Theft Restitution Cannot Be More Than Maximum Value For The Crime Charged

The defendant entered a plea to a theft of $300 or less charge.  After a restitution hearing the trial court ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $2,575.93.  The defendant appealed the trial court’s restitution order.  The appeals court ruled that pursuant to sections 775.089(1)(a) and 984.03(1)(e), Florida Statutes (1989), restitution may be ordered only for damage or loss caused directly or indirectly by the defendant’s offense.  The evidence establishes the value of the items defendant was charged with stealing is well in excess of $300, however, because here the convicted offense was theft of items having a value of $300 or less, the maximum value of items for which defendant can be ordered to pay restitution is also $300.

Accordingly, the appeals court quashed the trial court’s restitution order with instructions to limit restitution for the property stolen to $300.  However, because restitution can also include losses caused indirectly by theft, including damage done to the vehicle in effecting the theft of the items and because the appeals court was unable to determine the amount of repair associated with those items, the appeals court remanded the case to the trial court to make that determination and order the corrected amount of restitution.

See Peralta v. State, 596 So.2d 1220 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992)

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