Theft is one of the most frequent charges filed in criminal courts and Florida has multiple laws that define and punish this activity. As such, it can be difficult for defendants to understand the law and the potential consequences. The law determines the severity of a theft charge by considering both the type of the property stolen and its value. The theft of some items is always a felony, while a theft involving multiple smaller items may also raise a charge to the felony level.
A Winter Park theft lawyer could help defendants understand the law as it applies to their case and formulate a defense accordingly. By applying this defense in court, an experienced defense attorney’s goal is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of juries.
Florida’s penal code creates numerous sub-categories of theft. According to Florida Statute § 812.014, a theft is any unlawful taking of another person’s property with the intention of depriving the owner of that property. This includes the taking of any property without the owner’s consent or taking possession of any property that the defendant knows is stolen.
State law also outlaws the theft of services and the theft of trade secrets. However, these are rare. Prosecutors usually pursue cases under the state’s core theft statute mentioned above. The penalties for theft depend on two factors. Most theft cases move forward based on the value of the items taken. For example:
The type of item stolen can also bring enhanced penalties, regardless of its value. The theft of a firearm, a motor vehicle, a legal document like a will, or even a fire extinguisher is always a felony. A Winter Park theft attorney could help someone understand the state’s theft laws as they apply to their charges.
Just like in any other criminal charge, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving each element of a theft charge to a jury. This includes proving not only that the defendant took the items in question but that they did it intending to deprive the owner of its use.
A defense attorney can cross-examine the owner of the property to potentially bring out evidence that the property was loaned to the defendant. The defense can also argue that the alleged thief had no reason to suspect that the property was stolen when they took possession.
In addition to these potential defenses, all the usual defenses involving mistaken identity, poor recollection by witnesses, and improper police investigation techniques may be utilized to defend someone.
People who have been arrested for theft might not understand the law as it applies to their case or why their charges are so serious. The truth of the matter is that theft charges under the state’s penal code always involve complex legal questions. A Winter Park theft lawyer may be able to help defendants.
From the date of the arrest, attorneys work to combat aggressive police tactics, speak with witnesses, examine security footage, and develop a powerful defense strategy. Using this knowledge, we defend your rights and freedoms in court. Contact our team now to see how we might be able to help you.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys