Being accused of a theft related offense can be very troubeling and can greatly affect a person’s future and ability to secure future employment. Simply being arrested for a theft related offense can cause red flags to appear in background checks for school or work. I have even heard of cases where parents are not able to be chaperones on school field trips. That is why it is very important that a theft related crime be handled properly. There are often ways to get the case thrown out or dismissed, though some cases are much more difficult to get dismissed. No matter what the circumstances are, it is important to have an attorney who has experience in this area and who is not afraid to take the case to trial.
Florida law defines theft as when someone
“obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use the property of another with intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property” Fla. Stat. § 812.014
There are different levels of theft related crimes. The higher the value the more serious the offense. A petit theft is any theft involving goods worth less than $300.00 and a Grand Theft is $300.00 and up. The prosecution can sometimes combine the value of goods stolen by 2 or more people if they think they can prove they were working together.
There are defenses to this so if you are facing a theft offense, speak to an attorney right away to see what your options are.
Defenses to Theft
- Lack of criminal intent to steal
- Consent given by the property owner
- Property has no value or the property was abandoned (trash)
- Obtaining or Use for a lawful purpose
- Necessity or Duress
- Mistake of fact (thinking you had rightful ownership of the property)
Here are some common theft crimes and possible consequences: