Juvenile Petit Theft

Juvenile Petit TheftCases of theft among young adults and children are not uncommon, as 25 percent of all arrested shoplifters are teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. Florida has reduced the severity of charges for theft under $750, meaning that the act is no longer considered a felony, but petit theft is still classified as an actionable offense.

Having a theft charge on your record can be damaging to your career and other aspects of your life, including your academic future. If you or your child has recently been convicted of petit theft, you should understand your rights and learn the best way to approach your case. Building a solid defense is necessary to prevent the court from imposing lasting damage on a teenager who made a mistake. 

Here at The Umansky Law Firm, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Before you bring your case to court, take a look below to learn more about the basics of petit theft and how your or your child can avoid incurring any serious penalties from a minor offense. 

What Is Petit Theft?

Commonly referred to as shoplifting, petit theft is considered one of the top three most common juvenile crimes in Florida. Studies have shown that juvenile shoplifters account for the largest percentage of all shoplifters. From big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart to small business operations, petit theft is an offense that affects everyone. 

There are instances of petit theft that are not considered shoplifting, however. Stealing personal possessions from someone, like jewelry or a vehicle, would also be considered petit theft. Although the two variations on the crime may seem different, they have similar consequences. These penalties can vary depending on the nature of the theft and what was stolen.

Petit Theft Penalties and Charges

The severity of a petit theft charge is directly related to the monetary value of the stolen items, which is determined by the judge after an investigation has taken place. Any damages to property or other items that occurred during the theft will also be considered as part of the court’s determination. 

Theft of items valued at less than $100, considered a second-degree misdemeanor offense, may be subject to a maximum $500 fine or 60 days of jail time. Theft between $100 and $300 is a first-degree misdemeanor and might incur a $1,000 fine or one year of jail time.

Many sentences that juveniles receive during petit theft cases are based on mandatory restitution and the hope of preventing convicted youth from becoming repeat offenders. Individuals who commit petit theft early in their life can often wind up with lasting consequences to their careers and personal records. 

Long-Term Consequences of Petit Theft 

Employers will often conduct a background check on all prospective employees. During this process, they can evaluate the public criminal record of anyone they might be thinking of hiring. Having a conviction for theft on your background check can disqualify you from many positions, especially in retail or service industries. 

Being charged for juvenile theft can have lasting effects on the behavior of teenagers. Research indicates that over 80 percent of individuals who were convicted of criminal charges in their youth were rearrested by age 28. The trajectory for delinquency at a young age leading into adulthood is an unfortunate consequence of being put through the criminal justice system.

Facing a judicial charge doesn’t always mean ruining your life, of course. Working with a lawyer who has experience in juvenile theft cases can help you identify ways to avoid penalties and other lasting consequences. 

Contact an Experienced Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Orlando

Are you being brought to court over petit theft damages? Is your child being brought to court over a shoplifting charge? Before you begin building your defense, talk to a trained professional who can help. The Umansky Law Firm is willing to fight for you and your family every step of the way.

Our team of former prosecutors will walk you through the defense process step by step and show you how to obtain the best results for your individual case. We will work with you to develop your defense and ensure your rights are protected. 

To learn more, call 407-228-3838 or contact us online for a free consultation and case evaluation. We look forward to helping you get the justice that you deserve.