Florida’s criminal laws regarding felony theft have steep penalties including tens of thousands of dollars in fines and potential life imprisonment. Therefore, if you have been charged with a felony theft offense, contact a Ft Lauderdale felony theft lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced theft attorney can help protect your legal rights throughout an investigation and ensure you know what to expect at each step of the legal process.
In addition, a felony theft attorney can review the charges against you, protect your rights, and investigate the facts and circumstances of the alleged crime. Remember, there are many legal defenses to felony offenses which may be available to you that can possibly have the charges against you dropped or mitigated.
Florida Felony Theft Offenses
Florida recognizes two distinct felony theft offenses, those which have potential prison sentences of one year or more. This includes grand theft and burglary.
Grand theft occurs when someone:
- Knowingly obtains or uses the property of another
- With the intent to, either temporarily or permanently deprive the person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property
- Appropriates the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to use of the property.
Degrees of Theft
Third-degree grand theft charges occur when someone steals $300 or more worth of property. Penalties include up to five years in prison or five years of probation and a $5,000 fine. If someone steals $20,000 or more worth of property, they can be charged with second-degree grand theft. Penalties include up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation and a $10,000 fine. Stealing $100,000 or more worth of property is considered first-degree theft. Penalties include up to 30 years in prison with a maximum fine of $10,000 making it important that a Ft Lauderdale felony theft attorney is consulted.
If someone “enter[s] a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance (motor vehicle, boat, train, etc.) with the intent to commit an offense therein”, they are committing burglary. Florida burglary charges require that the person did not have permission to be in or on the property. However, it is important to keep in mind that even if that person did have permission to be on the property, but remained on it after being asked to leave, they can still be charged.
Florida recognizes three degrees of burglary:
- If someone commits assault or battery during the burglary, or is (or becomes) armed during the burglary, they can be charged with first-degree burglary. It also results when $1,000 or more of property damage occurs via a motor vehicle. Penalties include life in prison and substantial fines.
- Second-degree burglary is a lesser charge of theft without committing assault (or use or become armed during the burglary). However, anyone who enters and remains in an occupied or unoccupied dwelling, an occupied structure, or an occupied conveyance can be charged with this offense. Penalties include up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
- Third-degree burglary is entering and remaining in an unoccupied structure or an unoccupied conveyance. The penalties for this charge include up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Hiring a Ft Lauderdale Felony Theft Attorney
There are many potential defenses to Florida felony theft charges including lack of intent, obtaining or using the property for a lawful purpose, acting out of necessity or duress, consent, and mistake of fact. Each has very specific definitions which can be applied to individual felony theft charges based on the facts and circumstances of the situation. If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony theft offense in Florida, contact a Ft Lauderdale felony theft lawyer right away to review the charges against you, determine which legal defenses might apply to your situation, and make sure that your rights are protected.