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Petit Theft Charge? How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny

In the state of Florida, a petit theft refers to the taking or using of property that is valued to be worth $300 or less.  The property or item must be taken with the intention of depriving the owner of the property temporarily or permanently. In Florida, the crime of petit theft constitutes a misdemeanor offense. Although it may only be a misdemeanor, if you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with petit theft in Miami, it is strongly advised that you seek the advice of a Miami criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Penalties for Petit Theft in Florida

For a first-time arrest for petit theft, the law is that it constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor. The charges for a first offense can include:

  • Up to sixty days in jail
  • A driver’s license suspension up to six months

For a second offense, petit theft can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties that can include:

  • Up to 364 days in jail
  • Loss of a driver’s license for one year

Whether you have been charged with a first or a second-degree petit theft, it constitutes a ‘crime of dishonesty,’ which could have an impact on employment, financial aid applications, and one’s immigration status that could subject that person to deportation proceedings. Petit theft can permanently impact your ability to retain or attain employment.  For these and other reasons, it is strongly recommended that if you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with petit theft, a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney be scheduled.

How a Petit Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

To prove the crime of petit theft was committed, the State Attorney’s Office must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that one knowingly and unlawfully took or used the property in question, and that it was done with the purpose to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of his or her benefit of the property.

An experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer can help by establishing a defense that will prove that you were not guilty of petit theft. Possible defenses can include:

  • A case of mistaken identity
  • A false accusation
  • 4th Amendment motions concerning illegal search and seizure
  • You left the store with the property without the intent to steal
  • Permission was given by the owner

A criminal defense law firm will fully assess your case and develop the most effective defense to establish your innocence and prove that you were not guilty of the charge. As such, the charges could be reduced or completely dropped.

We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.

View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer.


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The materials on this web site are intended for informational purposes only. The materials on this Web site are not intended to be, nor should they be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion. The reader should not consider this information to be an invitation to an attorney client relationship, should not rely on information presented here for any purpose, and should always seek the legal advice of counsel in the appropriate jurisdiction. Transmission and receipt of the information in this site and/or communication with the Firm via e-mail is not intended to solicit or create, and does not create, an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and any person or entity.