Theft is stealing. The degree of theft crime you are charged with depends on the value of the property that has been illegally taken. Any value of $100 or less “petit theft”, which is a second-degree misdemeanor and punishable up to 60 days in jail. Property that the value is between $100 and $299 is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable up to one year in jail.
The threshold for theft to be a felony or grand theft is that the property taken as a value of $300 or greater. The degree of felony theft also has property value benchmarks ranging from $300 all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
When determining the degree of theft, the monetary value is not the amount that the property cost when originally purchased, rather the fair market value of the property that day of the alleged theft crime. This factor can be beneficial in keeping the degree of theft crime at the lowest level possible if the charges are not able to be dropped.
With theft charges, you must be careful because they are enhanceable crimes. For instance, if you stole a cracker from a gas station twice, the third time you can recharge with a felony. Even though the monetary amount of the cracker did not meet the level necessary to be charged with a felony crime, the act of repeat offenses will trigger the criminal enhancement.
Michael S. Brown, Esquire has been an attorney in the Orlando area for over 13 years. He was a prosecutor for over 5 years with the State Attorney’s Office in Orange and Osceola County. There, he handled misdemeanor cases, juvenile cases, felony cases, felony violations of probation, and litigated over 20 jury trials.
Mr. Brown left the State Attorney’s Office to become a civil litigator in the areas of foreclosure, breaches of contract, and insurance defense. He has practiced in Courts throughout the State.
Mr. Brown is admitted to practice in every Court in the State of Florida. He is a member of the Florida Bar and all 3 federal courts in Florida.