Theft Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale Dedicated to Justice
There may be nothing more unnerving than being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. If you have been accused or arrested for theft in Fort Lauderdale, it is important that you take the accusations seriously and immediately seek out an experienced theft lawyer who can protect your rights and help you fight the charges.
At George Reres Law, P.A., we understand how overwhelming it can be to face criminal charges, which is why we are dedicated to providing our clients with the personalized attention and aggressive representation they deserve.
You were arrested for theft, and you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Although it may seem like all hope is lost, it’s important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights, investigate the charges against you, and build a strong defense to get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact George Reres Law, P.A. today at 954-543-1186 for a free initial consultation.
What is Theft?
In the state of Florida, theft is defined as the unlawful taking of property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of their rights to the property or appropriating the property for their own use. The value of the property stolen will determine what degree of theft the offender will be charged with: petty theft (the value of which does not exceed $750) or grand theft (the value of which exceeds $750).
There are many different types of theft that can occur, but some of the more common include shoplifting, burglary, robbery, and identity theft.
Shoplifting is defined as taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. This can be done in a number of ways, such as hiding items in a purse or pocket, leaving the store without paying, or switching price tags.
Burglary is defined as unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime. This can be done through forced entry, such as breaking a window, or by more subtle means, such as picking a lock.
Robbery is defined as the taking of property from another person by force or the threat of force. This can be done through physical violence, such as hitting or kicking the victim or by using a weapon.
Identity theft is defined as the unauthorized use of another person’s personal information for the purpose of taking over their financial accounts or opening new ones in their name. This can be done by stealing the victim’s wallet or credit card, accessing their bank account online, or filing a tax return in their name.
What are the Legal Penalties for Thefts?
The penalties for theft in Florida depend on the value of the property stolen and the type of theft that was committed.
For petty theft, there are varying degrees of crime. For example, if less than $100 was stolen, it is considered petit theft of the first degree. If more than $100 was stolen but less than $750, it is petit theft of the first degree. Each of these is considered a misdemeanor in the second and first degree, respectively. A second-degree misdemeanor would result in up to 60 days in prison and a 500 dollar fine. A first-degree misdemeanor would result in one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Penalties increase significantly if the charge is grand theft. All grand theft charges are considered felonies. Felony convictions come with much harsher punishments, including prison sentences and large fines. For example, third-degree grand theft, in which $750 or more but less than $20,000 was stolen, is a felony of the third degree. A conviction for this crime could result in up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
What are the Defenses to Theft Charges?
There are a number of defenses that can be raised in response to theft charges. Some of the more common ones include:
Lack of intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of their rights to the property: In order for someone to be convicted of theft, they must have had the intention to permanently or temporarily take the property from the rightful owner. If this can’t be proven, then the charges may be reduced or dropped entirely.
Lack of knowledge that the property was stolen: In order for someone to be convicted of theft, they must have known that the property was stolen. If this can’t be proven, then the charges may be reduced or dropped entirely.
Claim of right: This defense applies when the offender had a good faith belief that they were entitled to the property. For example, if someone were given a gift that they later found out was stolen, they would not be guilty of theft.
Consent: This defense applies when the owner of the property gave the offender permission to take it. For example, if someone borrowed a friend’s car and then refused to return it, they would not be guilty of theft.
Duress: This defense applies when the offender was forced to commit the theft under threat of violence. For example, if someone were held at gunpoint and told to take money from a bank, they would not be guilty of theft.
Contact George Reres Law, P.A. Today For Strong and Compassionate Service
If you have been charged with a theft crime in Florida, it is important to speak with an experienced theft attorney who can fight against your theft charge. Contact George Reres Law, P.A. today at 954-543-1186 to get the criminal defense attorney you need for your case.