In Tampa, Florida, Petit Theft is governed by Statute 812.014, which states:
"A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
(b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property."
The value of the property will determine the penalties. If the value is under $100, you will face up to 60 days in jail if charged with petit theft. If the value is over $100 but under $300, you will face up to one year in jail. If you have two or more prior convictions, the charge will be upgraded to a third degree felony offense and you will be facing up to five years in prison.
The good news is that for a first offense, an attorney may be able to negotiate with the State to get your charges dismissed if you agree to complete certain terms and conditions prior to trial. This would make you eligible to have your record sealed or expunged depending on the facts of the case.
If you have been charged with petit theft, consult with an attorney before your first court date. He or she may be able to attend court on your behalf and help you avoid harsh penalties.