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Theft Crimes

Most theft crimes occur throughout the Florida panhandle if they intentionally take another person’s property. However, theft crime allegations can frequently arise from a mistake or false accusations. For example, anyone who accidentally walks out of a store without paying for an item can be charged with a shoplifting or retail theft in South Walton.

Theft offenses are also commonly known as larceny, shoplifting, petit theft, grand theft and petty theft, and a conviction can result in serious consequences. Since theft crimes are often known as crimes or dishonesty or moral turpitude, they can result in an inability to pursue certain professions or education opportunities. Additionally, a conviction can result in a jail or prison sentence, fines, civil penalties and/or a criminal record.

If you have been charged with a theft offense in Destin, it is important to know you do not have to face a conviction for the offense. The state prosecutor must prove you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden and any doubt in the mind of the judge or jury can result in a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Therefore, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will make every effort to help you create your best legal defense.

DeFuniak Springs Theft Crimes Lawyer

Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation about your alleged theft crime throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City.

The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are experienced defending theft crimes and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at if you have been charged with a theft offense throughout Destin and South Walton.


South Walton Theft Crimes Information Center


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Theft Offenses in Destin

Some of the most commonly prosecuted theft offenses throughout South Walton includes:

  • Theft, Fla. Stat. § 812.014 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they knowingly take or use another person’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily keep it. This offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree, felony of the second degree, felony of the third degree, misdemeanor of the first degree or misdemeanor of the second degree, depending on whether the offense was grand theft or petit theft and the value of the property stolen.
  • Shoplifting, Fla. Stat. § 812.015 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally take or steal merchandise, money or property from a store, change or remove a label or price tag, transfer merchandise from one container or package to another or take a shopping cart. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the second or first degree or felony of the third or second degree, depending on the value of the merchandise and whether the alleged offender has any prior convictions.
  • Robbery, Fla. Stat. § 812.13 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they take another person’s money or property through the use of force, violence, assault or by causing fear with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the property or money. This offense is punishable as a felony of the first or second degree, depending on whether the alleged offender carried a weapon during the commission of the offense.
  • Carjacking, Fla. Stat. § 812.133 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they take a car or motor vehicle from another person through the use of force, assault, violence or by causing fear with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the automobile or car. This offense is punishable as a life felony or felony of the first degree and is also commonly known as grand theft auto.
  • Dealing in Stolen Property, Fla. Stat. § 812.019 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they sell, transfer, distribute, dispense or dispose of property they knew or should have known was stolen. This offense is punishable as a felony of the second or first degree, depending on whether the alleged offender was in charge of a stolen property ring or organization.

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South Walton Theft Crime Penalties

Sections 775.082, 775.083 and 775.084 of the Florida Statutes provide the general penalties and punishments for theft crime conviction in the Florida panhandle. These penalties can vary depending on the type of offense, the degree of offense, the value of the property, whether a weapon was used during the commission of the offense, and whether the alleged offender has any previous convictions. The basic statutory penalties are as follows:

  • An individual convicted of a misdemeanor of the second-degree theft offense can face a jail sentence up to 60 days and/or a fine not more than $500.
  • An individual convicted of a misdemeanor of the first-degree theft offense can receive a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine not more than $1,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the third-degree theft offense can face a prison sentence up to five years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the second-degree theft offense can face a prison sentence up to 15 years and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the first-degree theft offense can receive a prison sentence up to 30 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • An individual convicted of a life felony theft offense can face up to life in prison or for a term of imprisonment not more than life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $15,000.

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Theft Civil Penalty in Florida

Criminal charges for committing a theft offense throughout the Florida panhandle can also result in a civil penalty under Fla. Stat. § 772.11. Anyone who is an alleged victim of theft and proves through clear and convincing evidence they were a victim of a theft crime, retail theft or shoplifting is permitted to pursue civil penalties against the alleged offender. A civil penalty generally involves monetary restitution or repayment for the property taken.

Most commonly, store owners or merchants will pursue this form of remedy, in addition to criminal penalties, by sending a demand letter to the alleged shoplifter to pay for the items allegedly taken.  If the alleged shoplifter does not pay the amount within 30 days, the store can then sue the alleged offender for the penalty. Most stores and companies will send the demand letter, but not actually pursue a lawsuit if the alleged offender does not pay the amount of the penalty. Civil lawsuits are very time-consuming and costly, and not worth it for the amount of money the store, retailer or merchant receive for the civil penalty.

It is important to first consult with an attorney if you have been charged with a criminal shoplifting offense and have received a demand letter seeking payment for the items allegedly stolen.  However, if you have received a civil demand letter or have been accused of theft or shoplifting charges, it is imperative to contact an experienced South Walton theft lawyer who will advise you based on the facts of your particular situation.


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Destin Theft Crime Resources

Florida Statutes Online – This link is to Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes, which defines many theft offenses, including petit theft, grand theft, retail theft, shoplifting, robbery, and carjacking, in addition to the penalties an individual can face if convicted.

Florida Shoplifting and Petty Theft Course – The Florida Safety Council, a statewide non-profit organization that promotes safety, provides this shoplifting and petty theft course, which may be court-ordered for individuals charged with theft offenses. The purpose of the course is to provide a means for alleged offenders to examine their behavior, attitude, and actions, and to identify steps necessary to make positive changes.

NASP – Shoplifting Course – The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention is a national organization that seeks to prevent the recurrence of shoplifting and also creates new initiatives and programs aimed at reducing shoplifting occurrences. This link is to the organization’s shoplifting class, which is called the Shoplifters Alternative Course and may be ordered by the court as a term to punishment.


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Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | South Walton Theft Offense Attorney

If you have been accused of a theft offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County, contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today. Our firm fights to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Clay Adkinson of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC is an aggressive DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorney who will make every to fight the allegations against you and help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation at or send an online message about your theft charges today.