Florida Civil Theft Law

Florida Civil Theft Law


Most people know that criminal theft is a crime. Sometimes there is confusion about the difference between criminal theft and civil cases. There is also confusion, and most people do not know there can be a civil suit for theft. A crime does not always have to be committed as long as there is an intent to deprive a person of property; there may be a civil theft involved, at least in Florida. 

For years, Stolen Horse International had referred to certain civil cases as 'civil thefts' long before we knew a law existed in the United States. Our founder discovered the law when she was researching civil theft laws while writing a featured article for Equus Magazine, "When is Horse Theft Not a Crime"'.

As defined in Fla. Stat. § 772.11, civil theft can be alleged by businesses and individuals to provide a civil remedy for a theft claim.

EPGD Business Law online states, "Florida’s civil theft statute, Fla. Stat. § 772.11, creates civil liability for certain criminal practices. In order for the statute to be applicable, the criminal act must violate Sections 812.012-812.037 or 825.103(1) of the Florida Statutes, which include crimes such as: theft, possession of altered property, dealing in stolen property, and exploitation of an elderly person. Even if one of the specified crimes has occurred, it is still necessary to fully understand the intricacies and nuances of Florida’s civil theft statute before filing a lawsuit."

The following steps must occur to establish a case under Florida's civil theft statute. If all four elements are present, the plaintiff has established an action for civil theft.

The plaintiff must allege that the defendant:
  • knowingly
  • obtained or used, or sought to obtain or use, the plaintiff’s property
  • with felonious intent
  • to deprive the plaintiff of its right to or a benefit from the property
There is much more information on the EPGD website. Please, click here and take a moment to read the article. 

Stolen Horse International does not give legal advice, so we refer you to the experts and attorney firms. You can continue researching Florida civil theft at the following web pages. 


"There are limited circumstances in Florida where a plaintiff can proceed with a civil theft claim when there is a contractual relationship between the parties. To prove civil theft, the plaintiff is required to show that the action goes outside and is an independent breach of the terms of a contract."

Understanding Florida’s Civil Theft Laws - Pke & LUSTIG, LLP


The Guide On What Is A Statutory Civil Theft Claim In Florida - JURADO & FARSHCHIAN ATTORNEYS AT LAW

The 2022 Florida Statutes (including 2022 Special Session A and 2023 Special Session B) - Online Sunshine, The Florida Legislature, 1995

2022 Florida Statues on Civil Remedy for Theft or Exploitation - The Florida State Senate say, "Any person who proves by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has been injured in any fashion by reason of any violation of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 825.103(1) has a cause of action for threefold the actual damages sustained and, in any such action, is entitled to minimum damages in the amount of $200, and reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs in the trial and appellate courts."
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Did you know that there is a civil theft law in Florida?

Remember, read "When Horse Theft Is Not A Crime." 
By Debi Metcalfe, founder of 
Stolen Horse International, NetPosse.



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