An embezzlement charge can land a person in hot water, both in terms of a criminal record and the potential penalties. Under Florida law, embezzlement and other property crimes of that nature are legally known as theft.
In an embezzlement charge, the Prosecutor must prove all legal elements of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. When it comes to embezzlement offenses, the Prosecutor must show that another person’s property was taken without their permission and that the true owner was intentionally deprived of their property – either temporarily or permanently.
Embezzlement is a unique offense. Many times, this charge regards entrusted property which is misappropriated without the consent of the true owner. As such, embezzlement commonly occurs in a business or an employer-employee context.
Our seasoned fraud attorneys could help examine the facts of your case and provide legal representation during hearings, trials, and other proceedings. Consulting a Broward County embezzlement defense lawyer at Leifert & Leifert could be a beneficial first step to establishing a defense.
Petit Theft or Grand Theft Embezzlement
Depending on the severity of the embezzlement, the prosecution must decide whether the charge will be filed under Petit Theft or Grand Theft. Most of the time, the court regards Petit Theft as a Misdemeanor – or a less-serious offense. The Prosecution may choose to pursue a Grand Theft charge which is normally regarded as a Felony in Broward County. Felonies tend to carry harsher penalties than Misdemeanors.
The Prosecution’s decision to charge someone with Felony or Misdemeanor Embezzlement depends upon the value of the property taken, spent, used, or misappropriated. Typically, a Felony charge will be used when the property has a minimum value of $300. A Misdemeanor charge usually is applied when the property value is less than $300.
Defending Against an Embezzlement Charge
Individuals facing embezzlement charges may have one or more legal defenses available to them, depending upon the circumstances. Two common defenses to embezzlement charges include:
- The property owner provided their consent (beyond their initial consent) for the accused to take or spend the subject property
- The accused harbored a good faith belief that they owned the subject property or that they had a legal right to possess the subject property
A Broward County embezzlement lawyer could build a viable defense for you.
Potential Penalties in Broward County
The severity of the penalty upon conviction for embezzlement usually depends upon the cost or value of the property at issue. Penalties for lesser value property typically does not carry the same weight as an offense for a more expensive property.
For example, a petit theft conviction is ordinarily a Second-Degree Misdemeanor. The sentence may include up to 60 days of imprisonment, along with a fine not exceeding $500. This penalty may increase if the Defendant is a repeat offender.
In large-value embezzlement cases, the court may view Second-Degree Grand Theft as a Second-Degree Felony, resulting in a prison term of up to 15 years, along with a $10,000 fine. First-Degree Grand Theft can result in up to 30 years in jail, along with a $10,000 fine. If you are facing embezzlement penalties, reach out to one of our accomplished criminal defense lawyers.
Calling a Broward County Embezzlement Defense Attorney
Embezzlement charges should not be taken lightly. The penalties can be severe and may significantly limit your personal freedom. Monetary fines can also be extremely costly and threaten your financial stability.
If you were charged with embezzlement, contact Leifert & Leifert. A knowledgeable Broward County embezzlement lawyer could help you understand the area of law surrounding your case. Our attorneys may be able to help you formulate a good legal defense to your charge and work toward obtaining a favorable result in your case. Call today to schedule a free consultation.