Of course. Anyone charged with a crime becomes subject to some jail time. In your case, it is a 3rd degree felony punisible by up to 5 years in prison for each 3rd degree count. However, it is generally my experience, that unless the crime is particularly egregious (mean, cruel, or just really bad natured) very few people do jail/prison time on a first time, non-violent 3rd degree felony, unless they refuse to pay the money back or the judge punishes them for going to trial (if they go to trial). It's usually probation and community service. But, I have seen all kinds of punishments for such crimes, including prison. Get an attorney ASAP and good luck. What she may have trouble getting, because it is employee theft, is a withhold of adjudication.
Both are 3rd Degree Felonies carrying a maximum penalties of 5 years Florida State Prison, $5,000.00 fine, and court costs. That said she's looking at a MAXIMUM of 10 years Florida State Prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
However, since she's never been in trouble before more than likely she will receive a Withhold of Adjudication, which under Florida Law would keep her from being a convicted felon, and probation.
If possible, she should pay her employer back before resolving her case. By doing this she will greatly improve her position when it comes time to resolve her case.
If the charges have NOT been turned over to the Office of the State Attorney, you should contact an attorney IMMEDIATELY to see if a deal can be worked out with the employer to pay them back and have them waive prosecution. My experience has been that most detectives will hold off filing the case with the State if the employer agrees to accept restitution and waive prosecution. Good Luck.
Employee Theft Charges Under Florida Law
A surprising number of employee theft cases involve an older, trusted, female employee who has been with the company for more than five years. Your family member's case is not uncommon. Employee theft cases in Florida can be charged under a variety of theft statutes including Grand Theft, Embezzlement, Organized Scheme to Defraud or Fraud.
In many of these cases, particular when larger amounts of money are stolen, the prosecution will push for some jail or prison time. The employers wishes are given much weight.
An attorney is often in the best position to explain how the offense occurred, provide mitigating evidence, and negotiate a settlement for outstanding restitution. The most important thing to remember after the accusation is made is not to make any statements to law enforcement, co-workers, or the employer. Often the employees admissions are the strongest evidence in the case.
Although more than $10,000 was taken, given your family members age, and assuming she has no prior record, she should be a good candidate for probation and a withhold of adjudication. If she receives probation, after the probation is terminated, she may be able to seal her criminal record (unless she enters a plea to "scheme to defraud" which is an ineligible or disqualifying offense).
Additionally, I agree with the other comment that if an attorney negotiates a "civil" settlement of the outstanding restitution issues early enough in the case, the employer could decide to forgo a criminal prosecution altogether.
Visit my website link below for more information on Employee Theft Charges in Florida.