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PETIT THEFT

Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.014 Petit Theft is when “ 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.

(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.

Generally speaking, the crime of Petit Theft involves the unlawful taking of property worth less than $300.00.

ELEMENTS

To prove the crime of Theft, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used OR endeavored to obtain or to use the (property alleged of the victim.

  1. The defendant  did so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently,

    • deprive the victim  of his  or her 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 any person not entitled to it.

PENALTIES

Petit Theft has been separated into two separate degrees of crime based solely upon the value of the property taken.

Petit Theft of the First Degree

Petit Theft of the First Degree is committed if the property taken:

  • Is worth less than $300.00 but more than $100.00

Petit Theft of the First Degree is a First Degree Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 364 days in the county jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

Petit Theft of the Second Degree

Petit Theft of the Second Degree is committed if the property taken:

  • Is worth less than $100.00

Petit Theft of the Second Degree is classified as a Second Degree Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500.00 fine.

On the essential elements in proving a theft is proving the value of the item allegedly taken.  Mere proof of the nature of the stolen property is generally insufficient to sustain a conviction for grand theft. The state acknowledges that proof of the element of value is essential and must be established by the state beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.  Randolph v. State, 608 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992). “Value” is an essential element of grand theft that must be proven by the State beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. Sanchez v. State, 101 So. 3d 1283 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).

For purposes of the Florida theft statutes, fair market value may be established either through direct testimony or through production of evidence relating to all of the following four criteria: (1) the original cost, (2) the manner in which the items were used, (3) their general condition and quality, and (4) the percentage of depreciation. Sanchez v. State, 101 So. 3d 1283 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).

For more information on Grand Theft please contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel at 954-383-3000