Dog Theft on the Rise as Demand Increases During COVID-19
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people purchased or adopted an animal. Most looked for dogs to satisfy their need for companionship during isolation. Unfortunately, not everyone has good intentions. Since the pandemic began, more pets, like small and easy-to-grab breeds and puppies are stolen and resold by thieves. Not only are people taking pets from yards and cars, but some are planning home invasions or robberies to steal high-demand breeds.
While Florida does not have a specific law for animal theft, those who steal another person’s pet might face theft or robbery charges. If you face these or similar charges for animal theft in Florida, contact The Umansky Law Firm. Our Orlando criminal defense attorneys can investigate the accusations and work to prove your innocence.
What Are the Penalties for Stealing a Pet in Florida?
Since there are no specific statutes regarding pet theft in Florida, you may face various charges, such as theft, robbery, or home invasion robbery.
Theft Penalties in Florida
One charge for stealing a pet in Florida is theft. Florida defines theft as when a person knowingly obtains another person’s property with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the owner. The possible punishments for a theft conviction depend on how much the property stolen is worth.
- First-degree grand theft: Stolen property value is more than $100,000. Convictions may lead to a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison or fines of up to $10,000.
- Second-degree grand theft: The stolen property’s value is between $20,000 and $99,999. The maximum penalty if convicted is 15 years in prison or fines of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree grand theft: Property stolen worth between $300 and $19,999 carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail or a fine of up to $5,000.
- First-degree petty theft: Stolen property worth between $100 and $299 carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. However, state prosecution may elevate this to a third-degree grand theft charge if this is the offender’s second theft conviction.
- Second-degree petty theft: Stolen property value is below $100, with the maximum sentence up to 60 days in jail or a fine up to $500.
Remember, some dogs can cost tens of thousands of dollars. You might face a first- or second-degree grand theft charge.
Penalties for Robbery in Florida
Robbery is similar to theft. The main difference with this charge is that the person committing the crime uses force, violence, assault, or fear to steal another’s property. If the offender carries a firearm or other deadly weapon, they may face up to life in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
Conversely, they may face up to 15 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 if they did not hold a firearm or deadly weapon during the crime. Regardless of if there was a weapon, state prosecutors may enhance the penalty if the individual has prior convictions.
Home Invasion Robbery in Florida
An individual may commit a home invasion robbery when they enter a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. A dwelling can include another person’s house, business, or vehicle. If the offender uses a firearm, they may face up to life in prison. If the offender did not use a weapon or firearm, the maximum penalty is up to 30 years in prison in addition to hefty fines.
Defenses to Theft and Robbery Charges in Florida
State prosecutors take these charges seriously and will aggressively present their case to convict you. Having the assistance of an Orlando criminal defense attorney may be helpful. They can examine the prosecution’s case and look for weak points. Furthermore, they can defend you against these charges to prove your innocence. Some defenses to a theft or robbery charge in Florida may include:
- You were acting in good faith.
- The owner permitted you to enter their dwelling.
- You were involuntarily intoxicated.
- Someone forced to commit the crime with death or severe injury.
Convictions for a robbery or theft charge are severe, even for first-time offenders. Do not risk your future, and contact The Umansky Law Firm.
Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys in Orlando
If you face criminal charges in Orlando, contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. Our team has more than 100 years of combined experience and consists of former state prosecutors on the state and local levels. We know the tactics the state will use to get a conviction. Our attorneys can then use that knowledge to your advantage and build a robust case. At The Umansky Law Firm, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Let us fight for yours, and call our office or complete our contact form today.