Petit theft (sometimes called petty theft) is a misdemeanor theft offense in Florida that pertains to thefts valued under $300. A misdemeanor theft conviction can potentially result in serious, long-lasting and far-reaching repercussions. A conviction for a theft offense is considered a crime of moral turpitude (dishonesty) and can potentially result in the following:

  • denial or loss of professional memberships
  • loss of business opportunities and advancements
  • loss of personal and professional trust
  • loss or denial of academic scholarship opportunities
  • driver’s license suspension
  • criminal record

What The State Of Florida Needs To Prove Is Intent.

In order to prove the crime of petit theft, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or use, the property alleged to be the victim’s.
  • He or she did so with intent to either temporarily or permanently:
  • Deprive the victim of their right to the property or any benefit from it,
  • Appropriate the property of the victim to his or her own use or to the use of another not entitled to it. (Fl. Std. Jury Instructions).

What Does The Florida Statute Say About Petit Theft?

Petit theft is detailed in Florida Statute 812.014:

Theft is defined in section (1):

  • A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with the intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
  • (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit of the property;
  • (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

First Degree Petit Theft:

  • Value of property: between $100 and less than $300.
  • First degree misdemeanor
  • Maximum punishment: 1 year jail, 1 year probation, maximum fine of $1,000 (any combination)

Second Degree Petit Theft:

  • Value of allegedly stolen property: less than $100.
  • Second degree misdemeanor
  • Maximum punishment: 60 days jail, 60 days probation, maximum fine of $500 (any combination)

Previous Theft Convictions:

If the accused commits petit theft and was previously convicted of any theft offense, they will commit a first degree misdemeanor.

If the accused commits petit theft and has two or more theft convictions, they will commit a third degree felony.