When you are confronting the possibility of a theft crime conviction, there is simply no substitute for aggressive legal counsel.
A Delray Beach theft lawyer will utilize their extensive knowledge, experience, and negotiating skills to provide you with a vigorous defense. An experienced criminal attorney in Delray Beach can help an individual lessen or dismiss the potential penalties they may be facing. In English.
Theft crimes all have one thing in common; the unlawful appropriation of property. In Florida, the term theft is defined in a way that encompasses a variety of different crimes.
To convict someone of theft under Florida Statute 812.014(1), the prosecutor must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- A person knowingly acquires, uses, or attempts to acquire or use another person’s property, without the owner’s prior consent
- With intent to either temporarily or permanently:
- Deprive the rightful owner of a right to or benefit from the property
- Appropriate the property to the use of any person that is not entitled to the use of the property
Crimes Constituting Theft
Theft offenses are defined in Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 812–Theft, Robbery, and Related Crimes, some of which include:
- Petit theft
- Grand theft
- Identity theft
- Employee theft
- Retail theft (shoplifting)
- Dealing in stolen property
No matter the degree of theft, an individual should consult with a knowledgeable Delray Beach theft attorney to assist in dismissing any potential consequences associated with their charge.
Classification of Theft Charges
Florida law distinguishes between petit theft (or petty theft) and grand theft, depending on the value and/or type of the property taken. Petit theft is punishable as a misdemeanor offense and grand theft is punishable as a felony. An individual can find out more about the degrees of a theft charge by consulting with a seasoned theft lawyer in Delray Beach.
Petit theft means that the value of the property taken is less than $300 while grand theft involves stolen property valued at more than $300. Generally speaking, the higher the value of the stolen property, the harsher the penalties.
In addition to proving the basic elements of theft detailed in section 812.014(1) of the Florida Statutes, the state must establish that the value of the property taken was:
- First-degree Petit Theft– Less than $300, but more than $100. Punishable by up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000
- Second-Degree Petit Theft – Less than $100 and no prior theft conviction. Punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- First-Degree Grand Theft – $100,000 or more. Punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine
- Second-Degree Grand Theft– More than $20,000, but less than $100,000. Punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Third-Degree Grand Theft – Less than $20,000, but more than $300. Punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000
Theft offense penalties can be enhanced irrespective of the value of the property taken if the person:
- Committed petit theft and has any prior theft convictions
- Committed grand theft and either:
- Used a vehicle as an instrumentality to assist in the commission of the offense thereby damaging another person’s real property or
- Caused damage to the real or personal property of another in excess of $1,000 in the commission of the offense
Contacting a Delray Beach Theft Attorney
Regardless of whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, a Delray Beach theft lawyer will approach each case with the commitment, resources, and care their clients deserve. This combined effort will result in the best possible outcome for the client.
Contact a knowledgeable theft attorney in Delray Beach immediately to find out more information about your legal options and what an attorney can do to defend against these charges.