Being accused of criminal theft in Florida can lead to a surprisingly complex criminal case. The final outcome and the penalties you might face for a conviction can vary substantially based on the circumstances. Understanding the law and taking advantage of that knowledge to protect your best interests can be difficult for anyone to accomplish alone, even if that person has faced those charges in court before.
It will be easier to handle the charges made against you with guidance from a capable and experienced Lake Mary theft lawyer. Throughout your legal proceeding, your criminal defense attorney could tirelessly advocate for your interests and work toward the best outcome.
Florida Statutes § 812.014 defines five degrees into which a theft offense may be classified. Two of these are considered misdemeanor “petit theft” and three of them are considered felony “grand theft.” The primary distinction between degrees of theft charges in Florida is the financial value of all property the defendant allegedly took from the lawful owner or converted for an unauthorized use. This is noted below:
Importantly, there are also certain types of property which automatically qualify as certain tiers of theft offense regardless of their financial value. There are also specific circumstances under which the theft is committed that also gets categorized as a certain tier. For instance, anyone who steals a firearm, a stop sign, or any controlled substance has committed third-degree grand theft.
Likewise, anyone who takes between $5,000 and $20,000 of property during a riot or during a declared state of emergency may be charged with second-degree grand theft, and any greater amount taken under the same conditions constitutes first-degree grand theft. A Lake Mary theft attorney could explain the legal distinctions between various theft charges during a confidential consultation.
Notably, all the previously-mentioned definitions only apply to first-time offenders charged with theft in Florida. A person who was previously convicted of any petit theft offense would have their second petit theft charge automatically classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, and any subsequent petit theft charge after a second conviction would be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.
In the same vein, anyone charged with a felony offense after having been convicted of two or more past felonies—including grand theft offenses or enhanced petit theft offenses—may be subject to an extended prison term upon conviction for the new offense. This could potentially lead to a life sentence for a first-degree felony conviction. For these reasons, support from a seasoned theft lawyer in Lake Mary can be especially important for people who have existing criminal records.
One person’s criminal case for theft charges can be quite different from how the case progresses for a different person also accused of theft. Because of that, it is important to have legal assistance when you are facing an allegation of this nature. The best lawyers are those who have successfully defended clients from theft before.
If you suspect you might be accused of theft soon or have already been charged, getting in touch with a Lake Mary theft lawyer should be your top priority. Call the Umansky Law Firm today to schedule a meeting.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys