There are numerous defense strategies to theft, but the best strategy is the one that is going to lead to the best possible result, which ends in the case not being prosecuted. Police officers make an arrest on a legal standard of probable cause. Prosecutors file criminal charges using a higher standard called a reasonable likelihood of the conviction, which would be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because an individual is arrested does not automatically mean that they are going to be prosecuted. If you have been arrested for theft, contact one of our skilled attorneys who has experience with Ft. Lauderdale theft defense strategies. Call Leifert & Liefert today to get started on your case.
The state attorney’s office reviews every criminal case that is presented to them by any law enforcement agency. For example, if an individual gets arrested in Ft. Lauderdale for shoplifting and the value is $432 worth of merchandise, that case is going to be reviewed by a prosecutor so they can make a determination as to whether or not they agree or disagree with the police officer’s arrest.
The prosecutor has several options, they could agree with the police officer and go ahead with the charges. Afterward, the accused offender receives notification of their first court date, which in Florida is called an arraignment, and they would have to answer legal questions to the court and the charges can be explained. An individual does not automatically face the same exact charge or charges that they are arrested for by the police. The prosecutor’s office that has the final say. The third issue that the court wants to address is the plea: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In between the time that a person is arrested and their potential court date, a prosecutor is reviewing the case.
Deciding to Prosecute
Usually, it is about a three week or 21 day-period from the date of the arrest to the time that the prosecutor in the state attorney’s office reviews the case for a filing decision. Attorneys can make an attempt to convince the prosecutor not to file any charges or perhaps to convince them to file a lesser charge. It is the prosecutor that makes the decision as to what, if anything, they are going to file a formal criminal charge, so they could agree with the police officer or the police investigation. Or they could disagree entirely and elect not to file any charges. The technical term for that in Florida is an announcement of no information. The prosecutor can file a lesser charge as well.
Lawyers Role in the Defense
If given enough time and all the right facts and circumstances, attorneys can reach out to the prosecutor’s office and can make proffer in an attempt to force the state attorney’s office to back up the charge or file a lesser charge. If the state attorney’s office has already made the decision to prosecute, then attorneys would look for other ways to get the dismissal of the charges. The best way to accomplish that is to explore potential diversion programs. Attorneys also look for other defense strategies of theft in Ft. Lauderdale to get charges dismissed by:
- Conducting discovery
- Hiring investigators
- Interviewing witnesses
- Conducting an investigation
- Filing motions to dismiss
- Filing motions to suppress
- Using the statute of limitations
- Speedy trial
- Sworn motions to dismiss
- Venue issues
- Jurisdictional issues
If the prosecutor is not being reasonable or the defense is not happy with the negotiations, the plaintiff’s lawyer can bypass the prosecutor and go to the judge in an open plea.
Diversion programs are available for first-time offenders that result in the charges being dropped. The programs are different depending upon whether or not an individual is charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
In the misdemeanor realm, it is called MDP, which stands for the Misdemeanor Diversion Program. Under the felony umbrella, it is called PTI, which stands for pre-trial intervention. This is the first thing that should be explored because that is a guaranteed dismissal. For more information about Ft. Lauderdale theft defense strategies, call one of our lawyers at Liefert & Liefert.