If you have been arrested or charged with theft in Florida, it is a criminal offense that will go on your permanent criminal record if you are convicted. Our theft lawyers in North Port, FL, can help you defend your rights against Florida prosecutors. Contact Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 today for a free consultation.
Types of Theft Crimes We Handle in Florida
Florida Statute 812.014 states that a person commits theft if they knowingly obtain or use another’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily take the property. Theft crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies. While this list of theft crimes is not exhaustive or comprehensive, it does reference some of the more common theft crimes charged in Florida. Some different classifications of theft crimes we handle include:
Petit theft of the first or second degrees (misdemeanors) is the lowest form of criminal theft. If property is stolen that totals between $100 and $300, the Florida courts will charge petit theft. However, punishment can include up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine depending on the level of petit theft, so it is important to take a criminal offense charge of petit theft seriously.
Grand theft is charged as either a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree felony. This theft charge is much more serious than a petit theft charge.
Shoplifting involves taking property or merchandise intended for sale from a shop or store. It can include the direct theft of an item or switching out a price tag for a lesser price to obtain a better deal. Retail theft may be a felony offense depending on the amount that was involved in the theft crime.
Burglary and Robbery
Often, burglary and robbery are included in theft crimes. Many people use the terms interchangeably; however, they are very different crimes. Burglary involves breaking and entering, while robbery involves forcefully taking property from someone else.
If a weapon is used during the crime of breaking and entering, you could face armed burglary charges. If you use a weapon while taking someone else’s property, you could face armed robbery charges.
Embezzlement is when a person who has permission to handle funds or property then converts and steals it for their own personal use. Embezzlement charges can have severe legal consequences.
Trade Secret Theft
Companies and businesses work hard to create a service or product that is unique. Under Florida Statute 812.081, if any person steals a trade secret and then attempts to sell that trade secret for profit, they will be charged with a third-degree felony for theft, which can include up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Although not tangible property, Florida law is strict regarding trade secrets and the right to protect and guard that intellectual property against theft.
Identity theft is defined as the use of another person’s personal information without their consent, permission, or approval. Examples can include using a person’s name, address, Social Security number, credit card number, signature, or other personal information for personal benefit. The Federal Identity Theft Law can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and Florida Identity Theft Law can be found at § 817.568.
Depending on the circumstances, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges.
If you were arrested or charged with an identity theft crime, the penalties can range from fines to jail time. Often, a court will attempt to make an example out of someone who committed identity theft with harsh or strict sentences. Contact the theft lawyers in North Port at Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 to learn how we can help defend you.
Penalties for Theft Conviction
The penalties for a theft conviction can be in fines, jail time, or both. The severity of the penalties depends on the offense. Typically, they are:
- Second-degree misdemeanor: 60 days in jail, $500 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanor: One year in jail, $1,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony: Five years in prison, $5,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony: 15 years in prison, $10,000 in fines
- First-degree felony: 30 years in prison, $10,000 in fines
Contact a Theft Lawyer in North Port, Florida
Being charged or arrested for a theft crime is frightening, and your first step should be to seek representation. Our team knows how to defend against these charges. Our attorneys have experience on both sides of the table, allowing our team to stay one step ahead of the prosecution, building a strong case against your charges. Summer Goldman worked for years in the prosecutor’s office, so she knows how the prosecution thinks. Meribeth Wetzel has dedicated her entire career to defending people like you.
We will fight to beat your charges and protect your future and freedom.
Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900 to find out how our theft lawyers in North Port can help you. The earlier you contact us, the earlier we can get started on your case. This may allow us to persuade the prosecution to avoid pressing charges in the first place.