The types of theft crimes are many, but the common factor is that theft is any action intended to deprive some other person of their property, without their knowledge or consent. Theft crimes are serious offenses. An experienced theft attorney can help you if you have been accused or charged.
In Florida, state statutes delineate different degrees of theft, based on the value of the property that was stolen. A conviction can have serious legal, social, and financial consequences that will disrupt your life in myriad ways. For this reason, you will want to retain an experienced lawyer for theft charges if you or a member of your family has been accused of this type of crime.Types Of Theft Crimes
The following are among the common types of theft crimes:
- Motor vehicle theft
- Writing worthless checks
- Identity theft
- Computer crimes
- Dealing in stolen property
- Money laundering
The legal penalties that you face if convicted of one of these crimes will depend on the value of the property stolen, your prior criminal record, and whether you used a weapon in the commission of the crime.Degrees Of Theft
Whether a crime is classified as Grand Theft or Petit Theft depends on the value of the property alleged to have been stolen,
If the property is valued at under $100, the charge will be Petit Theft of the second degree, a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to than 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
If the property is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, you may be charged with first degree petite theft, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
If the value of the stolen property is greater than $300, it can be charged as Grand Theft. If the property is worth more than $100,000, it is First Degree Grand Theft, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the value of the stolen property is at least $20,000 but less than $100,000 it is Second Degree Grand Theft, a second degree felony in Florida with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.
When the stolen property is valued at $300 or more, but less than $20,000, the charge is Third Degree Grand Theft, a third degree felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000.Other Possible Consequences Of A Theft Conviction
Theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude” and a conviction can have a devastating effect on your reputation, your position in society, and your career. You could lose your job, future employment opportunities, or your professional license. Your family will likely suffer as well from your loss of status in the community and diminished socio-economic standing. Additional consequences may include:
- Loss of trust of business associates, customers, family, and friends
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Media attention and exposure to public scrutiny
- Difficulty obtaining housing
- Denial of Green Card or U.S. citizenship
- Loss of educational opportunities and disqualification for scholarship assistance
Having a highly skilled St. Petersburg theft attorney representing you is the best way to avoid the worst consequences of a theft conviction. A well experienced attorney knows what defenses can be raised in your defense. These are some examples:
- You believed in good faith the property belonged to you
- You were unable to form the intent to steal, for example if you were under the influence of a drug or alcohol
- You were merely borrowing the property with the intention of returning it
- Improper police procedure in violation of your constitutional rights
- Entrapment, if law enforcement lured you into committing a theft
If the evidence against you is overwhelming and incontrovertible, there is still a great deal a good lawyer can do for you. An experienced defense attorney knows the St. Petersburg criminal justice system and is able to use various alternative penalties to your advantage, avoiding jail time and possibly avoiding a conviction. Potential alternatives your attorney may be able to negotiate for you include:
- Participating in a diversion program that will result in charges being dropped
- Withholding of adjudication in exchange for a “no contest” plea
- Paying restitution to the victim
- Performing community service
- Receiving counseling
- House arrest or electronic monitoring
Hanlon Law has been successfully representing the accused for more than 20 years. Will Hanlon understands the dire consequences of a theft conviction and the desperation you may be feeling if you are facing charges. He will fight an aggressive battle to save your freedom, your reputation, and your ability to move on with your life with the least amount of harm to you and your family. Call today to put Will to work for you from very beginning for the best possible outcome for your situation.
Theft is a serious crime that involves many different property crimes, including larceny, embezzlement, stealing, conversion, and more. Generally, theft crimes involve taking or using someone else's property without permission. If you are accused of petty theft or grand theft in St. Petersburg, you should consult an experienced attorney. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg theft crime lawyer Will Hanlon guards the rights of people accused of theft.Facing Prosecution for a Theft Crime
Common theft crimes include grand theft, petty theft, shoplifting, embezzlement, grand theft auto, carjacking, burglary, armed robbery, robbery, identity theft, computer theft, and various types of fraud.
Generally, a prosecutor needs to show that the defendant had a specific intent to use or take property belonging to someone else to secure a conviction for a theft crime. They must show an intention to temporarily or permanently deprive a property owner of the use or possession of a piece of property at the time when the property was taken or at the time of the attempt to take property. You commit theft if you knowingly get or use the property of another party with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive someone of the right or benefits of the property, or if you appropriate it to your own use or the use of someone else not entitled to use it.
In Florida, petty theft and grand theft are primarily distinguished by the value of the property taken. Grand theft is further divided into degrees. All of them are very serious charges, so you should retain a theft crime attorney in St. Petersburg if you may be in this position. First-degree grand theft involves stolen property worth $100,000 or more. If you are convicted of first-degree grand theft, you may face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Second-degree grand theft involves stolen property worth $20,000-$99,000. If you are convicted of second-degree grand theft, you can face up to 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Third-degree grand theft involves stolen property worth $300-$19,999 or certain other items, such as a commercially farmed animal or a firearm. If you are convicted of third-degree grand theft, you may face up to five years’ imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
Petty theft has only two degrees. First-degree petty theft involves stolen property that is worth $100-$300. If you are convicted of first-degree petty theft, you may face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Second-degree petty theft involves property that is worth $99.99 or less. You can face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If what is stolen is any amount of certain controlled substances set forth in section 893.02, separate judgments and sentences for the theft of the controlled substance and any charge brought for possessing or trafficking in the substance can be imposed if all of the offenses involve the same amounts of the controlled substance. You should consult a St. Petersburg theft crime attorney who can craft a strategy to fight all of the charges simultaneously.
Certain theft crimes are charged under separate statutes. For example, carjacking is a type of theft crime, but it is charged under Florida Statute section 812.133. It involves the intentional and illegal taking of another party's motor vehicle by using force, violence, threat, or assault. The potential penalties that you face will be greater if you used a firearm.
You should not assume that a conviction is assured. The prosecution needs to prove all of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, it is possible to cast doubt on the value of the property to reduce the charges by degree. In other cases, it may be possible to show that you had a good-faith belief that you owned the property or had a right to possess it. In still other cases, it may be possible to show that you reasonably believed that you had been given consent by the property owner.Hire a Theft Crime Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Surrounding Cities
Theft is a crime that can involve harsh punishments, depending on the value of the goods or property taken. It can make a big difference to your case to be represented by an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney. Will Hanlon is committed to defending the rights of the accused. He has represented defendants since 1994 and is well versed in the potential strategies at their disposal. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or complete our online form.