A theft conviction in South Bradenton, FL can lead to jail time, fines, and a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life, making it difficult to get a job, go back to school, join the military, or even find a decent place to live. Employers and landlords often look down on “thieves,” believing they could put other workers or tenants, and their property in danger. Sadly, most will not take the time to learn your story or give you a second chance. That is why your best course of action is to get out in front of this charge and fight it.
At Goldman Wetzel, we help clients in South Bradenton who have been arrested for or charged with theft as defined by Florida laws for Theft, Robbery and Related Crimes (XLVI.812.014). Whether you have been accused of misdemeanor petit theft, or felony grand theft, theft lawyers in South Bradenton at Goldman Wetzel can fight to resolve the situation as painlessly as possible so that you can get back to your life with minimal long-term impact. To learn more, call us at (727) 828-3900 for a free consultation.
Why Hire Goldman Wetzel
At Goldman Wetzel, our legal team understands the inner workings of Florida criminal law. Our partners have worked on both sides of the courtroom: Summer Goldman spent several years in the State Attorney’s office, while Maribeth Wetzel is a career defense lawyer with a lengthy track record of successfully fighting for the accused.
Not only have we spent many years honing the craft of criminal defense, but thanks to our unique experience, we are intimately familiar with how the other side works, allowing us to anticipate their next move and think one step ahead.
To learn more and to speak with a member of the Goldman Wetzel team today, call (727) 828-3900.
Theft Charges in Florida
A theft charge in Florida can put you in jail and subsequently haunt you for many years after you get out. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the value of the property you are accused of stealing, you might be facing a felony charge.
Petit theft is another term for misdemeanor theft as defined by the Florida statute for Theft (812.014.4.e). Typically, people who face this charge are accused of stealing property worth less than $300. However, exacerbating circumstances may push the charge to a felony even if the value of the property allegedly stolen was small.
Grand theft as defined by the Florida statute (812.014.3.b) is a felony, and you can get charged with it starting at a dollar value of only $300. If the alleged theft was more than $20,000, the charge bumps to a second-degree felony, increasing the possible jail time and fines. If the value of the property exceeded $100,000, it becomes a first-degree felony, punishable by decades in jail.
Defenses Against Theft Charges in South Bradenton
When Goldman Wetzel evaluates your case, we start by figuring out what exactly the prosecution is accusing you of doing, and from there, we formulate a defense that makes the most sense in the given circumstances. Ideally, we want to keep you out of jail and keep any record of the alleged incident off your permanent record.
We have several defense options to choose from. The most common are:
Convincing the Other Side to Drop the Charges
It is always best when our clients contact us early on in the process. When they do so, it gives us the opportunity to discuss the case with the prosecution, sometimes before charges have been filed. When we have the chance to do so, we will attempt to persuade the prosecution to forgo filing charges. If not, we can also attempt to convince the prosecution to drop any filed charges against you.
Pleading Not Guilty
The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove you are guilty of theft; it is not on us to prove you are innocent. In other words, your theft lawyers in South Bradenton do not have to convince the jury of your innocence but instead must open up just enough cracks in the prosecution’s case to create reasonable doubt. If we can do that, we can secure a “not guilty” verdict, and you will walk free.
Our ideal plan is to plead not guilty on our client’s behalf and get the charge wiped from their record. However, if the prosecution’s case is overwhelming, and creating reasonable doubt looks to be an impossible task, we have other options to help you resolve this charge with minimal long-term impact.
Plea bargaining means agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge. For instance, if you have been charged with first or second degree felony for grand theft and the evidence against you is insurmountable, it might make sense to offer to plead down to a misdemeanor theft. By doing so, you can likely avoid jail time, and your fine will be substantially less.
If you have been arrested or charged with misdemeanor theft (or we plead down to this charge), and you have an otherwise clean record, we can often secure deferred adjudication. What this means is you will likely spend a certain amount of time on probation, and if you stay out of trouble during that period, the charge will get wiped off your record at the end, like it never happened.
Time Is Not On Your Side
It is a bad idea to let a theft charge fester without getting an attorney involved right away. Do not let the prosecution gather momentum in your case without having representation of your own to push back against it. Call (941) 405-5193 today for a consultation with our South Bradenton theft lawyers.
Call Today to Speak With Our South Bradenton Theft Lawyers
If you have been arrested for or charged with theft in South Bradenton, time is not on your side. Get theft lawyers in South Bradenton on your side early on to intervene before charges are formalized. The sooner we get involved, the sooner we can help you avoid conviction, jail time, fines, and a potentially permanent criminal record. To speak with a member of our team and learn how we can help, call Goldman Wetzel at (727) 828-3900.