Picture of person committing theft by stealing a camera from another's backpack.


Theft offenses are one of the most commonly prosecuted offenses. At its simplest, Theft occurs when you take something that isn’t yours. It’s stealing. It’s formally defined in Florida as knowingly and unlawfully obtaining or using property, depriving another of his or her right to the property. Also, you commit Theft by appropriating someone else’s property for your use. You can even commit Theft if you try to steal something and fail. Florida treats an attempt the same as success.

Lots of Thefts happen when people steal from retail stores, but the type of stolen items doesn’t matter. Or the victim. You can be arrested for taking money or property, whether from a person or business. Services count too, as you can commit Theft by not paying for a massage. You can even be prosecuted for knowingly Possessing or Dealing in Stolen Property. Using another person’s credit cards to make purchases counts as Theft. The statute casts a really wide net.

Punishment for Theft

Theft punishments range greatly in Florida. Most often, they increase with the dollar amount stolen. Florida treats Thefts under $750 as misdemeanors. If you steal something less than $100, you face up to 60 days in jail rather than 1 year.

However, the dollar values jump up a bit for Theft felonies in Florida. Thefts from $750 up to $20,000 constitute a third degree felony. They’re punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Then, from $20,000 up to $100,000, they’re second degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lastly, Thefts of $100,000 or more are first degree felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Additionally, Florida considers some items in a different light regardless of their value. Stealing a gun is a third degree felony even if the gun costs less than $750. If you steal a car, police arrest you for Grand Theft Auto. Check out my page on Grand Theft Auto and Carjacking!

Finally, you have to repay the dollar amount stolen, unless it’s recovered during arrest.

Theft Presumptions

Catching people committing Theft can be tough. Florida knows this. To react, it creates proof that you stole if these facts exist. If you possess recently stolen property without a good explanation why, that’s enough. No one needs to see you take it. If you bought something for way cheaper than fair market value, that’s enough too. You should wonder why someone sold you a new Mercedes for $5,000. That’s the idea behind these inferences. They use common sense to prove crimes. Check out the rest here!

Talk to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney!

But it doesn’t mean you’re guilty if you’ve been arrested for Theft. Maybe you’ve been accused of taking something that’s yours. Maybe you didn’t take anything at all. Mr. Brown has handled lots of Thefts from the simple to severe.

The criminal defense firm Brown Legal PLLC operates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but regularly handles cases throughout South Florida and the rest of the state. Before it’s too late, talk to Jared and see if he can help you best defend yourself! Reach out over the phone at (954) 524-6700 or through the Contact Page if you have any questions.

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