Under Florida Law, prosecutors must be able to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the accused is guilty. This is much harder than appears in the movies. Nonetheless, all participants should be familiar with the differences between felonies and misdemeanors, theft and larceny, and all terms related to their potential charge. Below, our team of experts did just that.
Terms Related to Theft Charges
- Larceny: a group of crimes that result in taking another’s property (this is actually a type of theft).
- Grand Theft: a type of felony charge that involves the taking of another’s property with value of $750 or greater.
- Petit Theft: a misdemeanor charge that involved the taking of another’s property with a total value less than $750.
- Good Faith Possession: when a defendant had reason to believe the property was rightfully theirs; which results in having no proof of intent to steal.
- Felony: a criminal charge that is more serious than a misdemeanor. Typically, this results in imprisonment for over a year.
- Misdemeanor: an offense that is punishable by law that involves shorter periods of jail time, typically under 1 year, and/or fines.
- Property Value Felonies: when someone takes a piece of property temporarily or permanently depriving the owner of it. The item stolen and its value will determine whether the accused is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.
- Categorical Felonies: these are in place to charge the accused with a felony no matter the value of the item stolen. For example, some states say if one steals a car, firearm, etc. he/she is charged with a felony no matter the actual value of the item stolen.
- Criminal History Felonies: Repeat criminal offenders may automatically be charged with a felony no matter the value of the property stolen.
- Aggregated Felonies: this occurs when the law allows prosecutors to charge the accused with a felony if a series of events occurred within a certain time frame. For example, if the accused stole prepaid phones from multiple stores over the course of a month, they technically stole misdemeanor-level values of property from each store but the grand total of items is felony-level offenses.
Theft-Related Penalties Defined
- Prison: for theft-related offenses imprisonment is common for felony level offenses. These sentences can be significant depending on the nature of the offense.
- Fines: compensation due to the court system for the offender’s wrongdoing.
- Restitution: in addition to any fines, courts require convicted criminals to pay money to compensate the owner of the property for their loss.
- Probation: a period of post-conviction supervision in either felony or misdemeanor court. Terms can vary based on the offense and the Defendant’s criminal history.
Talk With Our Experts
We offer free consultations 24/7 so contact our team to discuss charges and/or ask questions about theft offenses. You can also read more about theft & property crimes on our website anytime. We’re here to help!