Theft is a serious offense that can have a myriad of consequences for an individual, depending on factors like the value of the item stolen, whether force or violence were used during the theft, and whether the person accused of theft has prior offenses on their record. If you want to know more about Ft. Lauderdale theft conviction penalties, consult a determined theft attorney that could answer your questions and advocate for you.
Elements the Prosecution Must Prove
The state must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Number one, they must prove that the defendant, otherwise known as the person accused, knowingly and unlawfully obtained, used, or endeavored to obtain or use the property of another person or entity; and that they did so with the intent to either temporarily or permanently either deprive the victim of the right to the property or any benefit from it or appropriate the property of the victim to the defendant’s own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it. The prosecution would have to prove a valuation as well. Somebody would have to be able to testify as to the value of the property and depending upon what the level is, they would have to prove a certain amount.
Prior Theft Convictions as Penalty Enhancers
Prior Ft. Lauderdale theft conviction penalties are called enhancers. If an individual had been charged with a prior theft case, a second-degree misdemeanor turns into a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that now they could be sentenced to county jail time up to just shy of a year rather than the original 60 days. Plus, instead of a short period of probation, they might be looking at up to 12 months of probation. What ordinarily could be a minor second-degree misdemeanor can jump to a first-degree misdemeanor.
A person who commits petty theft who has previously been convicted two or more times of any theft can be charged with a felony of the third degree, so what would normally be a misdemeanor could very quickly morph into a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison or probation. Not only does prior theft case potentially enhance a new theft case, but it also adds points to an individual’s score sheet on felony cases. Florida uses sentencing guidelines, and the prosecutors prepare what is called a sentencing guideline score sheet.
Points Associated with Theft Charges
An individual who has a felony case that is prosecuted in Ft. Lauderdale is given a certain amount of points that is a function of with the specific charge. Depending upon the statute, that offense is given a certain amount of points and is a function of the offense level. A second-degree grand theft charge has a range in which the value of the allegedly taken property can be anywhere between $20,000 to $100,000. If the person’s charge falls in the higher end, they can be assessed more points on the score sheet.
An individual also receives points for prior offenses. The more offenses an individual has on their record, the more points they are going to be given. The more points that individual racks up on their score sheet, the more in jeopardy they are of being in a position in which the judge would be forced to impose a prison sentence called a presumptive sentence. There are ways to get around that, but in a perfect world, the person wants to steer clear of having points on their score sheet. Prior theft cases could enhance future theft cases and could also enhance or add to the amount of points somebody sees on their score sheet, leading to a higher level of exposure for potential sentencing on a felony case.
Value of an Ft. Lauderdale Theft Attorney
The maximum penalty for a single count of the highest level of theft related case in Ft. Lauderdale would be first-degree grand theft, which would subject somebody to 30 years in Florida State Prison. A person cannot get the death penalty for theft convictions. With the stakes so high, it is important that you seek the services of an accomplished theft lawyer that could devote the time and resources necessary to building your defense and mitigating the Ft. Lauderdale theft conviction penalties that you may face.