Theft Crimes

There are a multitude of crimes which can be committed against the property of another. There are two types of legally recognized property, real and personal. Real property relates to fixed locations: land, buildings, and fixtures. Personal property is everything else: purses, cars, clothing, ect. Crimes involving property of another generally stem from allegations of either taking that property or destruction of that property.

Theft Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville, FL

Theft is laid out in Florida Statues § 812.014(1) as being committed when: “[a] person . . . knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:” deprive the other person or to keep for use by self or use by another who is not authorized. This essentially means 1) the perpetrator must know what they are doing, 2) they must take or use property without permission, and 3) must actually intend them to no longer be able to use it or to keep it from them for some period of time.

Petit Theft 

Commonly referred to as “petty theft,” petit theft is defined by Florida Statutes § 812.014(2)(e)-(3)(c). The elements of petit theft are outlined above, the distinction between petit theft and a more serious type of theft is the value of property that is alleged to have been taken, less than $750.

Retail Theft

Retail theft, or “shoplifting” is normally charged as petit theft, but there are some aggravating circumstances outlined in Florida Statutes 015.

  • Third Degree Felony – Use of antishoplifting countermeasure or possession in a retail store, or shoplifting of property greater than $750. Florida Statutes  812.015(7)-(8).
  • Second Degree Felony – Retail theft of greater than $750 with the same previous conviction, an individual or group theft of over $3,000 within a 30-day period. Florida Statutes  812.015(9)(a)-(c).

Grand Theft

Most other theft is charged as Grand Theft. Once again, the only distinction in the underlining offense is the value of the property alleged to be stolen. There are further charging enhancers though.

  • Third Degree Felony – Theft of: up to $20,000 in any property, a testamentary document (like a will), a firearm, a motor vehicle, a farm animal, an installed fire extinguisher, 2,000 or more pieces of citrus fruit, any property from a construction site, a stop sign, or certain chemicals and controlled substances outlined in the statute. Florida Statutes § 812.014(c).
  • Second Degree Felony – Certain grand thefts normally charged third degree during a state of emergency as outlined by the statute, medical or law enforcement equipment over $300, and any other property up to $100,000. Florida Statutes § 812.014(b)(4) & (c)(13).
  • First Degree Felony – Property over $100,000; or the offender causes damage to real property of another and that damage is over $1,000 or a motor vehicle was used to cause the damage. Florida Statutes § 812.014(2)(a).


Robbery charges are dictated Florida Statutes § 813.13. Robbery is essentially theft with the added use of “force, violence, assault or fear.” A common description is a man on the street. If a person pickpockets his wallet, he’s committing a theft. If the pickpocket instead punches or throws the man to the ground and grabs his wallet, it would be charged as a robbery. The increase in severity comes with an increase in penalties.

  • Second Degree Felony – robbery without a weapon
  • First Degree Felony – robbery while using a weapon
    • If a firearm or other deadly weapon: Maximum life in prison, 30 years of probation, and $10,000 fine

Dealing in Stolen Property

The crime of dealing in stolen property is defined as trafficking stolen property, or endeavoring to traffic property that the person should know was stolen, as outlined in Florida Statutes § 812.019.

  • Second Degree Felony – Dealing in property, but not participating in the theft
  • First Degree Felony – “Any person who initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft,” in addition to the elements above.

Other Property Crimes in Jacksonville, FL

Non-theft property crimes are far more varied than theft-related offenses. Generally, these crimes refer to either the destruction or unauthorized use of someone else’s real or personal property.


Arson is the damage of a structure through fire, explosion or damages, dictated by Florida Statutes § 806.01. The action must be performed either willfully and unlawfully or while in the commission of a felony. If a person accidentally sets fire to a home during a burglary, arson charges can be pursued.

  • Second Degree Felony – arson that meets the above requirements but cannot satisfy the elements of first degree, structures known to not be occupied or no one would expect to be occupied. Florida Statutes § 806.01(2).
  • First Degree Felony – committed on a dwelling, on a structure where people are ordinarily present, or a structure that the person knew or should have known was occupied. Florida Statutes § 806.01(1).


Trespassing allegations are surprising complicated under Florida law, defined in Florida Statutes §§ 810.08-810.0975. Trespassing is the entering onto property without authorization or remaining on property after authorization has been revoked. The actual charge and the potential penalties vary with the specific allegations.


Burglary is very similar to trespassing but includes the intention to commit a crime other than the trespassing itself. According to Florida Statutes § 810.02, this is defined as “intent to commit an offense therein.” This additional criminality defines how serious the offense of burglary is. There is one exception to the below definitions, if a person is accused of using a vehicle to damage a structure or damages a structure in any manner in excess of $1,000, the actions can automatically be charged as a first-degree felony.

  • Third Degree Felony – no violence, no weapons, a dwelling (home) is not entered, and there is nobody present in the building. Florida Statutes § 810.02(4).
  • Second Degree Felony – burglary during a state of emergency; or a person without violence or weapon enters an occupied building or a dwelling of any kind. Florida Statutes § 810.02(3) & (4)(b).
  • First Degree Felony – All other burglaries are first degree felonies.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is the destruction of property, either by direct destruction or vandalism. This can be charged due to destruction of either real or personal property under Florida Statutes § 806.13.

Penalties for Theft and Property Crimes in Florida

  • Second Degree Misdemeanor
    • Maximum 60 days of jail, 6 months of probation, and $500 fine
  • First Degree Misdemeanor
    • Maximum 1 year of jail, 1 year of probation, and $1,000 fine
  • Third Degree Felony
    • Maximum 5 years of prison, 5 years of probation, and $5,000 fine
  • Second Degree Felony
    • Maximum 15 years of prison, 15 years of probation, and $10,000 fine
  • First Degree Felony
    • Maximum 30 years of prison, 30 years of probation, and $10,000 fine

Possible Defenses for Theft and Property Crimes in Jacksonville, FL

  • Factual Challenge – Invoked when there was another perpetrator, or the actual incident did not occur the way the government and the police are alleging it did
  • Intent – Crimes require a certain state of mind, or mens rea. If a crime requires an action to have been performed voluntarily, then fighting that element can result in a not guilty verdict. This is extremely common in theft and trespassing cases. It’s easy to accidentally walk out of a store with an item or wander onto the wrong property, there has to be some intent to have committed a crime.
  • Challenge of the Value – Many of the above crimes are charged as a more serious offense based on the value of the property alleged to be stolen or alleged to be damaged. A challenge to that value can lower the charges levied or even win the case at trial.
  • Constitutional Challenges – Theft related offenses often involve some sort of search by the police. It is easy for a police officer to accidentally violate the rights of a citizen by searching without a warrant or probable cause. An experienced defense lawyer in Jacksonville can seek to have all charges dropped in these circumstances.

Jacksonville, FL Criminal Defense Attorney

Lee Lockett and the members of the legal team at Lockett Law serve Duval county and the surrounding areas, defending individuals charged with any crime. Lee Lockett has decades of experience prosecuting and defending individuals accused of property crimes and has an expert knowledge of the laws and procedures involved. The defense team at Lockett law have the reputation and the dedication to fight for your rights and the best possible outcome in your case.  Call a Jacksonville Criminal Defense attorney today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation today.

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