Florida Theft Convictions have Serious Consequences: Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys Explain
If convicted of a theft crime in Florida, you could face expensive fines, lengthy prison or jail sentences and a lifelong stigma that could negatively impact and limit your job options.
A theft conviction will stay on your record and follow you throughout your life.
Because of the severity of the consequences, you need an experienced Florida attorney on your side fighting to secure the best results possible for you.
First-degree Petit Theft (stolen property value between $100 and $749)
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to a $1,000 fine
Second degree Petit Theft (stolen property value less than $100)
- Up to 60 days in jail
- Up to a $500 fine
*If convicted of any theft crime twice, the defendant will then be charged with an elevated third-degree felony.
**Attempted theft is still considered a completed theft in Florida. It doesn't matter if you had a change of heart and gave back the goods you were planning on stealing - you're still in for the same charges as if you had actually stolen them.
First-degree Grand Theft (stolen property valued at $100,000 or more)
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Up to a $10,000 fine
Second-degree Grand Theft (stolen property valued between $20,000 and $99,999)
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to a $10,000 fine
Third-degree Grand Theft (stolen property valued between $750 and 19,999)
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to a $5,000 fine
With theft, $1 can make all the difference…
Theft is an area of the law in which people can be punished very differently for committing the same exact crime, because it’s the value amount of an item that makes all the difference, not the item itself.
For example, let’s say two women each stole a purse from a store. Technically they committed the exact same crime. However, one of the women stole a purse from TJMaxx that cost $149, whereas the other woman stole a purse from Gucci that cost $750. The woman who went to TJMaxx would be charged with petit theft where the maximum penalty would be up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. But the woman who stole from Gucci would be charged with grand theft, and would be looking at up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Theft Diversion Program in Florida
First time offenders may be able to have all the charges DISMISSED by negotiating a Theft Diversion Program.
What you’ll have to do will be completely different depending on the County where the case is. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach might only be a few miles away, but they have 3 totally different diversion programs.
Typically, these programs range from 3 to 18 months and the prosecutor will want you to pay restitution if there is any, complete an Anti-Shoplifting Course, community service and stay out of trouble.
The length largely depends on if you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and also the amount of restitution involved. If there is a lot of money that needs to be repaid, then you’ll need more time to pay that back, unless you can come up with the full payment right away.
Informal & Formal Diversion Programs in Florida
There are both informal and formal theft diversion programs in Florida.
With an Informal Diversion Program, you’re not actually monitored by anyone. That means you just complete the community service, Anti-Shoplifting class, and anything else that is recommended and the case will be dismissed when we go back to court.
With a Formal Diversion Program, you’re actually monitored by a probation officer and have to check in with that officer every month in addition to completing the Anti-Shoplifting Class, community service and other stipulations.
Expungement Options in Florida
If you plead guilty to the theft charge, or are convicted at trial, however, you will be unable to expunge your record. That means that the theft will remain on your record PERMANENTLY.
Having a theft charge on your record can result in serious consequences going forward. Most employers are going to be very unlikely, and unwilling to hire you because you’ve been convicted or pled guilty to a crime involving deceit and stealing. No one wants to employ someone they think is going to steal from them. The theft charge could also negatively impact your housing situation and make it difficult for you to sign a lease on a home or apartment.
This is why you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side to help you secure the best results possible for your individual situation. At the Rossen Law Firm we have over ten years of experience dealing with Florida theft cases and continually secure excellent results for our clients.
FREE Strategy Session for People Facing South Florida Theft & Fraud Charges
If you or a loved one has been charged with a theft crime, call Rossen Law Firm today to schedule a free strategy session. We’ll sit down with you, listen to your full story and discuss what we are confident would be the best course of action for you going forward.