Petit theft is defined as the deprivation and appropriation of the property of another valued at $750.00 or less, and the theft does not have to occur in a store.
The value of stolen goods will determine whether a charge will be filed as petty theft or grand theft.
First degree Petit Theft
The offender commits petit theft in the first degree when:
- The stolen property is valued at more than $100 but less than $750.
- The defendant has previously been convicted of any theft crime.
- First-degree petit theft is punishable with penalties of up to 1 year in jail, or 13 months of probation, and a $1000 fine.
Second degree Petit Theft
The offender commits petit theft in the second degree when:
- The stolen property at issue is valued at less than $100.
Second-degree petit theft is punishable by a fine of $500, 60 days in jail, and 6 months of probation.
Felony Petit Theft
The offender commits a third-degree felony when:
- The defendant has been convicted two or more times of any theft offense.
Felony Petit Theft is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or 5 years probation.
Proof at trial
To prove Petit Theft at trial, the prosecution must use several tools to display the occurrence, such as:
- Testimony of the defendant.
- Testimony of witnesses and officers.
- Video surveillance.
- The stolen items and/or photographs of the stolen items.
Defenses to Petit Theft
There are several arguments to defend the charge of Petit Theft. The most common are:
- Prove co-ownership.
- Lack of Intent: If the defendant had a reasonable belief that the goods belong to him /her.
- Mere presence at the crime scene: Mere knowledge that an offense is being committed is insufficient to prove participation in the crime.
- Valueless Property.
- Defendant abandoned the attempt to commit the petit theft.
- Mistaken identity.
- Mistaken accusations.
- Poor quality of proofs.
- Price tags are being altered.
- Taking items for other purposes than stealing (for example when the defendant believed that danger or emergency existed).
Petit Theft is a criminal charge that needs to be taken seriously. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with the crime of Petit Theft, it is imperative to have a professional and experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Russell Spatz has over four decades of experience.
To meet with Attorney Russell Spatz to discuss your criminal matter, please call the Spatz Law Firm, PL, at 305-442-0200.