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What is the difference between petit and grand theft in Florida?

Here in Florida, the offense of theft comes in two main varieties: petit and grand.

Under Florida law, a theft is grand theft if certain special circumstances are present in connection to it. One of these circumstances is if the value of the stolen property exceeds a certain level. Thefts of property of $300 or more are grand theft. There are a range of other special circumstances which could bump a theft up to the grand theft level.

Petit thefts, on the other hand, are thefts of under $300 in value in which none of the circumstances that would cause a theft to be grand theft are present.

The other big difference between petit and grand theft in Florida regards charge level. Petit theft is generally a misdemeanor offense, while grand theft is a felony offense.

As a note, Florida law also breaks the general categories of grand theft and petit theft down into degrees. There are three degrees of grand theft (first, second and third) and two degrees of petit theft (first and second). Which degree of grand or petit theft a person is charged with impacts what degree of felony/misdemeanor charge they are facing and thus the types of penalties they could be given if convicted. First degree is the most severe of the degrees.

Which degree a given grand theft offense is depends on the specific special circumstances the theft involved. For petit thefts, thefts of $100 or more fall under the first degree, while all other petit thefts generally fall under the second.

As a note, when a person is accused of a petit theft, having a prior theft crime record could up the type of misdemeanor charge they are facing or even, in some circumstances, bring the charge they are facing up to the felony level.

As this illustrates, not all theft allegations have the same implications. The specific details of the theft accusations leveled against a person can have big impacts on their legal situation and what possible consequences they could be facing. Skilled Florida theft crime defense attorneys understand the complex nature of the state’s theft laws and can give individuals accused of theft in the state guidance on what Florida’s theft laws and the nature of the theft allegations against them mean for their situation and options.

Source: Florida Legislature - The 2016 Florida Statutes, “812.014 – Theft.,” Accessed Dec. 9, 2016

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