Theft and property crimes: man in handcuffs


If you have been charged or arrested for theft or property offense (criminal mischief or vandalism)  in Gainesville or Ocala or the surrounding counties, you may face severe consequences and repercussions. Depending on the charge and the value of the property alleged to have been stolen, you could face jail time or prison, fines, probation, loss of educational or employment opportunities, driver license suspension and public embarrassment. Even a conviction for petit theft in Florida can carry up to 60 days in jail plus fines. Other theft crimes may mean a year in jail or even prison.

Theft and Property Crimes in Florida

A few of the most common Florida theft and property crimes are:

  • Shoplifting / Retail Theft
  • Petit Theft
  • Grand Theft
  • Dealing in Stolen Property
  • Burglary
  • Breaking and Entering
  • Vandalism
  • Arson

Ocala and Gainesville Theft Defense Attorney

Theft Attorneys Alavi & Pozzuto are skilled Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers who have successfully tried or negotiated positive results in numerous theft and property crime cases. Our attorneys are proven litigators who know the law and will vigorously challenge whatever evidence the state may have against you. Your best shot at avoiding the most severe punishment is to have an experienced trial attorney defending your rights. Please call Ocala | Gainesville Criminal Defense Lawyers Alavi & Pozzuto at (352) 732-9191 or email us about your case.

Theft Violations and Definitions in Florida Statutes

Retail Theft / Shoplifting – Florida Statutes § 812.015: A person can be charged with this offense if they have 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 store or merchant of the item.

Dealing in Stolen Property – Florida Statutes § 812.019: A person can be convicted of this offense if they knowingly participate in trafficking property they knew was stolen, or organize others who deal in stolen property.

Grand Theft – Florida Statutes § 812.014: Grand theft can be in the first, second or third degree, and usually involves knowingly taking someone else’s property valued at $300 or more with the intent to deprive that person of the property. Auto or motor vehicle theft is typically grand theft.

Petit Theft – Florida Statutes § 812.014: Petit theft can be in the first or second degree and is any theft not classified as grand theft, or the value of the property is less than $300.

Property Offense Definitions in Florida

Arson – Florida Statutes § 806.01: This offense occurs when someone intentionally damages a structure by fire or explosion. This offense can be in the first degree or second degree.

Burglary – Florida Statutes § 810.02: Burglary is entering a structure, dwelling, building, motor vehicle, ship, railroad car or aircraft that is closed to the public, or lawfully entering the place, but remaining when you are no longer allowed, with the intent to commit a crime in that building. Burglary can include breaking and entering offenses and auto burglary.

Criminal Mischief or Vandalism – Florida Statutes § 806.13: Criminal Mischief or Vandalism is defined as knowingly or intentionally damaging or destroying the property of someone else. This statute also covers Arson.

Penalties for Theft and Property Crimes in Florida

A conviction for theft or property charges in Florida can range from simple misdemeanors to felony charges that can incur hefty fines and prison time in addition to other penalties that may include civil infractions, driver license suspensions, and supplemental fines for theft crimes depending on the amount of the stolen property. The standard Florida sentencing guidelines for theft and property crimes are below:

  • Petit Theft in the second degree that causes less than $200 in damage is a misdemeanor of the second degree. This type of misdemeanor can result in not more than 60 days imprisonment and/or fines not exceeding $500.
  • Petit Theft in the first degree is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Someone convicted of this type of misdemeanor can incur up to one-year imprisonment and/or fines not more than $1,000.
  • The offenses of Retail Theft / Shoplifting of property worth $300 or more; Grand Theft in Third Degree; or unarmed, non-violent Burglary committed with no other people present are felonies of the third degree. A conviction for any of these felonies can lead to a Florida prison sentence of five years or less, and/or fines up to $5,000.
  • Someone can be convicted of a felony of the second degree if they commit Retail Theft / Shoplifting of property valued at $3,000 or more; knowingly participate in Dealing in Stolen Property; commit Grand Theft in the Second Degree; commit Burglary; or commit Arson in the second degree. These felonies can result in state prison sentences not more than 15 years, and/or fines up to $10,000.
  • If someone organizes, plans or directs others in Dealing in Stolen Property; commits Grand Theft in the First Degree; Armed Burglary or Aggravated Burglary; or Arson in the first degree, they can be convicted of a felony of the first degree. This type of conviction can result in fines not exceeding $10,000, and/or 30 years in state prison or life imprisonment, depending on the crime.

Resources for Theft and Property Crimes

Federal Trade Commission – Identity Theft – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information for consumers who have been victims of identity theft, information on how to prevent identity theft, and resources on what to do if your identity is stole.

Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous – Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous, or CASA, is a national organization that provides a place for those suffering from addictive-compulsive behavior to speak with people suffering from the same problems, and seek help for their addictions.

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention – The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, or NASP, is a national non-profit organization that seeks to prevent shoplifting by researching shoplifters, discussing shoplifting prevention methods with government officials, and creating shoplifting prevention programs.