Criminal defense lawyers serving clients accused of theft and related offenses Sarasota, FL and surrounding areas.
Being accused of theft in Florida can not only damage your personal and professional reputation, but if you are convicted, it also means fines, imprisonment, and restitution. Given that these offenses are severely punished, you might want to consider retaining a skilled theft attorney in Sarasota.
Facing a criminal charge or an arrest can be very overwhelming if you do not know how the criminal process and prosecution work. Unfortunately, failing to know how the law works can result in a negative outcome for your case. If you are seeking legal representation, call the experienced theft lawyers at Goldman Wetzel.
Florida Definition of Theft
In simple terms, a person commits theft or larceny when they illegally and intentionally take (or attempt to take) a property that is in someone’s possession or constructive possession. The charges associated with theft depend on the value of the assets stolen: they could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
The Statute § 812.014 defines the elements of theft in Florida as obtaining or using, or endeavoring to do so, the property of another person with the intent to:
- Deprive the victim of a benefit from the property or the right to it.
- Appropriate the asset for the offender’s or other person’s use.
Under this definition, there are numerous property crimes that can be charged as theft in Florida. In order to determine the severity of the charges and dictate sentencing, the judge will take into consideration the amount of money or the value of the property stolen, the defendant’s prior convictions, and whether there was damage to the property or use of violence.
Less severe theft offenses are charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, but if the value stolen exceeds certain amounts, you could be charged with a first-degree felony. In other words, the sentencing for theft in Florida ranges from 60 days imprisonment to a maximum penalty of 30 years. As for the fines, you could expect a penalty between $500 to $10,000.
In addition to these penalties, a theft conviction can also result in probation, restitution, loss of your driver’s license, and community work. Having legal representation early in the process might help you avoid or reduce your charges. For an aggressive and effective defense, contact our theft attorneys in Sarasota.
Types of Theft in Florida
There are different offenses that can be considered a larceny offense. At Goldman Wetzel, the most popular types of theft crimes that we handle include:
- Robbery: this crime implies stealing property from the person by using force or intimidation. For example, if you threaten a person to get her or his wallet, you might be charged with robbery. Due to its severity, this offense is considered a felony.
- Burglary: a burglary crime is usually associated with theft because it implies entering a house, building, or conveyance to commit a crime such as stealing. In Florida, this offense is classified as a felony.
- Petty theft: petit theft means stealing something whose value is less than $750. Since there is no violence and the amount stolen is not excessive, these offenses are charged as misdemeanors, but prior convictions can increase your penalties.
- Grand theft: stealing an asset valued at more than $750 or law enforcement or medical equipment valued at $300 is considered grand theft and you might face felony charges. Examples of grand theft include stealing expensive jewelry, cars, computer equipment, etc.
- Theft by deception or false pretenses: white-collar crimes are not violent, but they imply the deception of a person or institution to obtain a gain. Examples of theft by deception include fraud, embezzlement, forgery, wire fraud, and identity theft.
- Theft of controlled substances: stealing a controlled substance is a 3rd-degree grand theft felony. In addition to these charges, you may also face accusations of drug possession or drug trafficking. Examples of a controlled substance include heroin, cocaine, anabolics, Valium, and cough suppressants.
Contact Our Theft Attorneys in Sarasota
Given that a theft charge can have a negative impact on your life, you need to make sure that you have an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Aggressive legal representation can increase your chances of a successful outcome.