Catalytic Converter Theft Rises in Central Florida and Throughout the United States
It seems that there is an increase in catalytic converters thefts not just in the Central Florida area but around the country. Since mid-March, a wave of these thefts swept through Volusia, Flagler, Lake, Marion, and Seminole counties. These converters are easy to take off cars, and thieves can steal them within two and three minutes. Owners are then left to pay $1,000 or more for a replacement converter. The cost could be even more if the thief causes further damage to the vehicle’s wiring or fuel line.
If you face catalytic converter theft charges in Orlando, contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. We can inform you of your legal rights and fight for your freedom. Time is limited, so contact us immediately after receiving the charges.
What Is Theft in Florida?
Florida defines theft as when a person knowingly obtains or uses another person’s property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive them of their property. Since catalytic converters are expensive, you might be facing grand theft charges. These charges vary depending on the cost of the property stolen.
- Third-degree grand theft felony: Property costing between $750 and $20,000 may result in a third-degree grand theft felony charge. Additionally, stolen firearms and motor vehicles fall under this charge. Penalties may include jail time up to five years and fines up to $5,000.
- Second-degree grand theft felony: Any property stolen that costs between $20,000 and $100,000 may result in a second-degree grand theft felony charge. Possible penalties may include up to 15 years in jail or fines up to $10,000.
- First-degree grand theft felony: Prosecutors may charge property that’s value more than $100,000 as a first-degree grand theft felony. Consequences may include up to 30 years in jail or fines up to $10,000.
Florida state prosecutors take grand theft charges very seriously, and they will be aggressive in court. You deserve to have a defense attorney who will be equally aggressive to protect your best interests throughout criminal hearings.
Additional Consequences for Grand Theft Charges in Florida
In addition to jail time and hefty fines, those convicted of grand theft charges in Florida may also face additional consequences in your life. For example, many employers ask prospective candidates whether they were ever arrested or convicted of a crime. While it is illegal to deny someone employment because of prior criminal history, answering yes may undermine your qualifications and interview performance. Furthermore, it may be more difficult to obtain professional licenses with a felony conviction.
A grand theft conviction may also have a severe negative impact on your personal life. Spending even five years in prison can lead to marital issues, losing friendships, or straining relationships with family members. Additionally, you may lose child custody rights after a felony conviction in Florida.
Possible Defenses to Grand Theft Charges in Orlando
Every case is different, and your criminal defense attorney will base the defense on the specific facts and details surrounding your charges. Some possible defenses may include:
- Lack of intent
- Mistaken identity
- Unreliable witness
Penalties are harsh for grand-theft charges in Florida, even for first-time offenders. That is why you must hire an Orlando defense attorney right away. They can thoroughly review your case and build a robust defense. In addition, they may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to lower the charge to petit theft, which carries less severe penalties.
Protect Your Future and Contact the Lawman Today!
A criminal conviction can have adverse effects on your life, but the skilled theft defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can protect your rights, freedom, and future. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we have the skill and experience needed to handle these charges. As former state prosecutors, we will look for and attack weak spots in the prosecution’s case. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.