Petty Theft & Shoplifting

Shoplifting Lawyer Miami, Florida

Shoplifting is legally called theft, either petty or grand depending on the value of the property taken. If the value is less than a $300.00 it would be classified as petty theft. if the value is more than $300.00 it would be considered grand theft. The vast majority of shoplifting cases in Miami are considered petty because of the value. However, there is nothing petty about this crime because being charged with theft will have a negative impact on your employment and possibly carry negative immigration consequences.

Petty theft is a misdemeanor crime in Florida. If the value of the property is less than $100.00 a person will be facing a second degree misdemeanor that is punishable by no more than 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If the value is more than $100.00 but less than $300.00 the person will be facing a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The vast majority of cases that we see in court is for first degree misdemeanor petty theft but I have handled numerous second degree misdemeanor petty theft cases. They are both common and equally devastating. One benefit of misdemeanor petty theft is that the police officer has the option of not physically arresting the person. Instead the person can be issued a promise to appear (PTA) and this will be as effective as an arrest but without the embarrassment of going to jail.

In Miami-Dade all petty theft cases are heard in two court dates. The first court is the arraignment and the second court date is the trial day. My clients do not attend either court date as I go to court for them. I also fight the case at trial by ensuring that the prosecution can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. My goal for every client is to get their petty theft charges dismissed. Once the charge is dismissed we can expunge the petty theft charge from the client’s record if the client is otherwise eligible.

Grand theft is a felony crime. Police have no option but to physically arrest the person and take them to jail. Grand Theft is divided into three levels. Third Degree Grand Theft is for value from $300.00 to $20,000.00. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Second Degree Grand Theft is for value from $20,000.00 to $100,000.00. This is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Finally, First Degree Grand Theft is for any property valued at more than $100,000.00. This crime is punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

Petty theft and grand theft charges are very serious. Clients need to take extra care because these charges are considered crimes of dishonesty and employment will be affected. It is important to not take the first offer the prosecutor offers and instead fight the charge to get the best possible outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that your future is not negatively  affected by this type of case.

I have successfully defended many clients accused of petty theft and grand theft in Miami.