Legal theft in Tequesta encompasses many situations that involve having possession of something that you know, or should have known, is not yours. Sometimes simple mistakes or misunderstandings can lead to theft charges. If that happens, you will need a strong advocate to help you.
Even in cases where it is clear that a theft occurred, law enforcement and prosecutors must adhere to specific procedures that requires them to prove that you committed the act beyond a reasonable doubt. One of our Tequesta theft Lawyers at Leifert & Leifert can oversee your case and challenge the charges made by the state. Call today to get started.
What are the Potential Penalties Following a Theft Conviction?
Theft in Tequesta can be either a Misdemeanor or a Felony. If the value of the items stolen is less than $750, the crime can be charged as petit (“petty”) theft, a Misdemeanor. Conviction on a second-degree Misdemeanor carries a possible sentence of up to 60 days in jail, and conviction on a first-degree Misdemeanor can lead to up to one year in jail. Misdemeanor convictions can also lead to monetary fines.
Felony convictions carry much harsher sentences. Prison sentences may last up to five years for third-degree Felonies, up to 15 years for second-degree Felonies, and up to 30 years for first-degree Felonies. First-degree Felony theft crimes that involve violence or weapons can be punishable by life in prison.
Florida Statute § 812.0145 makes committing a theft crime against an elderly person a more serious offense than committing the same crime against a younger person. A theft that may have been a Misdemeanor can be prosecuted as a Felony when the complainant is elderly (65 years of age or older).
Theft Involving Direct Contact is Usually a Felony
When theft involves taking something directly from another person, Tequesta law usually makes that event a Felony. Florida Statute § 812.131 deals with Robbery and “mugging”. Even if the person charged with mugging got little of value, if the person used force or violence, or a threat that led to fear, then the crime is a Felony, usually a “strong arm robbery.”
Similarly, penalties for carjacking are harsher than for vehicle theft, as are penalties for burglary when there is contact with a person on the premises. Any theft that involves the use of a weapon can be prosecuted as a first-degree Felony.
Repeat offenders also may face Felony charges for thefts that would be Misdemeanors for a first offender.
Tequesta Theft Law Contains Harsh Legal Inferences
Police and prosecutors have many tools to allege and charge that someone dealt in stolen property. For example, authorities can make an inference that property is stolen and that the possessor should have known it was stolen if:
- The possessor presented a false ID to rent the property, or failed to return the property within 72 hours of the end of the term of the rental,
- The possessor bought or sold the property at substantially below its fair market price,
- There is proof that the possessor bought or sold the property outside of the normal course of business when the possessor’s business involves the type of property in question.
These inferences can make it tough to defend charges of Theft or dealing in stolen property. An attorney with experience defending people accused of theft in Tequesta may be able to present evidence that can overcome these inferences and secure a better result.
Why Should Someone Call a Theft Attorney in Tequesta Today?
Even though Tequesta theft law imposes substantial penalties on persons who are convicted, a skilled attorney may be able to lessen the severity of a sentence in a particular case. Especially when a person charged is a first offender, diversion programs may be available instead of jail time in some cases.
When a charged person is a repeat offender, a seasoned Tequesta theft lawyer will try to determine whether the police behaved appropriately from the beginning of the case. The criminal attorney will strive to present all available defenses to assist the defendant.
If you an involved in a theft case in Tequesta, call an experienced defense attorney today.