The elements of the crime of theft are when a person knowingly obtains or uses, or tries to obtain or use, the property of another with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of the right to the property. The charge also occurs when an individual tries to appropriate another person’s property to their own use when they are not entitled to use that property.
If you have been charged with such a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach theft lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable criminal attorney in West Palm Beach can gather any relevant evidence to help lessen or dismiss any potential penalties.
Degrees of Theft
There are varying degrees of theft and various acts, such as shoplifting, robbery, and joyriding. The degrees are determined by the amount or the value of the property that was stolen. To clarify the type of theft an individual may be charged with, they should secure the assistance of a West Palm Beach theft attorney immediately.
The first level of theft is called petit theft. Petit theft involves a theft of any property whose value is less than $500. If a person takes something and it is less than $500, it is petit theft. It is a second-degree misdemeanor if it is an individual’s first offense, and a first-degree misdemeanor if the person has any priors.
The other type of misdemeanor theft is called retail theft or shoplifting, but again, the value still has to be under $500 to be considered a Misdemeanor.
Third Degree Felony
Misdemeanor theft would be stealing the property of another with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the rightful owner of the benefit or use of that property, and the value of that property is less than $500. A theft lawyer in West Palm Beach can explain the nuances of such a charge.
If the property is valued at more than $500 but less than $20,000, then the crime gets elevated to a third-degree felony.
If a client goes to a high-end department store and they are trying to steal a $1,000 purse, that is called grand theft, or grand retail theft. It is grand theft because it is over $500 as opposed to petit theft where it is under $500. No matter the severity of the crime, an individual accused of theft should not hesitate before contacting a seasoned attorney in West Palm Beach.
Anywhere where the value is $500 to less than $20,000 is considered a third-degree felony. There can be cases where people would steal more than $20,000, so the next level of theft would be in a bracket of between $20,000 and $100,000, and then there is a bracket of over $100,000.
The crimes where the taking is valued at between $20,000 and $100,000 is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The taking of over $100,000 is a first-degree felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Other charges can also be considered when an individual is taking those higher amounts. This can be done in a single transaction, but typically, when those higher amounts are involved, the crime is usually split between multiple transactions over a period of time. An individual can often face another charge along with that, such as an organized scheme to defraud.
If a person is charged with an actual theft and if there was a plan involved over a period of time, the crime could also be considered as an organized scheme to defraud. These are the main elements of theft, which can be best explained by a West Palm Beach lawyer.
Is it Possible to Remove a Theft Conviction from Public View?
When someone is convicted of theft, it is very unlikely that the charge will be expunged or sealed from public view. However, if a person was charged with theft, but no conviction was handed out, the charge could be sealed from public view. This also includes instances where the individual was acquitted of the offense. However, it is important to keep in mind that if the defendant pleads guilty in order to receive the benefits of a deal made with the Prosecution, they may not be able to expunge or seal the case from public view since it can technically still be a conviction.
Role of a West Palm Beach Theft Attorney
There are many roles that a lawyer must take on when representing an individual charged with theft in West Palm Beach. First and foremost, a lawyer’s job is to represent their client in court and attempt to dismiss the charge.
If the lawyer cannot make the case go away, they would attempt to reduce the theft charge from a felony to a misdemeanor, or from a high felony to a lower felony. Either way, the lawyer’s goal is to get the charge dismissed or reduced.
Beyond this, there are many other roles an attorney must take on in a West Palm Beach theft charge. To best understand how an attorney can help your claim, consult with one as soon as possible. An experienced theft attorney in West Palm Beach can help lessen or dismiss any potential penalties you may be facing.