Theft and Property Crimes

Theft and Property Crimes

Theft and property crimes usually are committed when someone knowingly takes or uses the property of someone else with the intent to keep the property for his or her own use or for the use someone who is not the rightful owner. This could be either permanently or temporarily.

Alleged offenders who commit theft and property crimes often think the offenses are petty. The offenders do not think they will get in trouble. However, these types of offenses can lead to severe punishments and jail time. They even can serve as a roadblock toward future and current employment opportunities.

Because of the severity of the charges, working with a qualified Tallahassee theft lawyer at Pumphrey Law can give you the opportunity to effectively defend your name during this difficult process. You also will be able to construct a defense strategy that helps get the charges reduced or completely dismissed.

Tallahassee Theft Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with theft or a property crime in Leon County or surrounding areas, an experienced Tallahassee criminal attorney can analyze the facts of your case and potentially find mitigating circumstances to reduce your charges or have them dropped altogether.

If you have been charged with a Florida theft or property crime, contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law today. The team at Pumphrey Law has years of experience in the legal field, and they understand the importance of defending your freedom. They will handle your case with the utmost importance and make sure your voice is heard.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation to go over the specifics of your case with the legal team, call (850) 681-7777 or contact us online. The firm proudly represents clients accused of theft and property crimes throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Fort Walton Beach, DeFuniak Springs, Panama City, Tallahassee, Madison, Vernon, Mayo and many others.


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Florida Theft and Property Crimes Information Center


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Florida Theft Offenses

In Florida, theft offenses are divided into petit theft and grand theft. When a person is accused of theft, the crime is assigned a charge based on the circumstances specific to that case. For example, the charges would be determined based on the value and type of property stolen.

Petit theft generally is charged when the value of the property is of lower value. This is the most minor theft offenses, and it is defined by Florida Statute § 812.014 as a person who commits theft on items of financial value up to $300.

The offense can be a misdemeanor of the first or second-degree. Often for items valued up to $100, petit theft is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. If the offense involves between $100 and $300, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.

The most common type of petit theft in Palm Beach County is shoplifting. According to Florida Statutes § 812.015, someone can be charged with this offense if that person has taken merchandise or property out of a store, changed a label or price tag or moved merchandise to a different container with the intent deprive the merchant of the item.

Grand theft, on the other hand, typically involves knowingly taking someone else’s property valued at $300 or more with the intent to deprive that person of the property, according to Florida Statute § 812.014. This charge also could apply if a certain type of property was involved or when aggravating circumstances such as the use of a motor vehicle are present.

Grand theft can be a felony of the first, second or third-degree, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Simple grand theft is a third-degree felony and involves theft of property with a value of $300 to $20,000. The crime can be a second-degree felony if the value is between $20,000 and $100,000, and it can be a first-degree felony if it is more than $100,000.

An example of grand theft can be dealing in stolen property. According to Florida Statute § 812.019, this charge can be levied if someone knowingly participates in trafficking property they knew was stolen or if a person organizes others who deal in stolen property. Carjacking also is a form of grand theft.


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Property Crimes in Florida

Property crimes in the Sunshine State generally are defined as an intentional criminal act that results in the taking or destruction of another person's property without the owner's consent. Property crimes can be charged as misdemeanor or felony offenses.

Property crimes are distinguished from violent crimes. Violent crimes often involve the threat of force or actual force in order to accomplish the taking of property. The most common type of violent crime involving a taking of property is robbery or sudden snatching.

The severity of a property crime depends on the value taken or damaged and several other factors. For example, arson charges can be a felony of the first or second degree. The crime is defined as intentionally damaging any building of any kind through the use of fire or an explosion.

Arson can be a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the arson caused damage to any dwelling or structure that normally is occupied, then the crime can be charged as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years incarceration.

Burglary is defined under Florida Statute § 810.02 as entering or remaining in a structure, dwelling or conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense inside. However, this does not include instances where the premises were open to the public at the time of the alleged offense or if the defendant is licensed to enter or remain, or if the defendant was invited inside.

If permission to remain was withdrawn and the defendant allegedly remained to commit an offense, he or she may be guilty of burglary. Breaking and entering also is a form of burglary in Florida.

Another form of property crimes in Florida is criminal mischief. Someone can be charged with criminal mischief if he or she intentionally damages property belonging to someone else. Anyone who commits vandalism or graffiti can be charged with criminal mischief. This is often a juvenile offense.


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Criminal Penalties for Theft and Property Crimes in Florida

Petit Theft in the second degree and criminal mischief that causes damage in the amount of less than $200 are misdemeanors of the second degree. These misdemeanors can incur up to 60 days in jail, fines up to $500 or both.

Petit theft in the first degree and criminal mischief that causes damage in the amount of $201 to $1,000 are misdemeanors of the first degree. These misdemeanors can include up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000 or both.

Shoplifting crimes where the property is valued at $300 or more would be considered grand theft in the third degree. Criminal mischief that causes damage in an amount greater than $1,000 can also is a felony of the third-degree. These charges can involve prison time of five years or less, fines up to $5,000 or both.

Shoplifting in an amount of $3,000 or more, dealing in stolen property, grand theft in the second degree, burglary and arson in the second-degree are second-degree felonies, which can include up to 15 years in state prison, fines not exceeding $10,000 or both.

If someone organizes, plans or directs others in dealing with stolen property, grand theft in the first degree, armed burglary, aggravated burglary and arson in the first-degree are felonies of the first degree. A conviction for these felonies can lead to imprisonment up to 30 years with the possibly of life imprisonment, depending on the crime, and fines up to $10,000.


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Other Possible Repercussions for Theft Crimes

  • If someone is convicted of any degree of petit theft, under the Florida Fingerprint Requirement that person would be required to have his or her fingerprints taken in court and his or her name will go into a national database for employers to view during background checks.

  • If an offender is found guilty of any theft misdemeanors, the court can order the offender's driver’s license suspended for six months to one year. If someone has previously been convicted of the offense, the court must suspend his or her license.

  • For offenders found guilty of any theft, the court also can impose a supplemental fine, in addition to the criminal penalties for the offense, up to double the gross value of the property, plus the costs of investigation and prosecution.
  • Offenders can also face civil remedies, according to Florida Statute § 772.11. Anyone who proves by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has been a victim of theft or shoplifting is entitled to pursue civil remedies, under this statute.

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Theft and Property Crime Resources in Florida

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention – This non-profit organization seeks to prevent shoplifting nationwide.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement – A Florida governmental agency that promotes public safety by preventing, investigating and solving crimes. The Department is located at:

2331 Phillips Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32308
(850) 410-7640

Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous – This group is dedicated to helping those recover from shoplifting addiction and kleptomania.

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Finding A Tallahassee Property Crime Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged with a theft or property crime in Leon County, contact the skilled Tallahassee criminal lawyers at the Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case. An experienced Leon County criminal defense attorney may be able to use a defense or exception to Florida laws to have your charge dismissed or reduced. Call the (850) 681-7777 to schedule a consultation about your alleged theft or property crime.


This article was last updated on October 26, 2016.