According to Florida law, petty (or petit) theft is a misdemeanor. So, just what is petty theft? Simply put, it is the unlawful taking of someone else's property that is valued at less than $300. This particular type of theft is generally divided into two degrees: first degree petty theft and second degree misdemeanor. Your Miami petty theft attorney will tell you that a first-degree petty theft offense involves property that is valued at more than $100, but less than $300. Anyone who takes something that is valued at under $100 might be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. First-degree petty theft offenders can face a year in jail and/or probation, as well as a possible fine of $1,000. Individuals who are convicted of the second-degree petty theft offense can also face jail time and/or probation, as well as a potential $500 fine.
One of the more common types of petty theft is shoplifting or failing to pay for a store item with the intent to steal. In such cases, the degree of the charge will depend on the value of the item taken. Regardless of the type, though, anyone who is convicted for petty theft in Florida should keep in mind that his or her driver's license can be suspended. Accordingly, anyone who has been accused of petty theft is strongly urged not to admit guilt or plead guilty under any circumstance. Most people need their license, whether for work or personal reasons; however, a conviction for petty theft can place that license at risk. Working with a skilled attorney can go a long way toward saving an individual's driver's license and an attorney might also ultimately get the charges dismissed or dropped altogether.
Your Miami petty theft attorney will also tell you that anyone who commits theft can also be held civilly liable to the victim of the theft for certain amounts of money. For instance, depending on the specifics of the case, an offender can be held responsible for either $200 or three times the amount of monetary damages incurred (whichever is higher). Additionally, a convicted offender might be made to reimburse the victim's attorneys' fees and court costs. Individuals should note, however, that the theft victim is required to make a written demand for payment at least 30 days prior to filing the civil action.
One of the primary goals of attorneys who defend individuals under the applicable laws is to make certain that the charged individual does not end up with a criminal record. In order to do that, accused individuals should contact a well-versed petty theft lawyer as soon as they have been charged with the offense. Discussing the particulars of the case can help the attorney mount the best plausible defense against the charges and ensure that all rights are preserved. A petty theft is not "petty" at all. A conviction for the offense can lead to devastating consequences for an individual and his or her family.
Contact Miami petty theft attorney Antonio Jimenez right away if you would like to obtain knowledgeable legal counsel who will work hard on your defense.