A witness filed a complaint with police that one of his workers has been stealing from his warehouse. Officers checked out the residence of the defendant and found over $1,000 of the missing merchandise in his home. Other witnesses came forward with accounts of seeing the suspect loading his truck up with identical merchandise. Officers arrested the defendant and charged him with grand theft.
Grand Theft Definition
Under Florida Statutes, section 812.014, Grand theft is defined as any unlawful taking of property that is valued at $300 or more, with the intent of depriving the owner with of their rights to the property.
Grand Theft Defenses
When contesting grand theft in Florida, there are several defenses that attorneys can use.
- Lack of intent- If the offender believed they were the owner of the said property, had joint ownership or had a possessory interest in the said property, a lack of intent defense can be used.
- Necessity or duress- Should the defendant believe there was a danger or emergency that meant harm for another individual, necessity or duress defense can be used. The defendant will need to be able to prove that the danger they sought to avoid was more than the harm that could be caused by the theft.
- Consent- If the defendant received consent to take the property, a consent defense can be used.
- Lawful purpose- If the defendant believed they have a lawful purpose to the property, a lawful purpose defense could apply. This often happens when neighbors leave property in another neighbor’s yard, or property is left at a rented place and the landlord now has ownership of them.
- Mistake of fact- If the defendant mistakenly takes property as they believe it is their own, a mistake of fact defense can be used. An intent to steal will then not exist.
Having an Attorney
If an individual is being charged with grand theft, an attorney can assist in their defense. While punishments for a felony include jail time, probation, and fines, there are many more consequences that may occur.
Individuals with a felony are not eligible to vote, nor can they possess firearms. They will not be able to apply for student loans and financial aid. Employment could be hard to find, and there is a possibility that a felon could lose their job. Anyone with a felony will not be able to hold a federal job. Landlords can evict their tenants if they have a felony, or they can deny them the right to rent from them.
It is imperative that if you are in the position of being convicted of grand theft to have an attorney. Your attorney will be able to negotiate for you to possibly have the charges reduced or dropped.
RESULT: The defense entered into heated negotiations with the State over the fate of the client. The attorney successfully obtained a verdict without a formal finding of guilt resulting in NO CONVICTION!