Petit Theft is a serious charge and if you have been arrested for it you need legal assistance right away. In Orange County (Orlando) Judges will routinely give jail time for these charges even on a first offense. It is considered a crime of dishonestly and if you are convicted will follow you for a lifetime. It will make it more difficult to find high paying jobs and can be used against you if you are every charged with another crime down the road.
This is also a charge that is enhanceable. What that means is every time you get convicted of this charge it makes it a more serious crime and bumps up the possible jail time and even becomes a felony of the 3rd degree if you have 2 prior convictions and get arrested and charged again. A felony of the 3rd degree is punishable by up to 5 years in the state prison.
Petit theft is any amount under 300 dollars and most commonly is associated with retail theft or shoplifting.
When arrested for this charge you may also get a letter to pay 200 dollars, this is unrelated to the criminal punishment and is a civil issue that you can be sued over if you do not pay. By paying it your charges will not go away.
If you find yourself in trouble for this charge or any criminal or traffic case seek assistance from an experienced defense attorney right away. Many times the sooner you hire an attorney makes the difference because we can contact the prosecutor and start negotiating your case right away.