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What Is Petit Theft?

What is Petit Theft?

Should someone in the state of Florida knowingly use another person’s property with criminal intent, they have committed theft. This can result from a desire to keep a person from property they own and deprive them of the use of it. It is also illegal to obtain property for use by a person who is not legally entitled to use it. If the property in question has a value of $300 or less, taking it is called Petit Theft. It is covered in Florida Statute § 812.014.

What Happens After a Petit Theft Charge

When a person is charged with Petit Theft, the prosecutor will try to prove the defendant had criminal intent. They will try and show the act was done with a desire to utilize the property and keep the victim from using of it. The prosecutor could use a number of different methods to prove their case. They may provide testimony of witnesses and others involved. Video surveillance, as well as proof of ownership documents, may be submitted. Business documents, receipts and more could also be provided.

Penalties of Petit Theft

Petit Theft in Florida has the legal classification of a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, a person can spend up to sixty days in jail. Should a person be found guilty of Petit Theft a second time, they could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This means they could spend as long as a year in prison. Any subsequent convictions after a second could be designated as felonies. Since Petit Theft is considered a crime of dishonesty, it could have a negative impact on a person’s future employment and more.

Petit Theft Defenses

There are a number of things a defendant can claim to prove they are innocent of committing Petit Theft. Some may claim they were given false information by a co-defendant, or the surveillance video used is of poor quality and does not provide positive identification. Additionally, the situation could result from a misunderstanding with the owner. Perhaps the defendant was given permission to use the property by someone falsely posing as the property owner, or there was not any intent to keep someone from experiencing the benefit of the property. The length of time the defendant has the property in their possession can correlate with intent. For instance, taking of property for a minute does not show the level of intent necessary for a conviction of Petit Theft.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Criminal Defense

If you or a loved one is facing charges of Petit Theft or other criminal charges, contact Khonsari Law Group for experienced criminal defense attorneys.

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