Theft encompasses many different crimes under Florida law. Minor thefts – or ‘petit thefts,’ as they are sometimes called – are less serious theft crimes, such as shoplifting. The charges and possible penalties in theft cases are based upon the property stolen. Generally speaking, a theft is classified as a ‘petit theft’ when the property stolen is valued at less than $300.00. These thefts are also typically charged as misdemeanors in Florida.
Florida and most other states view theft charges seriously, and offenders may be subject to fines and court costs. As such, it is essential that you have an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney representing you every step of the way.
Elements of Proof and Possible Defenses
In order for the State to prove that a petit theft occurred, he or she must prove that the person charged had the specific intent to commit a crime. In criminal cases, the State has the burden of proof and must demonstrate specific intent beyond a reasonable doubt – or beyond a doubt based upon ordinary reason and common sense.
Under Florida law, a theft crime is completed when an item is concealed in a purse or pocket – not when the merchandise is physically removed from the store.
The most common defenses to petit theft charges are lack of criminal intent on the part of the defendant or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Under Florida law, mere ‘knowledge’ that a theft is being committed is insufficient to be deemed ‘participation’ in a criminal enterprise.
Legal representation is necessary in minor theft cases because the penalties can be harsh. Possible penalties upon conviction include the following:
- Fines and costs
- Driver’s license suspension
- Community service
- Personal humiliation
- Loss of job or professional license
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
An experienced defense attorney will analyze all of the facts and circumstances of your minor theft case and help you to assemble all of the necessary evidence and defenses to prevail in your case. For a free case evaluation with a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer, call the Khonsari Law Group today at 727-269-5300 or contact us online.