A theft crime conviction can be life altering, resulting in a criminal record that haunts you for many years to come, making it challenging or even impossible to get a job, rent a home or even attend college. Theft convictions are especially problematic because this type of crime implies that you are not trustworthy, so you may encounter obstacles any time someone runs a background check. This can make finding employment extremely difficult, as many positions involve access to money or sensitive information.
When you trust your theft case to your lawyer, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve hired an experienced attorney who spent nearly a decade working as a prosecutor before he turned to criminal defense.
In practice for decades, your Attorney has held key positions in the Florida State Attorney’s Office. He served as a trial attorney for theft prosecutions,narcotics cases and DUI cases, in addition to instructing Hillsborough County lawyers and lawyers across the state. This experience has provided him with valuable insight into how crimes are investigated and prosecuted; this means he’s well positioned to help formulate and effective defense strategy for your theft crimes case.
As a former professional motorsports racing manager, your lawyer has a competitive side that drives him to achieve exceptional results for his clients. Indeed, your attorney won championships and competed at the highest levels before he put down his stopwatch and completed law school.
Your attorney provides his personal cell phone number to clients, as he knows the system never sleeps. So even if you run into legal trouble at 2:00 a.m., you can be confident knowing you can call upon an experienced Florida defense lawyer for help. If you’re charged with theft, larceny, grand theft or another crime, contact us in Tampa to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation session. Call 813-933-6807.
Common Questions and Concerns After an Arrest for Theft in Florida FAQ
We have seen many cases involving theft crimes. It’s natural to be frightened and stressed, but we found that by answering clients’ questions and helping clients to know what they can expect, we can alleviate much of the stress you’re experiencing. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we address with clients who are charged with theft crimes in Florida.
What’s the Definition of Theft in Florida?
[Image: Theft Crimes Lawyer] Florida law defines theft as knowingly and unlawfully obtaining, using or endeavoring to obtain or use another person’s property. There is an element of intent involved. It must be proved that “the defendant did so with the intent to temporarily or permanently (a) deprive the victim of his or her right to the property or any benefit from the property, or (b) appropriate the property of the victim to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.
What’s Considered Petit Theft?
In Florida, petit theft (also called “petty theft”) typically applies to theft charges that fall short of meeting the criteria for grand theft.
A case may be charged as petit theft – typically prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor – if the value is less than $300. In these cases, the individual may face a maximum of up to 60 days in jail, plus a fine of up to $500, in addition to paying restitution. (Assuming it’s a first theft offense.)
In cases where the property value is between $100 to $300, the charge may be increased in severity to a first-degree petit theft (although this only applies to items that are not taken from a home or “dwelling.”) In the event that petit theft is prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor, there is typically a maximum sentence of up to one year incarceration and up to $1,000 in fines.
In cases where the defendant has two or more prior convictions for petit theft, the prosecutor may opt to pursue the case as a third-degree felony. This carries the same maximum penalty as a third-degree grand theft charge – up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years’ incarceration or probation.
What’s Considered Grand Theft in Florida?
Under Florida law, an individual may be charged with grand theft in cases involving stolen money or items worth $300 or more.
Grand theft is considered a felony charge. You could be charged with a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony, depending upon the value of the money or items that were allegedly stolen.
In the case of a third-degree felony (involving property with a value of $300 to $20,000), you could face up to five years in prison or five years’ probation, plus a fine of up to $5,000, plus restitution.
A grand theft charge (involving property valued between $20,000 and $100,000) that’s prosecuted as a second-degree felony may carry up to 15 years in prison or probation, with a fine of up to $10,000, plus restitution.
In the case of a more severe first-degree felony (which typically involves property valued at over $100,000), Florida law allows for a penalty of up to 30 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines, plus restitution.
Are Certain Types of Theft Considered More Serious?
Under Florida law, there are certain cases whereby a defendant may face more serious charges due to the nature of the item stolen. Some of the items that are associated with more serious charges include:
- stop signs;
- fire extinguishers;
- guns and firearms;
- a commercial farm animal;
- citrus fruits (when 2,000 or more pieces are taken);
- a last will and testament, codicil or other “testamentary instrument;” and
- anhydrous ammonia.
Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle
A motor vehicle theft is also charged differently from other theft crimes and you may see more serious penalties if the theft involved a carjacking, if the vehicle was used as a “getaway car” or if the stolen vehicle was used in the commission of another crime.
Additionally, if an individual allegedly causes over $1,000 in damage to the premises or property in the commission of the theft, that charge may be upgraded to a first-degree felony charge of grand theft.
How can a Tampa criminal defense attorney help my theft case?
Ensuring that your constitutional rights are protected, digging through the evidence, interviewing witnesses, speaking to the prosecutor and law enforcement and resolving the case as best possible as allowed by the facts. This could mean getting the case reduced or completely thrown out of court.
In Tampa, what are the differences between burglary, robbery, and larceny?
Tampa doesn’t have larceny as a crime. It is all categorized as theft. Theft is permanently or temporarily converting someone else’s property for your own use. Robbery is the taking of an object or money from another person by force or threat of force. A weapon is not always required for a robbery to take place. Burglary is breaking into a home, car, business or any structure generally with the intent to commit a crime inside. The crime doesn’t have to be a theft, it can be one of violence.
Can I be charged for receiving stolen property even if I didn’t steal it?
Yes, if you pay an absurdly low amount of money from someone for an item that you know should cost more then you can be charged with receiving stolen property.
Can you just give the property back and not be charged?
Yes, but this doesn’t guarantee that you will not be charged since the crime technically and legally has already occurred.
What are the potential consequences of conviction of theft in Hillsborough County?
Probation, jail, community service hours, theft school, fines and court costs. Prior convictions for theft crimes can be used to enhance future crimes of theft making a misdemeanor petit theft a felony for example.
Trust Your Case to a Top Theft Crimes Defense Lawyer
Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor theft charge or a serious felony grand theft charge, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who’s ready to protect your interests and defend your rights and your freedom.
Working with clients in Tampa, Brandon, Plant City and the surrounding region of South Florida, your criminal defense lawyer will launch an aggressive, strategic defense. He can also offer assistance if you’re facing additional charges, such as receiving stolen property, violent crimes, assault and battery, prostitution, trespassing, drug crimes, firearms crimes, DUIs and BUIs, juvenile crimes and violation of probation cases.
Don’t let a theft crime case stand in the way of your future! Contact an experienced Tampa defense lawyer who will work hard to clear your name and minimize the impact on your life. To schedule a confidential, no-cost case consultation, call us at 813-933-6807.