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Florida Retail Theft Charges, Probation Questions and Probation Violation

shoplifting-3A priest who in June left his job at St. Clare Catholic Church in North Palm Beach, pledging to prove he was innocent of shoplifting, this week was placed on probation for 18 months and ordered to pay $895 restitution to Neiman Marcus for the picture frame he stole from its Boca Raton store in December.

Rev. Giuseppe Savaia, 43, refused to confess but agreed that a guilty plea was in his best interest, said prosecutor Kirk Volker.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal withheld adjudication before placing Savaia on probation, ordering him to take a theft abatement course and to get psychological treatment.

Earlier this summer, he was placed in a pre-trial intervention program in Broward County to settle charges that he stole two $400 Italian coats from Neiman Marcus Last Call at Sawgrass Mills in December.

If he successfully completes the program, the charge won’t be on his record. Born in Rome, Savaia lives in Delray Beach.

There are varying degrees of theft in the eyes of the Florida legislature, but one common fact among all theft-related charges is that serious consequences will follow a conviction.

Theft is defined by the legislature as follows;
812.014 – Theft

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:

Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.

Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

Grand Theft

Grand theft is a special term that basically sets the degree of severity based upon the value of the property that’s illegally taken. In general, any property taken that carries a value of more than $300 can be considered grand theft in certain circumstances, and the classification of this crime is a felony in the third degree, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Petit Theft

Petit theft involves the taking of any property that’s valued at more than $100 and less than $300, and this crime is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year of incarceration.


Shoplifting is technically termed “retail theft,” and this crime is committed if someone deprives a merchant or business of any property illegally. As is the case with any other theft-related crime, the severity of the charge will depend upon the value of the property taken, and these charges can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies.

Florida Probation FAQ

Source– for a complete list of questions visit the link.

What do I have to do while on probation?

A person placed on probation (or community control, see below) is required to abide by specific conditions. These are split up into two categories, “general conditions” and “special conditions” of probation (or community control). Your probation officer will go over these conditions usually at the first meeting you have with him or her. The “conditions” are very important because if you fail to abide by them you can be found to have violated your probation. If you are unsure what conditions you have – ask your probation officer to provide you with them.

The main disruption to your life on probation are:

  • Monthly meetings with your probation officer.
  • Unscheduled visits by your probation officer at your home and/or work address.
  • Restrictions on travel (typically you cannot travel out of the county where you reside without permission).
  • Completion of all special conditions of probation.
What are general conditions of probation?

General Conditions of Probation are statutory. These conditions did not have to be verbalized to you by the judge when he or she sentenced you. However, your probation office will go over these with you typically at your first meeting with him or her. Because probation officers have large caseloads they may provide you with a list of these conditions – YOU MUST READ AND ABIDE BY THE GENERAL CONDITIONS OF PROBATION. It is your responsibility to avoid violating your probation.

There is one general condition of probation that is not listed in the statutes. This is the general condition that you do not commit any violation of law. This seems obvious but, just so you know, if your are arrested or accused of committing a new law offense your probation will be violated 99.9% of the time. However, do not panic. If arrested contact your probation officer as soon as possible and tell your supervising officer what happened. If you bond out on the new offense you MUST continue to report to probation.

What are special conditions of probation?

Special Conditions of Probation are those that are verbalized by the judge at your sentencing. These include the requirement that you pay a fine, complete so-many hours of community service, attend a counseling program, and so on. It can include restrictions on where you can go and/or with who you can communicate. Special conditions can be almost anything that can be viewed as logically connected to the offense committed.

Do I have to complete the entire term of probation that the judge puts me on or can it be shortened?

This answer varies. Most judges will require that you complete at least half of your original term of probation before they will consider terminating the remainder of your probation. In addition, all your special conditions must have been completed or fulfilled.

However, some jurisdictions believe that once ordered the term cannot be shortened. This is based on a District Court decision that deals with a negotiated plea with the Office of the State Attorney. Negotiated pleas are different and there is a legitimate argument that a motion to terminate probation early be accompanied with a declaration that the State does not object.

Negotiated pleas, under certain conditions, should include the ability to terminate the probation period early if all conditions have been met.

Do I need an attorney to shorten the length of my probation?

The correct answer is “no.” However, without a lawyer you’ll be wasting valuable time trying to figure out what needs to be put in your motion and how to schedule the hearing. Everyone is allowed to represent themselves under the law but it not usually the best idea.

Florida Probation Violation Defense Lawyer

The law Office of Andrew D Stine is committed to representing those Probationers who have violated their Probation or are about to be violated by their Probation Officers.

First, the Probationer must understand they have due process rights. The Probationer must have notice of the condition for which the violation is alleged. Probationers must not be misled by rules that have ambiguous or subjective meanings, which their Probation Officers may attach to their probation order or requirements.

Second, the Probationer must have notice of the violation, and be properly charged with the violation. This means the warrant or affidavit of violation must be specific and all the terms must be clear. Moreover, a trial court cannot find a violation of a Probationer for a term not contained within their probation order or alleged within the warrant or affidavit.

In Florida the most common types of Probation Violations are substantive and technical. Substantive violations occur when the Probationer commits a new crime violation. Technical violations occur when the Probationer omits to complete a condition or willfully violates a condition of his probation.

Florida law allows a Probationer to receive the maximum penalty, which the Probationer faced when the original criminal charge was filed.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.

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