Florida Theft Laws
In common usage, the word “theft” refers to any act of stealing or taking tangible or intangible property from its owner without the owner’s consent. When you get charged with theft, the implication is that the only way you harmed the victim was by taking their property. Therefore, the penalties for theft are less than they are for certain other crimes that involve stealing someone’s property or causing them financial losses. For example, if the defendant obtained the victim’s property through deception, it is fraud. If the defendant entered the victim’s residence by force, it is burglary. If the threat of violence was involved, it is robbery. Even though theft is not the worst crime out there, and jurors do not assume that you are a monster when they hear that you were charged with theft, you can still go to prison for theft. The best way to avoid this is to contact a Tampa theft lawyer if you are facing criminal charges for theft.
The Different Types of Theft and Their Penalties
Florida law defines theft as a misdemeanor (“petty theft”) or a felony (“grand theft”) depending on the value of the stolen property. Theft is a felony if the money or property stolen has a value of at least $300. Furthermore, you can get charged with felony theft for stealing certain types of dangerous items even if they are valued at less than $300. These include fire extinguishers, firearms, controlled substances, motor vehicles, farm animals, and agricultural produce. This means that stealing a $290 watch is a misdemeanor, but stealing a single Xanax pill is a felony.
Misdemeanor theft is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. For felony theft, the maximum fines range from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the value of the stolen property. The maximum prison sentences range from five years to 30 years.
Defenses That Can Get You Acquitted of Theft Charges
According to Florida law, a person is guilty of theft if they took someone else’s property without the other person’s consent, regardless of whether they intended to return it. This means that borrowing something without permission counts as theft. It is, however, a valid defense to say that you believed in good faith that the victim had given you permission to take their property. You can also argue that there is insufficient evidence to convict you, such as that the person shown in the security camera footage is not you, or that the security camera footage only shows that you were present at the scene of the alleged crime but not that you participated in the theft.
Contact Tampa Theft Crimes Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
You have the right to due process, even if the crime of which you are being accused is only a misdemeanor. A theft defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for petty theft, grand theft, larceny, shoplifting, or any other crime related to stolen property. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.