Theft Charge Defense Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Jacksonville Theft Attorneys for Petty Theft, Shoplifting or Grand Theft Charges
How to Defend or Get Out of a Theft Charges Case in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
According to Florida Statute §812.014, theft is defined as an act where an individual willfully and knowingly takes, obtains, or uses the property of another in order to deny the owner access to their property or to wrongfully use another person's property for their own advantage. The seriousness of the theft charge varies depending on the value of the property stolen. If you or a loved one have been charged with a theft crime, it is crucial that you seek legal counsel to aggressively defend your theft case.
The State of Florida, as of October of 2019, created a law raising the maximum dollar amount allowable for a crime to be limited to a petit theft offense from $300 to $750. In this instance, the State's prosecuting attorneys must show that the value of the allegedly stolen property is based on the actual and fair market price.
Notwithstanding this change, Florida aggressively pursues and punishes people who commit theft crimes in Jacksonville, Florida, and throughout the State of Florida. Any theft crime, including everything from petty theft to shoplifting to grand theft, is treated very seriously by the State's prosecutors, and are deemed "crimes of dishonesty."
A conviction in a theft case will have devastating consequences, such as a loss of reputation, monetary fines, jail time, harsh probation terms, and difficulty finding employment, to name only a few.
In Florida, someone who is convicted of even minor types of theft, such as petty theft or shoplifting, will have their fingerprints taken by the court. Even if a defendant is not convicted, their name may still be included in a national database used by employers use to conduct background checks on employees and job applicants.
If someone is a repeat criminal offender, any previous convictions can cause them to face enhanced penalties.
At Musca Law, our Jacksonville theft crime attorneys are ready to handle your theft case. We have over 150 years of combined criminal defense experience, obtaining positive judgments on behalf of our clients.
Hiring a Theft Charge Defense Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, FL
The majority of defendants who are facing petty theft charges, shoplifting charges, or grand theft charges are deemed "first-time offenders." This means they do not have a prior criminal record. Musca Law's lawyers represent adults and juveniles who are facing any type of theft charges throughout Florida. Our experienced theft defense lawyers in Duval County challenge the charges during each step of the criminal proceeding.
If you or a loved one is facing charges for a misdemeanor or felony theft charge, it is critical that you speak with one of our veteran Florida Theft Defense Attorneys right away. Our Theft Crimes Attorneys will advise you of your legal defense options, the nature of theft charges being pressed against you, and the legal defenses that might apply in your case. Don't wait – contact Musca Law now at (904) 610-6545.
Understanding Theft Crimes in Florida
As outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014(1), a person commits an act of theft when he or she willingly takes or tries to take or uses the property that belongs to another with the purpose of:
- Preventing the victim from using rights to the property.
- Using the property for his/her use or for the use of another who does not have legal ownership of the property.
How to Protect Yourself After Being Accused of Theft in Jacksonville, Florida
There are several reasons why false theft allegations occur. Those who are facing charges of theft need to speak with a lawyer immediately in order to address the allegations before the prosecution begins filing a decision in your theft case.
For example, shoplifting charges in Jacksonville, Florida, could arise when the accused mistakenly took an item while they were not paying attention or distracted. Keep in mind, even when law enforcement officers think an item was accidentally taken, the officers will usually proceed with an arrest and let the prosecutor figure out how to proceed. A private lawyer from Musca Law can assist you in trying to convince law enforcement, the state attorney's office, and the purported victim that the theft case should move forward. The accused could and should pursue this action after the alleged theft transpired.
In other instances, theft or shoplifting accusations happen because the suspect may have a psychological issue that might be better addressed outside criminal court. The arresting officer, alleged victim, and the court may be willing to follow the suspect to undergo counseling and spare the suspect from having a criminal record or serving a prison sentence.
The Most Common Types of Theft Crimes
Shoplifting Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Florida prosecutes more petit theft crimes for shoplifting than any other theft crime. Shoplifting charges, also known as retail theft, could be charged as either a misdemeanor petit theft or felony grand theft. A lot of people who have been charged with a theft offense made a genuine mistake, which could become criminal accusations even if the suspect doesn't have previous criminal background. In many cases, it is women without a criminal history that is charged with misdemeanor petit theft or misdemeanor shoplifting. Our clients typically lack previous experience with the criminal justice system, and they are fearful about the repercussions that follow a conviction for theft in Jacksonville, Florida.
Every Florida county in Florida has diversion programs that could be available to first-time offenders in Jacksonville, Florida. Please keep in mind that a retailer could decide to also pursue civil damages against you concerning the alleged theft. This is why it is necessary to have an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney with you to defend you vigorously.
The penalties and punishments associated with shoplifting or retail theft depend upon the alleged stolen property's monetary value.
Specifically, if the item taken had a monetary value that was:
- Less than $100, the resulting crime will constitute a second-degree misdemeanor petit theft, punishable with a prison term of 60 days and a fine of $500.
- Greater than $750, the resulting crime will constitute a first-degree misdemeanor petit theft, punishable with a prison sentence of up to twelve months and a fine of $1,000.
When a person has two or more previous theft crime convictions, he or she will be facing a felony petit theft charge. In these situations, the monetary value of the property taken is deemed irrelevant, and the charge is typically a third-degree felony punishable with up to a five-year jail term and up to a $5,000 monetary fine. It is also a third-degree felony should the item was stolen from a retailer is worth more than $750.
If the alleged theft is from a residence, the accused could face grand theft charges should the item taken from the dwelling have a value of over $100 but less than $750.
Classifications and Consequences of Theft Charges in Jacksonville, Florida, FL
Florida laws categorize theft crimes as either petit theft or grand theft. The monetary value of the stolen property often determines the seriousness of the crime. Read below to learn the varying degrees of theft crimes in Florida.
Petit Theft Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
- Petit Theft of the Second Degree – Petty Theft of the second degree is the smallest theft offense. You could be charged if the property taken was less than $100. The potential punishment for a second-degree petit theft charge includes up to 60 days in jail and no more than $500 in fines.
- Petit Theft of the First Degree – If the stolen property was stolen was valued above $100 but less than $300, and the crime is considered petit theft in the first-degree. Punishments for a first-degree misdemeanor theft charge are up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Grand Theft Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
- Grand Theft of the Third Degree – A charge of third-degree grand theft consists of higher valued property. Offenses may include stealing a will, a motor vehicle, firearms, a stop sign, and others. If convicted, the defendant could receive up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
- Grand Theft of the Second Degree – Second-degree grand theft charges are categorized as a second-degree felony in Florida. The offenses may include stealing property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, cargo valued less than $50,000, and emergency equipment valued at $300 or more. Those convicted of Second-degree grand theft charges could receive up to 15 years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000.
- Grand Theft of the First Degree – The most serious theft offense in Florida is first-degree grand theft. Some offenses include taking property valued at over $100,000, theft using a vehicle that causes $1,000 or more in property damage, and real estate damage, and stealing cargo worth more than $50,000. The prison sentence for first-degree grand theft might include a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison.
Stealing Property from Victims Who Are 65 Years or More Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0145(1), an individual who attempts to take property with a value of $1,000 (or more) from a victim who is 65 years of age or older will be ordered by a Florida Court to pay restitution for property damage and complete 500 hours or more work in a community service program. This punishment accompanies jail time and monetary fines.
Under Chapter 812.0145(1)(a-d), if an individual is charged with taking or stealing property belonging to another who is at least 65 years of age, and the defendant is fully knowledgeable of the victim's age, they will likely face the following forms of punishment:
- If the property or funds total $50,000 or higher, the accused will be charged with a first-degree felony, which is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or no longer than 30 years in prison.
- If the property or find taken equal $10,000 but less than $50,000, the defendant will be charged with a second-degree felony, which is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or jail time up to 15 years.
- If the property is taken or funds equal to at least $300 but not more than $10,000, the accused will be charged a third-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a jail sentence that is no longer than five years.
Embezzlement and Employee Theft in Jacksonville, Florida
The crimes of employee theft and embezzlement are prosecuted harshly in the State of Florida. As with all theft offenses, it qualifies as a "crime of dishonesty." Fines and prison sentences for these types of crimes are severe, even if the accused employee does not have a criminal record. At Musca Law, our attorneys have successfully defended several people who were accused of stealing from businesses, non-profit organizations, or charitable organizations.
Possessing Altered/Edited Property Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
According to Title XLVI, Chapter 812.016 of the Florida Criminal Statutes, possession of the altered property is a form of robbery or theft in the State of Florida. Under this code, if any person or a property dealer is aware that identifying features such as serial numbers, codes, or labels on property that they are maintaining control over were removed can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or jail time of up to one year.
Obtaining Property by using a Check that is Worthless Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
A common criminal offense in Florida is purchasing something using a worthless check. Under Florida Statutes Section 832.05, the crime of "Obtaining Property for a Worthless Check, Drafts and Debit Card Orders" is a serious crime that is chargeable once a person obtains services or property from another person by writing a check drafting money from a bank account that he or she knows lacks the necessary funds to cover the check.
There are many defenses that apply to criminal charges of obtaining property in exchange for a worthless or a check with non-sufficient funds, which include:
- The person who accepted the check understood or should have known that the check wouldn't clear the bank. It is a viable defense if a person accepts a check knowing the account lacked the funds necessary to back it.
- The check writer did not know the check was worthless. A simple mismanagement of funds or error that caused the check to bounce may be a defense.
- Post-dated checks. The "Post-dating" defense puts the recipient on notice that the account has insufficient funds backing the check until after a specific date.
Florida Statutes Section 832.05 states that the person who receives a check must not have any reason to believe the bank account backing the check written to them lacks necessary funds.
The punishment for writing a worthless check with knowledge that the checking account lacks sufficient funds, and the amount of the check was under $150. The defendant could receive up to twelve months in prison. If a check was written for $150 or greater, the criminal offense is a third-degree felony, which carries a prison term of up to five years.
Trafficking Stolen Property Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
In Florida, the term "trafficking" refers to the transference, sale, and/or distribution of property or the purchase of stolen property with the intention to sell the property.
According to Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019 (1), an individual who willingly and intentionally buys or sells the property that they knew was stolen will be charged with a second-degree felony, which is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or a prison sentence of up to fifteen years.
According to Chapter 812.019(2) states that anyone who plans the theft of property and/or traffics this property will be charged with a first-degree felony, punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail time that does not exceed 30 years.
Using the Internet to Traffic Stolen Property Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0195 states that any individual who uses the Internet to sell property that he/she knows is stolen could be punished in one of two ways:
- Chapter 812.0195(1): If the stolen property has a value of less than $300, the accused could be charged with a misdemeanor in the second-degree, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up-to 60 days in county jail.
- Chapter 812.0195(2): If the stolen property has a value of $300 or more, the accused might be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, which would be punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up-to 5 years in prison.
Stealing and Selling Trade Secrets Owned by a Business or Corporation Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
As prescribed by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.081(2), any person who intentionally or willfully steals or attempts to steal trade secret from a business/corporation with the intention to sell this item for personal gain could be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, which punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or up-to five years in jail.
Grounds for Defense in a Theft Case in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
A theft crime defendant may have grounds for defense if he/she honestly believed that they held the legal right to maintain ownership over the allegedly stolen property. If the court is not completely sure of whether or not the accused was fully aware that he or she did not have the legal right to maintain ownership over the alleged stolen property, the court cannot find the accused guilty of a theft crime.
Need a Jacksonville Theft Crime Lawyer? Call (904) 610-6545
Musca Law: Aggressive Jacksonville Advocates for Our Clients Accused of Sex Crimes Throughout Florida
If you or a family member have been accused of a theft crime in Jacksonville, Florida, you must have an aggressive and skilled Jacksonville Theft Charge Attorney from Musca Law. Together, our attorneys have more than 150 years of combined criminal defense experience.
Many of our attorneys have received top national honors such as:
• Listed on The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers;
• 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense representation; and
• Have a Perfect 10.0 Superb AVVO.com rating.
Musca Law's record of success both out of the courtroom and inside the courtroom speaks for itself. Do not wait to contact us, as your freedom and livelihood are at stake.
Our lines are open 24/7. Call Musca Law today at (904) 610-6545.
Jacksonville Office Location
630 W Adams St #205
Jacksonville, FL 32204
88HM+PM Downtown, Jacksonville, FL, United States