Petit theft (FL Stat. 812.014) is the act of depriving merchandise from a retail establishment. The charge of misdemeanor arises when the value of the stolen item is $300.00 or less. Petit theft, although not serious, is a ‘crime of dishonesty’ that, if convicted, will have long standing ramifications on future job applications and a person’s reputation.
To prove petit theft, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant knowingly and intentionally took merchandise without paying for it and attempted to leave the store. The prosecutor will likely look for supporting evidence from loss prevention employees of the store, in-store video surveillance or statements from the defendant.
Petit theft is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. In some cases, especially first time offenders, there are several ways to resolve the case in lieu of jail including probation as well as the Misdemeanor Intervention Program (“MIP”). If offered, MIP will require the defendant to complete certain terms, including attend petit theft counseling, complete community service hours and pay a fine. In most cases, MIP can be completed in 90 days. Upon successful completion of MIP, the state attorney will enter a ‘nolle prosse,’ meaning they will drop the charge and discontinue prosecution. If a defendant fails to satisfactorily complete the terms of MIP, the case will be sent back to court.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Petit Theft, please contact our office immediately and speak to an experienced theft attorney- 1-888-781-9696. In some cases, we may be able to acquire evidence before a court date is scheduled to prevent the charges against you from being filed. Also, we want to make sure all evidence, including video surveillance, is collected before it is destroyed. Time is of the essence – call us today.