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Winston Citation Places Theft Crimes in Florida in the News

Petit theft made front page headlines last week when Heisman Trophy winner, and Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston found himself in the middle of an embarrassing predicament. According to a report by ESPN, Winston was arrested last Wednesday after allegedly leaving a Tallahassee area supermarket without paying for an order of crab legs and crawfish. Winston reportedly ordered the food from the store’s deli and walked around the aisles until it was prepared. Then, after receiving the food, he walked out of the store without making any payment. He was later arrested at his apartment after a store employee reportedly called the police and identified him.

According to the article, Winston admitted to the allegations quickly. He reportedly stated that he simply forgot to pay for the items and did not realize his mistake until arriving at home. However, police relied on Winston’s failure to contact or return to the store in the subsequent hours. The ESPN article states that Winston was not formally charged for the alleged infraction. Instead he was given a civil citation and enrolled in a diversionary program for first time offenders. Though the punishment was minor, the mark to his reputation was swift and harsh. By the following morning, news of his arrest flooded the television and radio airwaves. Winston made a public statement, apologizing to his supporters and acknowledging his mistake.

Petit Theft in Florida

In the state of Florida, petit theft is the unlawful taking of another’s property with a value less than $300. For items ranging in value from $100 to $300, a petit theft conviction is a misdemeanor, with a maximum punishment of one year incarceration, a year of probation and/or a fine of $1000. For items valued at less than $100, the charge is a second degree misdemeanor, with a maximum punishment of six months in jail, six months of probation and/or a $500 fine. Petit theft convictions may also result in the suspension of driving privileges and court ordered payment of restitution to the victim. It is also important to note that the theft of certain items constitutes as a felony, regardless of their value. Felony convictions are potentially punished by a year or more in prison.

The civil citation, like that given to Winston, is reportedly an effort to keep certain offenders out of the criminal justice system. Perpetrators of minor crimes, as well as first-time offenders are eligible for this program, but these citations are given out at the discretion of the responding officer. If this option is not provided to you, an experienced lawyer can help you assert your innocence in a court of law. In addition, should you be convicted of a petit theft charge, the right lawyer may secure a less serious sentence from the court.

If you or a loved one has been accused of petit theft, contactthe Miami based firm Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC. With a strong commitment to every client, we will provide an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Call the office today at 305-600-3519 for a confidential and free consultation.

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