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  • Writer's pictureLee Meadows

Petty theft and What You Should Know

What is a petit theft, and what counts as petty theft?

This is Florida's lowest-level theft offense, commonly known as “petty theft.” Petit theft occurs when a person intentionally steals or attempts to steal property from a person or business when the value of the property is less than $750. The theft can occur anywhere, it does not have to be in a store. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Shoplifting

  • Pickpocketing

  • Taking someone's animals, even in good faith (such as removing the animal from a bad situation), IF the value of the animal is deemed to be worth less $750 and if the theif was allowed on the property where the animal was located.

  • Dine and dash (leaving a restaurant without paying).

  • Fueling at a gas station and driving off without paying.

  • Switching tags on items in a store to make the prices inaccurate.

  • Intentionally not scanning items at self-checkout and placing them in the bag.

* For all of these examples, the theif must be legally allowed on the property where the theft took place.

What are the penalties for petit theft?

The penalities of petty theft depends on the severity and if the perpetrator has a history of petty theft.

  • If the property stolen is valued at less than $100, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. A person convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor can face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

  • If the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $750, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. A person convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

  • If this is a repeat petit theft, the offense will be increased to a first-degree misdemeanor because the offender has previously been convicted of theft. Two or more theft convictions will then increase a petit theft offense to a third-degree felony.


Joey went to the store to buy groceries. After he got all of his groceries, he went to the self-checkout line to pay and bag his items. As he is checking out, he decides to not scan a few items because he doesn’t think that anyone would notice. As he attempts to leave the store, there is an employee by the exit waiting to check his receipt. As the employee checks the receipt, he notices a couple of items in the cart that are not on the receipt. The employee calls the manager, and the manager calls the police, as they believe that Joey was intending on stealing the items. The police arrive and check the cameras, where they see Joey intentionally not scanning a few items, while scanning others. The employees and police agree that this was intentional and premeditated, and Joey is charged with petty theft and is also now banned from all store locations of the business’s chain.

Disclaimer: The content of this page is NOT a substitution for legal advice.

See Statute Section 812.014.

Have a Petit Theft Charge? Talk with Tallahassee Attorney and Lawyer Lee Meadows! Call (850) 244-8873 or Email!


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