Facing a prosecution for theft can be a stressful experience in which you are uncertain what to expect. You may be worried about the repercussions of a theft conviction on your future. As a result, contacting a Deerfield Beach theft Lawyer may be necessary to get legal advice in this situation.
Working with a criminal Attorney may be highly beneficial to you. By mounting all available defenses to the charges, you may have a better chance of avoiding the potential outcomes of a theft conviction on your record.
Defining Theft Deerfield Beach
According to Fla. Stat. § 812.014, individuals commit theft when they intentionally take things that do not belong to them and without proper consent. In committing theft, individuals intend to eliminate the ability of the owner to use or possess the property, use it to benefit themselves, or allow a third party to use it.
Like many states, Florida law bases criminal charges and penalties for theft on the dollar value of the items stolen, as well as the scenario that led to the theft. Although there are many different levels of theft crimes, Misdemeanor, or petit theft, usually involves items valued at less than $750. Likewise, theft of items valued at more than $750 typically constitutes a Felony or grand theft, along with some with items that always qualify as Grand Theft, regardless of their value.
Theft offenses also cover a wide range of crimes, from shoplifting or retail theft to the white-collar crime of embezzlement. As a Deerfield Beach theft Lawyer may explain, some of the most severe types of theft include burglary and robbery. Generally, if a theft offense involves an element of force, violence, or breaking into buildings, then the offense will result in more significant charges with accompanying harsher penalties.
Degrees of Felony Theft Charges
Theft charges fall within one of three classifications: first, second, and third-degree Felony or Grand Theft. Generally, third-degree Felony theft involves property worth between $750 and $20,000. However, individuals also can face third-degree Felony theft charges for the theft of the following items:
- Motor vehicles
- Commercially farmed animals
Second-degree Felony theft charges can result from the theft of items valued at more than $20,000 but less than $100,000. These charges also apply to cargo worth less than $50,000 placed in interstate or intrastate commerce, in some cases, emergency medical equipment worth $300 or more taken from a licensed facility, vehicle, or aircraft, and law enforcement equipment.
Finally, first-degree Felony charges may occur when individuals steal property worth more than $100,000, semitrailers deployed by law enforcement officers, and some cargo worth $50,000 or more placed in interstate or intrastate commerce. First-degree Grand Theft also may occur when individuals use a vehicle to commit Grand Theft and in doing so, either:
- Use the vehicle to assist in the crime and damage the real property of others, or
- Cause damage to real or personal property over $1,000 in the course of committing the crime
Understanding the Penalties for Deerfield Beach Theft Convictions
Petit or Misdemeanor theft convictions can result in a jail sentence of no greater than one year and a fine of no more than $1,000. Fla. Stat. § 775.082 and Fla. Stat. § 775.083 distinguish petit theft penalties based on whether the items stolen are worth more or less than $100, to a maximum of $750.
On the other hand, Felony theft charges can range from third-degree to first-degree theft. The penalties for these charges are as follows:
- Third-degree theft can result in up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Second-degree theft can result in up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- First-degree theft can result in up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
The penalties for even petit theft can result in substantial amounts of jail time. As a result, consulting a theft Attorney in Deerfield Beach may be necessary to avoid or reduce the risk of becoming subject to these unwanted sanctions.
Call a Deerfield Beach Theft Attorney for Advice
Although you might be tempted to try and explain your actions to police or defend yourself against the allegations, you may inadvertently hurt your case in doing so. Your most effective course of action may be to remain silent and talk to a Deerfield Beach theft Lawyer right away.
Only legal counsel can adequately defend your rights and preserve the defenses that you may be able to use in your case. By getting legal advice, you can consider all your options and choose the defense strategy that is best for you.