Florida just enacted a new theft statute that raises the threshold for first-degree petit theft from $300 to $750 (2019 HB 7125). The prosecutor has the burden of proving the fair market value of the stolen property.
Despite this change in the threshold, Florida still has very harsh penalties for theft crimes. Any theft crime, from misdemeanor shoplifting to felony grand theft is particularly serious because it is considered a “crime of dishonesty.”
A conviction for any crime of dishonesty has serious collateral consequences that can hurt you when you apply for a job, during a background check, or if you ever testify in a court of law.
Under the Florida Fingerprint Requirement, anyone found guilty of theft (even petit theft or shoplifting) is required to have their fingerprints taken in court. The judge is required to affix a written judgment to the file which then becomes a public record. Even if you are not convicted, your name can go into a national database used by employers when they conduct background checks.
Additionally, prior convictions for theft can increase the sentence if you are caught re-offending. In certain types of cases, any subsequent charges can be enhanced based on a prior conviction.
Call me now to discuss how to beat your theft allegation.