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:
- 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.