Tampa Theft Lawyer
The crime of theft in Florida involves knowingly taking the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of the benefit of that property, whether temporarily or permanently, or to appropriate the property for your own use. Theft is generally considered to be a crime of dishonesty, so a conviction for a theft offense could keep you from ever working in a bank or other job that involves handling money, along with a number of other occupations. A theft conviction can also be used to impeach you as a witness if you are ever called to testify in any legal proceeding, such as if you were injured in a car accident or are battling for custody of your kids in a divorce.
If you’ve been arrested for a theft offense in Tampa, Clearwater or Hillsborough or Pinellas County, call the Faulkner Law Group right away. Our Tampa theft lawyers will take immediate steps to protect your rights and put you in the best position for a positive outcome, and we’ll thoroughly review your case to give you smart, practical advice regarding your options.
Some different types of theft offenses in Florida
Petit theft – Theft of property valued at $100 to $750 is generally a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying penalties up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines, in addition to making restitution for the property taken. With a prior conviction, petit theft can be charged as a third-degree felony. The penalties for driving off without paying for gas include suspending your driver’s license for six months or a year.
Grand theft – Theft of property valued over $750 is charged as grand theft. Theft involving other types of property can also be charged as grand theft regardless of their value. These kinds of property include wills, firearms, controlled substances, motor vehicles (auto theft, grand theft auto), and more. Theft of property valued as little as $100 is also grand theft if taken from a dwelling. Grand theft is a third-degree felony.
Forgery – The crime of forgery involves falsely making, altering, forging or counterfeiting a public record, deed, charter, will, bond, or insurance policy with the intent to injure or defraud. Forgery is a third-degree felony, with penalties up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Burglary/Trespass – Burglary involves entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an offense inside. Burglary is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. It may also be charged as a second or third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. Trespass is a misdemeanor, where one willfully enters a property without authorization, license or invitation, or stays after being told to leave. Unlike burglary, a person doesn’t have to intend to commit any crime on the premises in order to be charged with trespassing.
Robbery – Robbery is the taking of money or other property from another with the intent to deprive them of their property. In a robbery, property is taken through the use of force, violence, assault, or by putting a person in fear. Robbery is a first-degree felony if the offender carried a firearm or deadly weapon; otherwise, robbery is a second-degree felony.
Dealing in stolen property – This crime requires that the offender knew the property was stolen. This offense is a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Possible defenses to theft crime charges
- Mistaken identity
- The requisite intent is missing
- There was no actual taking of the property
- You thought the property was yours, or it was given to you
- Procedural errors made by the police
- Unlawful search and seizure
Overzealous security guards may detain you for shoplifting or retail theft and intimidate you into signing a confession. In reality, you might not have had the chance to pay before you were detained, or you might have taken the property by mistake. Always talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any oral or written statements to store personnel or the police. If pleading guilty is the right choice based on the circumstances, your lawyer will make sure it is done properly and to your benefit.
The Faulkner Law Group is Ready to Help You Deal with a Theft or Property Arrest in Tampa
For help after an arrest for a theft offense in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk or Pasco County, call the Faulkner Law Group at 813-544-3919 for a free and confidential consultation with a skilled and experienced Tampa theft lawyer.