valued at $50,000 or more has been stolen, or as otherwise described at Florida Statute 812.014(2)(a)(1-3). A first degree grand theft is punishable by up to 30 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Just as with petit theft, the value of the property taken in a grand theft is measured by the fair market value of the item(s) taken at the time and place of the theft. In some cases, the value of the property may be established by the replacement cost of the item(s).
What is Retail Theft?
Retail Theft is knowingly, or intentionally, (1) taking merchandise, (2) removing or altering a price tag, (3) placing merchandise into another container, as well as other acts described in Florida Statute 812.015(1)(d), with the intent to deprive the merchant of the possession of an item, or items, or the full retail value of the item or items.
A retail theft where the item, or items, are valued at less than $100 is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine.
A retail theft where the item, or items, are valued between $100 and up to $300 is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Any person who commits either a second petit theft or a second retail theft, and has a prior theft conviction, commits a first degree misdemeanor. Any person who has two or more convictions for petit theft or retail theft can be charged with a third degree felony. In other words, the more theft convictions on your record, the more severe the penalty becomes.
Suspension of Driver License
In addition to the penalties described above, the court can impose a 6 month driver license suspension for a first conviction of petit theft and retail theft. For a second or subsequent petit theft or retail theft, Florida Statute 812.0155(1)(b) permits the court to suspend a driver license for 1 year.
A felony theft conviction carries a 1 year driver license suspension.
Other Important Information
Beyond the criminal penalties, a theft conviction can have a significant impact on (1) your job, (2) your ability to find a job and (3) your housing situation. You may also face the imposition of civil penalties pursuant to Florida Statute 772.11 of up to three times the amount of the theft.
An arrest for Petit Theft, Grand Theft or Retail Theft should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, Wayne Richter has vast experience in defending all types of theft cases. Wayne Richter is proactive in the defense of his clients. Hiring Wayne Richter prior to an arrest, or immediately following your arrest, can be vital to your defense. Call Wayne Richter for a free initial consultation and case evaluation with our West Palm Beach theft defense lawyer.