In the state of Florida, a person commits theft by taking or using someone else’s property while having the requsite criminal intent. Specifically, Florida law states that a person commits theft when “he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
- deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or
- appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.)
In Florida, the lowest level theft offense is called “petit theft”, rather than the more commonly known “petty theft”.
Petit Theft of the Second Degree. If the property stolen is valued at less than $100, the offender commits petit theft of the second degree, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.).
A sentence of imprisonment of not more than 60 days and a fine not to exceed $500 can result from conviction of a misdemeanor of the second degree in Florida. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)
Petit Theft of the First Degree. If the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, the offender commits petit theft of the first degree, which is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.) After a conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree, the offender may receive a definite term of imprisonment of not less than one year and a fine of not more than $1,000. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)
A person who commits theft (or the parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits theft or shoplifting) in Florida may be held civilly liable to the theft victim for the following amounts:
- three times the amount of monetary damage caused (such as the retail value of the merchandise stolen in the case of shoplifting) or $200, whichever is greater, and
- reimbursement of the theft victim’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.
At least 30 days prior to filing any action for civil liability, the victim of the theft must provide the offender with a written demand for payment. If the offender complies with the written demand for payment, the victim must issue a written release from further civil liability. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 772.11.)
For more information please contact our office now to set up an appointment with attorney Daniel Lenghea to determine the best cause of action.