According to Florida Statutes 812.014, theft is defined as an act of knowingly obtaining or using another person’s property or denying them access to their belongings. If convicted of a theft crime, you can face lengthy jail time, expensive fines, and stigma that can limit your job options. Therefore, it’s important to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to aggressively defend your rights.
If you’re facing theft crime charges, call 813-360-1529 to speak to an experienced Shrader Law, PLLC criminal defense attorney. Our experienced attorneys will advise you on your options, rights, and the nature of charges leveled against you. They will also develop the most effective defense strategy for your case.
In October 2019, the State of Florida created a new law that raised the maximum amount for a petit theft crime from $300 to $750. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove you committed a petit theft crime based on the value of the stolen property. However, regardless of this change, those who commit theft crimes in Florida are severely punished. All theft crimes from shoplifting to grand theft are treated seriously and deemed “crimes of dishonesty.”
Convictions for theft crimes have devastating ramifications. However, even if you’re accused of theft but not convicted, your information can sometimes still be entered into a national database. This means that this information will appear when employers, licensing agencies, landlords, and educational institutions do a background check.
In Florida, there are different types of theft crimes that carry serious penalties. However, these penalties will depend on the value of the stolen property.
Also referred to as “petty theft,” second-degree petit theft is the lowest level of theft crimes. If the stolen property is worth less than $100, the offense is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. The penalties for such a crime can include a fine not exceeding $500 and jail time of not more than 60 days.
When the value of the stolen property is between $300 and $749, it is punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor. The punishment may include a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail time of not more than one year.
You might have committed a third-degree felony if the property you took was valued between $750 and $19,999. This may include theft of a motor vehicle, firearms, and more. The penalties for such crimes can include a fine not exceeding $5,000 and a jail time not exceeding five years.
Some theft crimes are considered second-degree felonies if the property stolen is between $20,000 and $100,000. This can also include interstate or intrastate cargo that is valued less than $50,000 or law enforcement equipment worth more than $300. Such crimes can result in a fine of no more than $10,000 and a jail time not exceeding 15 years.
In Florida, this is the most serious level of theft crimes. It is committed when the property that was stolen is valued at more than $100,000. Such crimes can carry a fine not exceeding $10,000 and a jail time not exceeding 30 years.
It’s important to know that in Florida, attempted theft is still considered theft. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you changed your mind and returned the stolen goods, you’ll still face the same charges if you would have faced if you stole them.
If you’re facing theft charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. At Shrader Law, PLLC, our attorneys will evaluate your case and use any of the following legal defenses depending on your situation:
If you are accused of stealing, your attorney may defend you by proving that the item you took was yours, or you had a valid claim to it.
If you were induced to steal by another person, your attorney will use this to defend you by proving that the intent to steal was from the entrapping person.
As stated earlier, returning property after stealing is still considered theft. However, your attorney can defend you by establishing that you had the intent to return the property, or you simply forgot to return a borrowed item.
If you have been charged with a theft crime, you face lengthy imprisonment, heavy fines, and the charge may go into your permanent record. To ensure you get the best possible outcome, contact us today.