Defending Burglary, Larceny, Robbery, Shoplifting, and Theft Charges and Offenses in Florida

Although unfortunate, every society must come to terms with the fact that crimes will be committed.

That seems to be even more true in today’s world, where the economy, recent housing crisis, unemployment rates, and financial inequality aren’t helping anyone make ends meet.

Low wages and big profits for competition tend to make retailers an easy target for shoplifting and theft, which is what we tend to see the most of here in Tampa.

We’ve also represented defendants charged with more serious offenses such as burglary and robbery – both of which require dedicated legal representation in order to provide the best possible outcome for our clients.

Why should I choose Fernandez Law Group if I am charged with burglary, larceny, robbery, shoplifting or theft?

These charges are very serious and require attorneys who are experienced and aggressive in order to identify evidence and witness testimony that can refute the allegations of prosecutors.

Tampa Attorney Frank FernandezFrank Fernandez, founder of Fernandez Law Group, has over 18 years experience handling these cases. Frank works these cases along with Jeff Quisenberry. Jeff was a former prosecutor for over 20 years who once handed these same cases from the prosecution side. He has since then become a defense attorney. Together, Frank and Jeff provide a serious defense team for the price of a sole practitioner.

We move quickly and efficiently, getting to the prosecutor long before the case gets to court. You have two attorneys on each case working for you – aggressively, competently, and comprehensively.

We understand how difficult it can be when faced with these types of charges.

There are many factors that can lead to someone picking up charges related to theft. The penalties in Florida can be very severe and these charges are not something to take lightly.

Fernandez Law Group Attorneys and AssociatesOur team of attorneys understands the difficult situations many families face on a day to day basis and the various crimes and charges that can be picked up along the way during hard times. Although this no excuse and in no way justifies resorting to crime, we recognize that poor decisions can be made by anyone at anytime, for reasons many may or may not ever understand.

We’re not here to judge you or your actions. We’re here to represent you and your best interests and provide you with the best possible outcome regardless of the severity of the charges. With our representation, we can get you through the ordeal with as little collateral damage along the way so you can get back on your feet and move forward with your life and put the past behind you.

We offer complete criminal defense solutions for everyone, including record seal and expungement.

DeleteFlorida law provides an option for qualifying individuals to have certain criminal arrest records sealed or expunged if those records stem from a single arrest or incident.

The process is rather complicated and the requirements as per Florida Statutes are very complex. Aside from having a knowledge of the process, many people have difficulty understanding what types of records can be sealed or expunged, and whether or not they qualify.

Our criminal defense attorneys can really go a long way in helping you achieve this goal – and we have a new solution available to help you get your record sealed or expunged. This along with removing any online mugshots or web pages that may hurt your future employment, rental, lease, or business opportunities.

Types of burglary, larceny, robbery, shoplifting, and theft charges in Florida with general sentencing guidelines:

There are many factors that can lead to someone picking up charges related to theft. The penalties in Florida can be very severe and these charges are not something to take lightly. Here in Tampa, we generally see the following types of crimes related to theft:

Petit Theft (Petty Theft)

Petty theft is the common term for what is known as Petit Theft in Florida. Petit or Petty Theft is broken into Second and First Degrees.

Petit Theft of the Second Degree

  • In Florida, petty theft of the second degree usually involves property stolen which has a value less than $100. This is the lowest level of theft offense, and is a misdemeanor of the second degree. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.)
  • A sentence of imprisonment of not more than 60 days and a fine not to exceed $500 can result from conviction of a misdemeanor of the second degree in Florida. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)

Petit Theft of the First Degree

  • Petty theft of the first degree is also punishable as a first degree misdemeanor and involves situations where the property stolen is valued over $100 and less than $300. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.)
  • After a conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree, the offender may receive a definite term of imprisonment of not less than one year and a fine of not more than $1,000. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)

Grand Theft of the Third Degree

Grand theft of the third degree is a felony here in Florida and can include a number of offenses including:

    • Theft of property valued between $100 and $300 if taken from a home.
    • Theft of property valued at less than $20,000
    • Theft of a motor vehicle
    • Theft of wills
    • Theft of a commercial farm animal
    • Theft of Firearms
    • Theft of a Fire Extinguisher
    • Theft of a stop sign
    • Theft of construction equipment and property from construction sites
    • Theft of controlled substances
    • Theft of anhydrous ammonia (used in methamphetamine manufacture)

The charges for third degree felonies in Florida typically result in a prison term not to exceed five (5) years and a fine no greater than $5,000. – (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)

Grand Theft of the Second Degree

Also a felony of the second degree in Florida, the following offenses qualify for grand theft charges of the second degree:

    • Theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000
    • Theft of emergency medical equipment with a value of $300 or more
    • Theft of law enforcement equipment with a value of $300 or more
    • Theft of intrastate or interstate commerce valued at $50,000 or less

Second degree felonies in Florida typically result in a prison sentence not to exceed fifteen (15) years and a fine of $10,000 or less.

Grand Theft of the First Degree

In Florida, grand theft of the first degree is the most serious level of theft that can be committed in Florida. These charges result in a felony of the first degree, and the following types of crimes fall into this category:

    • Theft of property exceeding $100,000 in value
    • Theft of intrastate or interstate cargo valued over $50,000
    • Theft of any deployed semitrailers and related monitoring stations of law enforcement
    • Theft in which the offender uses a motor vehicle as an instrument of the crime while causing more than $1,000 in personal or real property damages. – (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014.)
    • For sentencing, first degree felonies in Florida typically carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years along with fines not to exceed $10,000. – (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 77.082, 77.083.)


empty shopping cartFlorida refers to shoplifting as retail theft, and is typically committed in a number of ways, including taking possession of or carrying away property of the merchant, altering price tags and labels, transferring or hiding merchandise in different containers, removing a shopping cart of merchandise, and fraudulent returns. The charges can vary depending on value.

  • Shoplifting charges for property with a combined value less than $100 is second degree petit theft. Fines can reach $500 and jail time can be as many as 60 days.
  • Shoplifting charges for property with a combined value more than $100 but less than $300 is first degree petit theft. Fines can reach $1000 and jail time can be as much as a full year.
  • Shoplifting charges for property with a combined value more than $300 and less than $20,000 is third degree grand theft, a third degree felony. These fines can hit $5,000 and land offenders with up to five (5) years in prison.

Also keep in mind, here in Florida there are increased charges for subsequent convictions of petit theft and shoplifting. In some cases, public service may be substituted for fines. If fines are instituted, they range from $50-$1000 with an additional 60 days to 1 year in jail per instance.


Robbery involves using force, violence, or threat of violence against another person for the purpose of committing a theft upon that person. This is also a very serious charge in Florida as it is a felony which can be punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison. If a weapon or firearm was used, the sentence can double, and becomes punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.


Burglary involves entering a home, business, building or vehicle with the intent to commit a crime within. Depending on the severity of the crime, penalties can range from five (5) years to life in prison. If you see signs that say private property, you should definitely respect the rights of the owner and steer clear because in Florida, simple trespassing can also lead to burglary charges.

Burglary with Battery

Burglary with battery is even more serious. If the burglary was committed along with an assault, battery, weapon possession or severe property damage, then it becomes a first degree felony here in Florida.


Similar to burglary, however, the major difference is that with larceny, the perpetrator does not commit the act of illegally entering into a structure with force, without force, or attempt of force.

Motor vehicles are not considered a structure. Therefore, if an individual enters a motor vehicle and removes parts, accessories, or personal property, larceny has been committed. It makes no difference if the vehicle was locked or unlocked.

The most common types of larceny reported in Florida for 2013 were as follows, and are listed in order by number of incidents:

  • Miscellaneous – all other
  • Theft from a motor vehicle
  • Shoplifting
  • Theft of motor vehicle parts
  • Theft from outdoor shed or building
  • Theft of bicycles
  • Pick Pocketing / Pocket Picking
  • Purse Snatching
  • Theft from coin operated devices

Prior Theft Convictions and the impact they have on current cases:

handcuffedHere in Florida, in cases of petit theft where the offender has been convicted previously for any type of theft offense, the charges will be upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor.

When an offender has two or more previous theft convictions, petit theft can then be increased to a third degree felony offense.

Additional civil penalties related to theft in Florida

Civil Liability

If an individual commits theft, they may be held civilly liable to the victim. And if a minor child is involved, a parent or legal guardian can also be held civilly liable as well.

Anyone held civilly liable for theft in Florida can typically expect the following:

Judgment for three times the amount of monetary damage or $200, whichever is greater. This amount is typically based on the value of the merchandise stolen.

Additionally, reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs for pursuing the civil suit may also apply.

Driver’s License Suspensions

Florida Sample Drivers LicenseFlorida courts have the discretion and authority to determine whether or not a license suspension will be imposed for anyone convicted of theft. The suspension can be imposed for a simple petit theft of something as small as a pack of gum.

Without question, anyone who has been previously convicted of theft will receive a suspension of driving privileges.

First offenses will incur a suspension of no more than 6 months, however, subsequent offenses can result in suspensions lasting more than a year. If the offender is a juvenile, a withholding of license issuance may result.

As your attorneys, our goal is to provide you with experienced and aggressive representation in order to help get you the best possible outcome when faced with any charges. And if you’re dealing with any theft charges, especially robbery and burglary, you’re going to need a solid defense.

Don’t be intimidated, come in and talk to us. The consultation is free. We can help you.

Call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and find out what we can do to begin helping you with your defense immediately!



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Google+ icon Content authored by Gaston Fernandez


Note to visitors:

Foreclosure Defense Attorney is a sub-site of Fernandez Law Group with a focus on providing solutions for homeowners who are facing foreclosure in Tampa.


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