In Florida, theft is defined as taking another person’s property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive them of the object. The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. What determines the level of offense is the theft threshold, or the value of the pilfered item.
Taking an Item Valued at $300 or More Is a Felony
Currently, at $300, the state has one of the lowest theft thresholds in the country. That means a person could be accused of committing a felony if they steal an item worth that amount or more. Taking a cell phone from a store could land a person in jail for 5 years. On top of incarceration, the individual could also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
Raising the Felony Theft Threshold
The harsh punishments for theft of an item valued at $300 or more will change. On October 1, 2019, a new law will go into effect that increases the threshold to $750. That means that if a person takes an item below that amount, they could be charged with first-degree petty theft, which is a misdemeanor and not a felony. The maximum jail time for this offense is 1 year.
The change in Florida’s theft threshold helps the state remain current with similar laws nationwide. When Governor Ron DeSantis approved the bill in June of 2019, it marked the first time in 35 years that such an update was made to legislation.
Aggregate Period Changes
If a person steals multiple items on different dates, the value of all the objects is combined to determine the total worth. Florida law limits the amount of time thefts can be aggregated. Currently, it is set at 48 hours. When the new law takes effect, the period will extend to 30 days. That means, if a person steals merchandise from various retailers over one month, which added together equals $3,000, they face a felony charge.
Schedule a Free Consultation with The Law Office of David A. Webster, P.A. Today
Being convicted of theft can have severe repercussions on your life, resulting in jail or prison time, fines, and difficulty getting a job after completing your sentence. Because the stakes are so high, it’s imperative to have a skilled attorney on your side to fight the accusations made against you. Our team is here to provide the skilled defense you need.
Discuss your case with us today by calling (407) 326-0650 or filling out an online contact form.