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Theft and property crimes are generally charged from the taking or damaging of someone else’s property. This could be either permanently or temporarily.
Theft and property crimes often seem like they may be minor, a small stolen object, or light vandalization. The potential punishment for these types of offenses can lead to severe punishments and jail time, an experience that is not minor in nature. They even can serve as a roadblock toward future and current employment opportunities.
Due to the severity of the charges, working with a qualified Tallahassee theft lawyer at Pumphrey Law can give you the opportunity to effectively defend your name during this difficult process. You also will be able to construct a defense strategy that helps get the charges reduced or completely dismissed.
Tallahassee Theft Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with theft or a property crime in Leon County or surrounding areas, an experienced Tallahassee criminal attorney can analyze the facts of your case and potentially find mitigating circumstances to reduce your charges or have them dropped altogether.
If you have been charged with a Florida theft or property crime, contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law today. The team at Pumphrey Law has years of experience in the legal field, and they understand the importance of defending your freedom. They will handle your case with the utmost importance and make sure your voice is heard.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation to go over the specifics of your case with the legal team, call (850) 681-7777 or contact us online. The firm proudly represents clients accused of theft and property crimes throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Fort Walton Beach, DeFuniak Springs, Panama City, Tallahassee, Madison, Vernon, Mayo and many others.
In Florida, theft offenses are divided into petit theft and grand theft. When a person is accused of theft, the crime is charged based on the circumstances specific to that case. Theft charges are determined based on the value and type of property stolen.
Petit theft generally is charged when the value of the property is of lower value. This is the most minor theft offenses, and it is defined by Florida Statutes § 812.014(2-3) as a person who commits theft on items of financial value up to $750.
The offense can be a misdemeanor of the first or second degree. Often for items valued up to $100, petit theft is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. If the offense involves between $100 and $750, it is a first degree misdemeanor.
The most common type of petit theft is shoplifting. According to Florida Statutes § 812.015, someone can be charged with this offense if that person has taken merchandise or property out of a store, changed a label or price tag or moved merchandise to a different container with the intent deprive the merchant of the item.
Grand theft, on the other hand, typically involves knowingly taking someone else’s property valued at $750 or more with the intent to deprive that person of the property, according to Florida Statutes § 812.014. This charge also could apply if a certain type of property was involved or when aggravating circumstances such as the use of a motor vehicle are present.
Grand theft can be a felony of the first, second or third degree, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Simple grand theft is a third degree felony and involves theft of property with a value of $750 to $20,000. The crime can be a second degree felony if the value is between $20,000 and $100,000, and it can be a first degree felony if it is more than $100,000.
An example of grand theft can be dealing in stolen property. According to Florida Statutes § 812.019, this charge can be levied if someone knowingly participates in trafficking property they knew was stolen or if a person organizes others who deal in stolen property. Carjacking also is a form of grand theft.
Property crimes in the Sunshine State generally are defined as an intentional criminal act that results in the taking or destruction of another person’s property without the owner’s consent. Property crimes can be charged as misdemeanor or felony offenses.
Property crimes are distinguished from violent crimes. Violent crimes often involve the threat of force or actual force in order to accomplish the taking of property. The most common type of violent crime involving a taking of property is robbery or sudden snatching.
The severity of a property crime depends on the value taken or damaged and several other factors. For example, arson charges can be a felony of the first or second degree. The crime is defined in Florida Statutes § 806.01 as intentionally damaging any building of any kind through the use of fire or an explosion.
Arson can be a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the arson caused damage to any dwelling or structure that normally is occupied, then the crime can be charged as a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years incarceration.
Burglary is defined under Florida Statutes § 810.02 as entering or remaining in a structure, dwelling or conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense inside. However, this does not include instances where the premises were open to the public at the time of the alleged offense or if the defendant is licensed to enter or remain, or if the defendant was invited inside.
If permission to remain was withdrawn and the defendant allegedly remained to commit an offense, he or she may be guilty of burglary. Breaking and entering also is a form of burglary in Florida.
Another form of property crime in Florida is criminal mischief. Someone can be charged with criminal mischief if he or she intentionally damages property belonging to someone else. Anyone who commits vandalism or graffiti can be charged with criminal mischief. This is often committed by minors and charged as a juvenile offense.
Criminal Penalties for Theft and Property Crimes in Florida
Petit Theft in the Second Degree and Criminal Mischief causing damage in an amount less than $200 are misdemeanors of the second degree. These misdemeanors can incur up to 60 days in jail, fines up to $500 or both.
Petit Theft in the First Degree and Criminal Mischief causing damage in an amount of more than $200 and less than $1,000 are misdemeanors of the first degree. These misdemeanors can include up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000 or both.
Shoplifting crimes where the property is valued at $750 or more would be considered Grand Theft in the Third Degree, a third degree felony. Criminal Mischief causing damage in an amount greater than $1,000 is also a felony of the third-degree. These charges can result in prison time of five years or less, fines up to $5,000 or both.
Shoplifting in an amount of $3,000 or more, Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft in the Second Degree, Burglary and Arson in the Second Degree are second degree felonies, a conviction can result in up to 15 years in state prison, fines not exceeding $10,000 or both.
If someone organizes, plans, or directs others in Dealing with Stolen Property, Grand Theft in the First Degree, Armed Burglary, Aggravated Burglary or Arson in the First Degree, the resulting charge could be a felony in the first degree. A conviction for these crimes can lead to imprisonment up to 30 years with the possibly of life imprisonment, depending on the crime, and fines up to $10,000.
Even a conviction of Petit Theft requires the convicted to have his or her fingerprints taken in court and his or her name will go into a national database for employers to view during background checks. This is the result of the Florida Fingerprint Requirement.
If an offender is found guilty of any theft misdemeanors, the court can order the offender’s driver’s license suspended for six months to one year. If someone has previously been convicted of the offense, the court must suspend his or her license, without any option of leniency.
For offenders found guilty of any theft, the court also can impose a supplemental fine, in addition to the criminal penalties for the offense, up to double the gross value of the property, plus the costs of investigation and prosecution.
Offenders can also face civil remedies, according to Florida Statutes § 772.11. Anyone who proves by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has been a victim of theft or shoplifting is entitled to pursue civil remedies, under this statute.
Finding A Tallahassee Property Crime Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a theft or property crime in Leon County, contact the skilled Tallahassee criminal lawyers at the Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your case. An experienced Leon County criminal defense attorney may be able to utilize a defense or exception to Florida laws to have your charge dismissed or reduced. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation about your alleged theft or property crime.
This article was last updated on February 13, 2021.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.