Tampa Petit Theft Defense Attorney
Petit theft, more commonly known as “petty” theft, is not as serious of a criminal charge as grand theft, however, a petty theft conviction can still be very harmful to your criminal record and may result in jail time, costly fines, and probation. While a single instance of petty theft may not result in long-term damage to your Florida criminal record, multiple petty theft offenses can tarnish your record and make it difficult for you to obtain employment or attend college. Further, petty theft tends to be the start to a life of theft-related crimes for many young individuals in Florida. As such, if you or your loved one is facing petit theft charges in Florida, now is the time to speak with an attorney. Tampa Petit Theft Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. works hard to ensure each client’s petit theft charge is dealt with in the best way possible to reach a favorable outcome.
Petit Theft in Florida
Under Florida law, petit theft, more commonly known as petty theft in other states, is one of Florida’s less serious theft crimes. Despite the fact that petty theft is less serious than grand theft or robbery, the crime can result in a conviction that haunts your record for an unknown period of time. As with most crimes, the crime of petit theft is broken down into different categories as follows:
- Second Degree Petit Theft – An individual may be charged with and convicted of petit theft if he or she knowingly obtains, uses, or tries to obtain or use the property of another with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the person of his or her property, and the property at issue is valued at less than $100.
- First Degree Petit Theft – An individual may be charged with and convicted of petit theft if he or she knowingly obtains, uses, or tries to obtain or use the property of another with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the person of his or her property, and the property at issue is valued at more than $100, but less than $300.
Facing a first degree petit theft charge is one step away from facing a grand theft felony charge. If the value of the property at issue is at least $300, you may be charged with third degree grand theft. Because there is such a fine line between first degree petit theft and third degree grand theft, you need the help of a qualified Tampa Theft Defense Attorney who handles theft charges on a regular basis. Marc A. Joseph, P.A. understands just how serious and frightening a petit theft charge can be for you and your loved ones, and he provides each client with a plan of action outlining the appropriate steps that must be taken in order to resolve the petit theft charge as smoothly as possible.
Consequences of Petit Theft in Florida
The penalties you face if you are convicted of petit theft in Florida may result in jail time, even though the crime is typically not considered to be very serious. Florida law imposes the following range in punishment for petit theft convictions:
- Second Degree Misdemeanor – An individual convicted of second degree petit theft is facing a second degree misdemeanor which carries with it the potential for jail time not to exceed sixty days and the imposition of a fine not to exceed $500.
- First Degree Misdemeanor – An individual convicted of first degree petit theft is facing a first degree misdemeanor which carries with it the potential for jail time not to exceed one year and the imposition of a fine not to exceed $1,000.
In addition to facing potential jail time and fines, you also face civil penalties to provide compensation to the individual whose property was stolen. Such penalties are dependent upon the value of the property taken. Further, having a petit theft conviction on your criminal record will be a visible scar to prospective employers who review your job applications and run a mandatory criminal background check. Admissions committees at colleges or universities you wish to attend will also see this blemish on your criminal record, and this is just one strike against you that could prevent you from being accepted to the school of your choice.
Given that there are a multitude of negative consequences that may result from a petit theft conviction in Florida, it is in your best interest to take all steps possible to overcome the petit theft charge without serving jail time and without tarnishing your criminal record forever. With the guidance of Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A., you will have the best defense possible to fight the petit theft charge against you. If possible, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will seek to have the petit theft charge dismissed. It is not unheard of for law enforcement officers to violate your constitutional rights in the course of an arrest (such as a failure to read you your Miranda rights).
If it is simply not possible or highly unlikely that your Florida petit theft charge can be dismissed, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will negotiate with the charging prosecutor to reach a result that will be fair to you given the severity of your conduct. If you are a first time offender, you may be able to avoid a conviction on your record, and instead may plead to a lesser charge and/or agree to a deferred adjudication or other diversion program in lieu of being convicted and serving jail time and/or paying hefty fines. However, as part of any deferred adjudication or diversion program, there will be terms that you must adhere to in order to successfully complete the program and overcome your Florida petit theft charge with a clean slate.
If you already have a blemished criminal record, it is even more crucial that you speak with Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. right away. While you may have a tougher climb to avoid another petit theft conviction on your record and/or to avoid jail time, the stronger your attorney is, the better defense you will have, and the more likely that you will be able to reach an outcome that you believe is fair given the facts of your case.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you know is facing Florida petit theft charges, it is imperative that you consider speaking with a qualified Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Even though petit or “petty” theft does not typically result in the same severe consequences as grand theft and other theft-related charges, it is still a criminal charge that should be taken seriously. Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. treats all petty theft charges just as seriously as any other criminal charge, as each and every client deserves thorough one-on-one legal representation. With more than 16 years of experience helping his clients fight petty theft and other criminal charges, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has the skill, reputation and dedication to help you reach the most reasonable outcome to your current situation. If you would like to speak with Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A., contact our office today by calling (813) 234-6374 to schedule your free consultation. Marc A. Joseph, P.A., also provides Robbery Legal Defense Services in Tampa, and is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns.