Florida law defines theft as the deliberate act (or attempted act) of taking someone else’s property with the intent of doing the following, either temporarily or permanently:
- Depriving them of their right to the property or a benefit from it
- Using the property yourself or allowing its use by someone not entitled to do so
Crimes that fall into the theft category in Florida include stealing, larceny, misappropriation of funds, shoplifting, etc. All of them can leave you with a criminal record that can keep you out of good schools, deny you certain types of employment, and even affect your immigration status, so any theft charges should always be faced with help from a Tampa criminal defense lawyer at Sulte Law Firm.
Florida Theft Crimes Classification
In Florida, theft crimes are divided into two categories: petit or grand theft. The value of the stolen property usually dictates which charge will be laid against you.
Petit theft is the lesser of the two offenses and has two categories, both of which are misdemeanors:
- Petit Theft of the Second Degree: The property stolen was worth less than $100. If found guilty, you could spend up to 60 days in jail and pay a $500 fine. However, if you were convicted of petit theft of the second degree before, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor instead.
- Petit Theft of the First Degree: If the property you were accused of stealing was worth more than $100 but less than $750, you can spend up to a year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.
If you have two or more previous convictions for petit theft in Florida, a third offense may be treated as a third-degree felony, which can incur a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Grand theft, which refers to any theft of property valued at more than $750, is prosecuted as a felony in Florida.
- Grand Theft of the Third Degree: The stolen property is valued at more than $750 but less than $20,000. If convicted, you can face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Grand Theft of the Second Degree: This offense covers theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, cargo valued at less than $50,000, and emergency equipment worth $300 or more. If convicted, you could spend 15 years in jail and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- Grand Theft of the First Degree: You can be charged with this offense if the property you allegedly took was worth more than $100,000. It may also apply if you stole cargo worth more than $50,000 or committed theft using a vehicle that caused over $1000 in property and real estate damage. If found guilty, you could go to prison for up to 30 years and pay a $10,000 fine.
Call a Tampa Theft Defense Lawyer for Help
Any type of Florida theft charge can send you to jail and leave you with a criminal record that harms your future. This is why you need a Tampa criminal defense lawyer who will help you mount a strong defense and/or advocate for lesser charges so that you can move on from your mistake. If you’ve been arrested for petit or grand theft, call Sulte Law Firm right away at (813) 223-4343.
What is the Difference Between Theft and Burglary?
Burglary is similar to theft in that it is a property crime. However, what makes it different is that it involves trespassing on someone else’s property with the intent to commit an offense or a forcible felony, which involves the use or threat of physical violence.
In Florida, burglary is always prosecuted as a felony, while theft may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on your record and the value of the property taken. There are also different degrees of burglary, characterized by the presence of a weapon, whether a victim was involved, and the type of dwelling, vehicle, or other structure burgled.
What is the Difference Between Theft and Robbery?
Robbery is also a property crime in Florida, but it differs from theft in that it involves the use or threat of force. Florida statute 812.13 defines robbery as the taking of money or property from another person while committing force or assault or making the victim believe that they may be subjected to either.
Robbery may be charged as a first or second-degree felony, depending on whether a deadly weapon was involved. Therefore, theft and robbery are both charges that require assistance from a Tampa theft defense attorney.
How Can a Tampa Theft Defense Attorney Help?
Like all property crimes, Florida law imposed severe punishments on those found guilty of theft. Not only can the charges be difficult to understand, but you are also up against a strong and often punitive law enforcement system.
At Sulte Law Firm, Attorney Ryan Sulte will provide you with an informed and assertive defense. He understands the impact that a theft charge can have on your future and will ensure that your rights are not violated by prosecutors over-eager to secure a conviction. When dismissal of the charges is not possible, his goal is always to secure the best outcome for your case.