Theft laws in Florida run the gamut from petit theft to grand theft. As the seriousness of the offense increases, so do the associated penalties and consequences. However, regardless of the seriousness of the offense, the state takes a rigid approach to prosecuting these crimes of dishonesty. In addition, to the penalties imposed by the court, offenders often deal with the repercussions to their reputation, and a conviction may even affect their ability to find work later in life.
If you face a theft charge, contact an Avalon Park theft lawyer. Our firm understands the uncertainty that comes with being formally charged with a criminal offense. We will stand with you through the entire process, gather evidence to support your defense, negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of charges, and hold the state to its burden at trial, if necessary. Our committed defense attorneys fight to protect your constitutional rights.
State law defines theft as any act in which a person knowingly obtains or uses the property of another to deny the other person access to their belongings or to use the property to their advantage. As with any crime, a person who is convicted may face ancillary penalties such as fines, costs, and reimbursement. There are also some potential enhancements to theft charges, like if the victim is over 65, the accused has a prior record, or other factors such as using a weapon or vehicle.
Anyone facing theft charges should exercise their right to remain silent and request counsel. An experienced Avalon Park theft defense attorney will begin building a defense, reviewing the state’s evidence, speaking with witnesses, and negotiating for a reduction in charges.
Theft is an umbrella term that covers many individual offenses, ranging from relatively minor charges of shoplifting to grand larceny. The severity of the charge primarily depends on two factors: the value of the items taken and the accused’s prior criminal history.
Shoplifting is one of the most common theft charges in Avalon Park. The state classifies the offense as petit theft. If the value of the stolen items is less than $100, the charge is second-degree petit theft and carries a potential penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If the value of items stolen is between $100 and $750, it constitutes first-degree petit theft and is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Grand theft is another commonly charged offense. Again, the value of the items stolen will dictate the degree as follows:
The sentencing range applicable to a first-degree charge includes a fine up to $10,000 and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. A second-degree conviction carries the potential of a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison. A third-degree conviction carries with it up to a $5,000 fine and a sentence of up to five years.
State theft charges are serious offenses. An experienced theft lawyer in Avalon Park could help someone with their defense, which might involve arguing the allegedly stolen item in fact belonged to the defendant; the defendant was unaware that they were unlawfully taking the property; or the property was not valuable enough to warrant the higher charge.
When you find yourself on the wrong end of a criminal theft prosecution, your first call should be to an experienced Avalon Park theft lawyer. Florida takes a heavy-handed approach to theft prosecution regardless of the seriousness of the offense. We have the skill and knowledge to challenge the state’s case against you at every turn while keeping the lines of communication open. Contact us today for your initial consultation.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys