Florida Theft Laws: Charges & Penalties
There are several offenses that are considered theft crimes under § 812.014, Fla. Stat. However, in general, theft occurs when someone knowingly obtains or uses someone else’s property for their own advantage or to deny the owner access to their property.
Common Theft Offenses in Florida
Theft crimes are typically defined according to several factors, including where the offense occurred and the property value. Some Florida theft crimes that our theft charge lawyers handle include:
- Grand Theft
- Petit Theft
Penalties for Florida Theft Crimes
Florida theft crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies. The penalties for these crimes depend on the category that the offense falls into. Some general criminal penalties include:
- Misdemeanor Theft – Crimes such as petit theft, petty theft, and minor shoplifting of property valued at less than $750 are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Grand Theft – Theft crimes of stolen property valued at $750 or more are felonies in Florida. They may be first-, second-, or third-degree felonies, which are punishable by five, 15, and 30 years in prison, respectively.
Aggravating Factors in Florida Theft Cases
Aggravating factors are circumstances that make a crime more serious and warrant a harsher punishment. In theft cases, aggravating factors can include:
- The value of the property stolen
- The nature of the property stolen
- The method used to commit the theft
- The vulnerability of the alleged victim
- Existence of a prior criminal record
Other aggravating factors may include whether the theft was committed as part of a criminal organization, whether the offender abused a position of trust, or whether the theft caused serious harm to the alleged victim.
Judges consider aggravating factors when sentencing for theft crimes. The more aggravating factors present in a case, the more likely you are to receive a harsher sentence.
Collateral consequences are the negative side effects of a criminal conviction that go beyond the direct penalties imposed by the court, such as imprisonment, fines, and probation. Collateral consequences can have a significant impact on your life, making it difficult to find employment, housing, education, and other opportunities.
Some of the most common collateral consequences of theft crimes include:
- Employment: Many employers conduct criminal background checks on job applicants, and a theft conviction can make it difficult to find a job. Some employers may refuse to hire people with theft convictions altogether, while others may be reluctant to hire them for jobs that involve handling money or other valuables.
- Housing: Many landlords also conduct criminal background checks on potential tenants, and a theft conviction can make it difficult to find housing. Some landlords may refuse to rent to people with theft convictions altogether, while others may require a higher security deposit or rent payments.
- Education: Some educational institutions may deny admission to students with theft convictions, or they may require them to complete additional requirements, such as writing an essay or undergoing a background check.
- Financial Aid: Some financial aid programs are not available to people with theft convictions.
- Public Benefits: Some public benefits programs, such as food stamps and housing assistance, may not be available to people with serious theft convictions.
- Professional Licenses: Some professional licenses, such as those for doctors, lawyers, and teachers, may be denied or revoked to people with theft convictions.
- Gun Rights: People with felony theft convictions are generally prohibited from possessing firearms.
- Future Testimony: If you are convicted of a theft related crime your conviction can be used to discredit you if you ever must testify in court.