The types of theft crimes are many, but the common factor is that theft is any action intended to deprive some other person of their property, without their knowledge or consent. Theft crimes are serious offenses. In Florida, state statutes delineate different degrees of theft, based on the value of the property that was stolen A conviction can have serious legal, social, and financial consequences that will disrupt your life in myriad ways. For this reason, you will want to retain an experienced Tampa theft attorney if you or a member of your family has been accused of this type of crime.
Types of Theft Crimes
The following are among the common types of theft crimes:
- Motor vehicle theft
- Writing worthless checks
- Identity theft
- Computer crimes
- Dealing in stolen property
- Money laundering
The legal penalties that you face if convicted of one of these crimes will depend on the value of the property stolen, your prior criminal record, and whether you used a weapon in the commission of the crime.
Degrees of Theft
Whether a crime is classified as Grand Theft or Petit Theft depends on the value of the property alleged to have been stolen,
If the property is valued at under $100, the charge will be Petit Theft of the second degree, a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to than 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
If the property is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, you may be charged with first degree petite theft, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
If the value of the stolen property is greater than $300, it can be charged as Grand Theft. If the property is worth more than $100,000, it is First Degree Grand Theft, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the value of the stolen property is at least $20,000 but less than $100,000 it is Second Degree Grand Theft, a second degree felony in Florida with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.
When the stolen property is valued at $300 or more, but less than $20,000, the charge is Third Degree Grand Theft, a third degree felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Other Possible Consequences of a Theft Conviction
Theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude” and a conviction can have a devastating effect on your reputation, your position in society, and your career. You could lose your job, future employment opportunities, or your professional license. Your family will likely suffer as well from your loss of status in the community and diminished socio-economic standing. Additional consequences may include:
- Loss of trust of business associates, customers, family, and friends
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Media attention and exposure to public scrutiny
- Difficulty obtaining housing
- Denial of Green Card or U.S. citizenship
- Loss of educational opportunities and disqualification for scholarship assistance
The Importance of the Right Defense Attorney
Having a highly skilled Tampa theft attorney representing you is the best way to avoid the worst consequences of a theft conviction. A well experienced attorney knows what defenses can be raised in your defense. These are some examples:
- You believed in good faith the property belonged to you.
- You were unable to form the intent to steal, for example if you were under the influence of a drug or alcohol.
- You were merely borrowing the property with the intention of returning it.
- Improper police procedure in violation of your constitutional rights.
- Entrapment, if law enforcement lured you into committing a theft.
If the evidence against you is overwhelming and incontrovertible, there is still a great deal a good lawyer can do for you. An experienced defense attorney knows the Tampa criminal justice system and is able to use various alternative penalties to your advantage, avoiding jail time and possibly avoiding a conviction. Potential alternatives your attorney may be able to negotiate for you include:
- Participating in a diversion program that will result in charges being dropped
- Withholding of adjudication in exchange for a “no contest” plea
- Paying restitution to the victim
- Performing community service
- Receiving counseling
- House arrest or electronic monitoring
Find Experienced Tampa Bay Area Criminal Defense at Hanlon Law
Hanlon Law has been successfully representing the accused for more than 20 years. Will Hanlon understands the dire consequences of a theft conviction and the desperation you may be feeling if you are facing charges. He will fight an aggressive battle to save your freedom, your reputation, and your ability to move on with your life with the least amount of harm to you and your family. Call today to put Will to work for you from very beginning for the best possible outcome for your situation.