New Law in Florida Increased the Theft Threshold Amount

Effective on October 1, 2019, a new law in Florida passed under 2019 CS/HB 7125 increases the threshold amounts for the following theft offenses:


Offense 


Current Threshold 


New Threshold 


First-degree petit theft 


≥ $100, but < $300 


≥ $100, but < $750 

Third-degree grand theft 
≥ $300, but < $20,000 
≥ $750, but < $20,000

Third-degree grand theft of property from a dwelling or its enclosed curtilage 


≥ $100, but < $300 


≥ $100, but < $750





This means that effective on October 1, 2019, 2019 CS/HB 7125 increased the threshold amount for third-degree felony theft and retail theft from $300 or more to $750 or more.

Critics of raising the threshold amounts argued that the change would incentivize offenders to steal items of greater value, although studies in other states to make this change did not have that problem.

For example, a study of 23 states that changed felony theft thresholds between 2001 and 2011 revealed:
  • increasing the felony theft threshold had no impact on the states' overall property crime or larceny rates;
  • the states that increased the thresholds reported roughly the same average decrease in crime as the 27 states that did not; and
  • the amount of a state's felony theft threshold did not correlate with the state's property crime and larceny rates.

See Lauren Krisai, Stuck in the 80s: Time for Reform of Florida's Felony Theft Threshold, The Journal of the James Madison Institute (Spring 2017).

Changes to the Way the Amounts in Theft Crimes are Aggregated


The new legislation also increases the period for which the value of the property taken during multiple thefts may be aggregated to determine the offense level from 48 hours to 30 days.

This new crime has a 30-day aggregation period under which any property taken or placed within such period can be aggregated to determine the offense level of the crime.

For example, for the second-degree felony version of retail theft, a 30 day aggregation period applies to determine whether the value of the property taken over a series of retail thefts exceeds $3,000.

Conspiring to Commit Retail Theft with the Intent to Sell Stolen Property



The new legislation in Florida makes it a crime to conspire to commit retail theft with the intent to sell the stolen property for monetary gain, when the person who commits the theft subsequently places the stolen property in the control of another person in exchange for consideration.

The new crime of conspiring to commit retail theft to subsequently place the stolen property in the control of another person also qualifies as a second-degree felony if the value of the property taken, aggregated over 30 days, exceeds $3,000.

Changes for Other Types of Theft Crimes in Florida



Florida new theft law that takes effect on October 1, 2019, also increases the threshold amounts for other theft offenses including:


  • Theft of State Funds 
    • Second Degree Misdemeanor was < $300 now < $1,000 
    • Third Degree Felony was ≥ $300 now ≥ $1,000 
  • Obtaining Food or Lodging with Intent to Defraud 
    • Second Degree Misdemeanor was < $300 now < $1,000 
    • Third Degree Felony was ≥ $300 now ≥ $1,000 
  • Removal of Property Upon Which a Lien Has Accrued 
    • Second Degree Misdemeanor was ≤ $50 now < $1,000 
    • Third Degree Felony was > $50 now ≥ $1,000 
  • Sale of Used Motor Vehicle Goods as New 
    • First Degree Misdemeanor was None now < $1,000 
    • Third Degree Felony was > $100 now ≥ $1,000

Special Rules for Theft of a Fire Extinguisher


Under the new legislation, theft of a fire extinguisher qualifies as a third-degree felony regardless of the actual value of the item, but only when the fire extinguisher is actually installed in a building for the purpose of fire prevention or control at the time of the taking.


The new legislation specifically excludes the theft of a fire extinguisher from the inventory at a point-of-sale business as a third-degree felony, but the theft offense level will be determined by the actual value of the property.


Attorneys for Theft Crimes in Florida



The criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients accused of theft crimes throughout Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the greater Tampa Bay area. Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL, just a few blocks from the courthouse.


We also have a second office located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, across from the courthouse at the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced fighting a variety of theft crimes including petit theft, grand theft, and retail theft.

Call 813-250-0500.