Failure to Return Leased Property in Florida


Leasing is a way of life for Americans. Rather than purchasing an item, which can be extremely expensive, leasing provides individuals with the option of renting an item from a property owner in exchange for scheduled regular payments. At the end of the leasing term, the lessee or tenant is required to return the property to the property owner. Failing to do so, however, is not only a breach of term agreements but also against the law and can result in severe penalties. Rather than allow the state to prosecute you for this offense, seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable defense attorney.

The Orlando failure to return defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are passionate criminal defense lawyers with a proven history of protecting the rights of the accused. Various events could have led up to the charge, and no matter what they may be, our dedicated team of attorneys is here to fight for you.

Required Proof in a Failure to Return Leased Property Case

When a property owner chooses to charge you with failure to return leased property, the burden of proof falls on the state to present facts that prove your guilt. In doing so, they will be required to prove the following:

  • You hired, rented, or leased personal property or equipment;
  • The hiring, renting, or leasing was pursuant to an agreement to return the leased property at the conclusion of the period to the person leasing the property;
  • You knowingly abandoned or refused to return the property at the conclusion of the period for which the property was leased; and
  • Your abandonment or refusal to return the property was without the consent of the property owner

Failure to prove these four essential factors beyond a reasonable doubt can result in charges being lessened or even dropped altogether. However, if a prosecutor can successfully prove that all of the previously mentioned elements are present and true, you’ll be subjected to criminal prosecution.

Criminal Penalties for Failure to Return Leased Property

The Florida penalties for failure to return leased property depend solely on the value of the leased property. Failure to return property valued under $300 is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 60 days in jail; or
  • Up to 6 months probation; and
  • Up to $500 in fines

The charge is increased to a third-degree felony when the property that wasn’t returned is valued at $300 or more. The penalties for a third-degree felony in Florida are as follows:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Up to 5 years of probation; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

The prosecution will often use the defendant’s failure to return the leased property within five days of receiving a written demand (Florida Statute § 812.155(4)(b)) from the property owner as evidence to prove that the defendant knowingly abandoned or refused to return the property.

Recent Case Result

Our Client hired us to defend against allegations of felony theft based on a contract dispute. Our client was facing a felony conviction. After reviewing the lease contract we drafted a motion to dismiss and filed it in our clients behalf. The State Attorney agreed to the motion and dismissed the case before a hearing was set.

– State v. 2017-CF-016272-AXXX-XX

Seasoned Legal Defense Against Criminal Charges

The Orlando failure to return defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm possess more than 100 years of combined experience and dedicate our efforts to helping disprove claims brought against the accused. Intricacies as seemingly insignificant as whether or not a lease agreement has the proper notice in it can be exposed to your benefit as the defendant.

However, your criminal defense options don’t end there; we have also successfully implemented the following defenses:

  • The property was stolen or lost
  • Inadvertent failure to return
  • The property owner failed to provide proper notice
  • The failure to return resulted from circumstances out of your control
  • You received consent from the property owner

Our team of Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyers is here to help ensure that this misunderstanding doesn’t result in your misfortune. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.

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    Failure to Return Leased Property in Florida