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Florida’s laws distinguish between petit theft and grand theft

Theft charges in Florida generally depend on the worth of property taken. Petit theft offenses may apply to theft of property valued up to $750, as noted on the Florida Legislature website.

Law enforcement officials may file misdemeanor petit theft charges for allegedly leaving a store without paying for goods worth less than $100. First-time petit theft offenses generally result in a second-degree misdemeanor conviction. Repeated offenses, however, could lead to first-degree misdemeanor charges.

Misdemeanor theft and felony theft offenses

When the value of goods falls between $100 and $750, prosecutors may file first-degree misdemeanor charges. In some retail theft cases, officials might consider adding the value of items allegedly taken from different stores to file felony charges.

Florida’s statutes allow prosecutors to file felony theft charges when taking certain properties worth less than $750. Depriving an owner of a firearm, for example, may lead to a felony theft charge. Taking someone’s written will could also result in a felony offense.

Grand theft offenses under Florida’s statutes

Florida law considers grand theft a first-degree felony offense that applies to taking items worth at least $100,000. An exception to the value occurs when depriving law enforcement officials of vehicles or equipment. Taking an ambulance, for example, may lead to grand theft charges.

USA Today reports that the security chief of a Florida state university library faces a first-degree felony grand theft charge for taking about 5,000 rare comic books. He allegedly listed the library’s inventory for sale on the internet. Prosecutors claim the collection has a value of about one-half million dollars, which the defendant may dispute as part of his defense.

Individuals facing theft charges may counter the prosecutor’s evidence by proving the actual value of goods. Avoiding severe penalties may also include a defense that disproves the allegations of intentionally depriving an owner of valuable property.