Windermere Theft Lawyer

Any crime that involves allegedly taking something that you have no right to take is a theft crime. There are various crimes that come under this category, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

If you were charged with a theft crime, you face serious legal and personal consequences. Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is critical when the stakes are so high.

Whatever the specific charges you face, a Windermere theft lawyer could provide a vigorous defense. Reach out to us as soon as you are arrested or realize law enforcement is investigating you on theft-related charges.

How the Law Categorizes Theft Charges

Theft means taking another party’s property without permission or using it to obtain a benefit. Florida Statute § 812.014 describes the different theft crimes. From burglary to robbery to shoplifting, each type of theft has its own unique factors to navigate.

The factors that determine the severity of a theft charge include the property’s value, the nature of the property allegedly stolen, and whether the accused has prior convictions. A theft attorney could help an accused person in Windermere understand the charges they face.

Misdemeanor Theft

Thefts involving items of nominal value lead to misdemeanor theft charges, also called petit theft. It is a second-degree misdemeanor to take property worth less than $100. If the property’s value exceeds $100 but is less than $750, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Felony Theft

Theft of property valued at more than $750 is a felony. If the value is less than $20,000, the prosecutor could charge a third-degree felony. A defendant could face a second-degree felony charge if the property’s value exceeds $20,000 but is less than $100,000. Allegedly stealing anything with a value exceeding $100,000 is a first-degree felony.

A person with a prior conviction typically would face a charge that is one level more severe than if they had no prior convictions. For example, a person with a prior conviction accused of stealing property worth $25,000 might face a first-degree felony charge.

The surrounding circumstances can influence the charge, regardless of the value of the items allegedly stolen. For example, someone who allegedly takes property from a residence or steals a motor vehicle, firearm, stop sign, fire extinguisher, or certain other specified items could face third-degree felony charges. Stealing law enforcement equipment worth more than $300 is a second-degree felony, and so is looting during a declared emergency.

Consequences of a Theft Conviction

A conviction on theft charges could lead to time in jail or prison, fines, orders to pay restitution, probation, community service, and other penalties. If the conviction is for misdemeanor theft, an offender might serve time in the county jail. Felony convictions require the offender to serve time in the state penitentiary.

The consequences of a theft charge go beyond the criminal penalties. Theft is a crime of dishonesty, sometimes called a crime of moral turpitude. A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude makes a person ineligible for some professional licenses and could impact immigration status. People with theft convictions could have trouble finding employment and housing after they have completed their sentences.

Someone facing misdemeanor theft charges might be eligible for a pretrial diversion program, which could allow them to resolve the charges without a conviction on their record. These programs require an accused to complete community service, probation, and an impulse control/theft prevention class. A Windermere attorney could advise whether a pretrial diversion program might be an option in a specific theft case.

Defenses to Theft Charges

Every crime consists of specific elements and a prosecutor must prove every element of the crime they charge. A defense attorney could challenge the prosecutor’s evidence of any element to defeat the charge. For example, if someone is charged with third-degree theft because they allegedly stole a lawn mower from a residence, a Windermere attorney might show the lawn mower was in a separate shed in a part of the property separate from the residence.

Forcing the prosecutor to prove the value of the property can sometimes persuade a prosecutor to reduce or dismiss a theft charge. In addition, the prosecutor must prove the accused intended to take the property and permanently keep it from its rightful owner. Depending on the circumstances, it could be difficult for a prosecutor to prove an accused’s intent.

Defeat a Theft Charge With a Windermere Attorney

The consequences of a theft conviction could follow you for the rest of your life. It makes sense to invest in a professional defense attorney.

Contact a Windermere theft lawyer right away. They could craft an effective defense to the charges and obtain the best outcome the circumstances permit. Call us today for a free consultation.

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    Windermere Theft Lawyer