Theft is a crime that many people like to brush off, as less serious than other criminal offenses. However, depending on the scale of theft and what aggravating factors may be present, a theft charge can lead to a felony conviction. That is why it is important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. If you have been charged with a theft crime in Boca Raton or its surrounding areas, it is in your best interest to speak with a seasoned criminal defense attorney right away. Boca Raton theft lawyers can explain your defense options and fight for the best outcome possible in your case.
Theft Charges in Florida
Theft, robbery, and other related offenses are defined in Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes. Theft can take a variety of forms and some of the most commonly charged offenses in Florida are:
- Petit theft
- Grand theft
- Shoplifting (also known as retail theft)
- Dealing in stolen property
- Robbery (theft by force)
- Employee theft (often referred to as embezzlement)
- Theft of services
To prove the crime of theft under Section 812.014(1) the state must prove that the accused:
- Knowingly and unlawfully obtained, used, or attempted to obtain or use the property of another with intent to either temporarily or permanently
- Deprive another person of their right to the property or any benefit thereof
- Appropriate another person’s property for the accused’s own use or the use of another who is not entitled to it
In addition to proving these basic elements, the prosecutor must also establish the value of the property taken and/or that the stolen property falls into one of the specified categories outlined in 812.014.
How Theft Charges are Classified
Theft charges are misdemeanors or felonies of varying degrees depending on the value of the stolen property or the specific type of property stolen. Theft charges are generally divided into two main categories–petit theft (misdemeanors) and grand theft (felonies).
It is classified as petit theft if the property taken is worth less than $300. The two categories of petit theft charges are first-degree and second-degree. First-degree theft is when the value of the stolen property was less than $300, but more than $100. Second-degree theft is when the value of the stolen property was less than $100. A Boca Raton theft attorney can attempt to mitigate the severity of the charges that an individual faces.
Defining Grand Theft
It is considered grand theft if the property taken is worth more than $300 or involves certain types of property. The three categories of grand theft charges are first-degree, second-degree, and, third-degree grand theft. First-degree theft is when the value of the stolen property was $100,000 or more. Stolen property is shipping cargo valued at more than $50,000.
Second-degree theft is when the value of the stolen property was more than $20,000, but less than $100,000. Stolen property is shipping cargo valued at less than $50,000 or emergency medical equipment worth more than $300.
Third-degree grand theft refers to instances where the value of the stolen property was more than $300, but less than $20,000. Stolen property is a will, codicil, or other testamentary instruments, firearm, motor vehicle, a controlled substance under Florida law, or a commercially farmed animal.
Theft charges can be enhanced to a higher degree if the accused:
- Has prior theft convictions
- Used a motor vehicle as an instrumentality in the course of committing the offense and damaged the real property of another
- Caused more than $1,000 in damage to the real or personal property of another in the course of committing the offense or
- Committed theft during a state of emergency declared by the Governor
Contacting a Lawyer
Theft charges are serious and can have serious legal consequences. To address these charges, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact a Boca Raton theft lawyer so you can discuss your case, and what legal options are available to you.