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Theft laws and penalties in Florida

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Some people use theft interchangeably with burglary and robbery, but it is a different crime. Theft in Florida commonly covers several offenses, including grand theft, shoplifting, and larceny.

Overview of theft in Florida

To be considered theft in Florida, the offender must take a person’s property with the intent to deprive them of it. The offender intended to convert the property for their own use or appropriate it to another unauthorized person. Robbery differs from theft because it commonly involves threats of violence and bodily harm or using fear to obtain goods.

While theft commonly includes stealing tangible items, such as jewelry, it may involve non-tangible items and services. For example, if a person splices a cable cord and uses it for their own benefit without paying, it is an offense. If the person is entrusted to the property and steals it, it is embezzlement, such as stealing from cash registers.


The penalties for first-degree grand theft include up to a $10,000 fine and 30 years in jail. Second-degree grand theft penalties include a 15-year jail term and up to a $10,000 fine. Third-degree grand theft penalties include a maximum five years in jail and maximum $5,000 fine.

Petty theft is the least serious charge, with a maximum 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for a second- degree offense. Petty theft in the first degree includes penalties of a maximum $1,000 fine and up to one year of jail.

Offenders often must pay restitution, and they could be charged in civil court. However, the prosecution must prove the defendant committed the crimes. A good defense strategy may be able to find loopholes in the arrest or get charges reduced by plea deals.