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Petit Theft

Although petit theft (sometimes referred to as petty theft) is considered a minor crime it does come with some penalties if a theft lawyer is not obtained and an individual consequently is found guilty of the charge.

  • What evidence will a prosecutor use to try and obtain a guilty charge against the defendant?
  • What alternatives to jail time will a theft lawyer try to get their client?
  • In addition to jail time and fines what are possible penalties that a petty theft guilty verdict may bring?
  • What is the first course of action a person who has been charged with petit theft should take?

Petit theft in Miami, Florida is either filed as a misdemeanor of the first degree or a second-degree misdemeanor. In order for an individual to be charged with petit theft as a second degree misdemeanor the value of the property that was stolen has to be worth less then $100. If the value of the property is worth more then $100 then the petit theft will be charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree. An individual can also be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree for petty theft if they already have a prior conviction.

Petty theft is commonly the term that is used when someone is accused of shoplifting. If found guilty of petty theft an individual can be subject to a fine up to $400 or be sentenced to spend up to 6 months in a county jail. It is possible in some circumstances that the individual charged with the crime is given both a fine and time in jail. Remember, each petty theft case is different and penalties will vary accordingly. Having a theft lawyer will give a defendant the best chance at having their theft charges reduced or even dropped all together.

With the help of a theft lawyer a quality defense can be formed to help a person who has been charged with petit theft. It will be essential to hire a theft lawyer for defense against a petit theft charge as evidence against the defense may include:

  • Employee testimony from the establishment/business where the petit theft occurred
  • Testimony from other shoppers that were in the place of business during the time of the petty theft
  • The petty theft may have been caught on camera, which could be used as evidence
  • Admission statements made by the defendant during the time of the arrest

With the proper defense petit theft can be very difficult for a prosecutor to prove as he or she is going to have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual stole property with the intent to steal. If the defendant is found guilty of a petit theft charge a quality Florida theft lawyer may be able to explore alternative penalties to jail time such as:

  • Counseling
  • Withholding of adjudication
  • Diversion program
  • Restitution in the amount of the stolen property
  • Electronic monitoring
  • House arrest

If found guilty of petty theft, in addition to the fines and penalties mentioned above, the guilty may also have to cope with:

  • Loss of academic scholarship
  • A drivers license suspension
  • Community service hours
  • Public scrutiny/embarrassment
  • Loss of trust in family members and friends

If you or someone you know has been charged with petit theft a theft lawyer with experience will work tirelessly to form a defense plan to give you the best chance at having the charges reduced or even dismissed. Even though petty theft is considered to be a fairly minor offense it is without a doubt punishable by law. For those charged with petit theft that are not first time offenders it is more likely that they will encounter more serious penalties.

Yale Galanter

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The Galanter Law website should not be considered as actual legal advice, or legal recommendations. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal, legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements, or online literature. Before you decide on a criminal defense attorney, ask Galanter Law to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.