Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.014, "A person commits theft if 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: (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or (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."
Theft occurs even if the property was "borrowed" without permission and returned. Simply being in possession of recently stolen property gives an inference that the person knew it was stolen and can be the basis for a theft charge.
Theft charges are punished based on the value and type of the stolen property. A first time theft charge involving property less than $100 in value is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in jail, six months of probation, fines and court costs, and may include special conditions of probation such as completion of a theft abatement course. Theft is also an enhanceable offense, meaning that a second offense raises the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor, and a third or subsequent charge is elevated to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison.
In addition to these penalties, a theft conviction will also result in a suspension of your drivers license. The suspension is up to six months for the first conviction and one year for subsequent convictions. The court can also impose a fine up to twice the value of the stolen property, and the victim may pursue damages in civil court.
Have you been charged with petit theft in Tampa Bay? A criminal defense lawyer from The Lawler Firm can help.
Theft cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. In some cases there may be no knowledge that the property was actually stolen, or you may have thought the property was abandoned. A Tampa Bay theft defense attorney can discuss your options based on the facts of your case.
If you have been charged with petit theft, call The Lawler Firm now for a free no obligation consultation. You will speak to your actual theft criminal defense attorney who will meet with you, even on evenings and weekends. Call Now (813) 431-4470!