Theft Crime Attorneys in Naples, Florida
Musca Law Provides Relentless Defense for Your Theft Crimes
As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014, theft is an act where a person knowingly and intentionally takes property owned by another person in an attempt to deny those owners access to this property or to maliciously use this property to his/her advantage. Depending on the value of the property that was taken, the severity of the ensuing punishment may decrease or increase. Regardless of the consequences, theft crimes of every nature are serious, and you must seek immediate legal counsel if you wish to defend your rights (especially if these claims of theft are false).
With over 150 years of combined legal experience among our team of highly qualified attorneys, Musca Law has successfully tried numerous cases throughout the history of our firm. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free initial case consultation with one of the experienced attorneys in our Naples office,
What Counts as a “Theft Crime”?
As listed in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014(1), a person commits theft if he/she had every intention of voluntarily taking and/or using any piece of property that is rightfully owned by another person (or other people), with the intention of:
- Preventing the owner of the property from wielding rights to or reaping benefits from this property.
- Using this property for his/her uses or the use of any other person who does not rightfully and legally wield ownership rights to this property.
Charges for Theft Crimes in the State of Florida
Florida State Law categorizes theft crimes as petit or grand theft, ultimately determined by the value of the property that was stolen. Here is a closer look at some information that will help you understand the varying degrees of theft crimes in the state:
Petit Theft: the lesser of the two categories (also known as petty theft)
- Petit Theft of the 2nd-Degree: You can be charged with the lowest degree of petit theft if you stole property that was valued at less than $100. After receiving these charges, culprits will potentially face 60 days in jail and at least a $500 fine.
- Petit Theft of the 1st-Degree: If you have stolen property valued at an amount of more than $100 but less than the maximum of $300, you will be charged with 1st-degree petit theft. Culprits can potentially face a 1-year prison sentence and a fine of $1,000.
Grand Theft: the more severe category of theft
- Grand Theft of the 3rd-Degree: A variety of property can be involved in a charge of 3rd-degree grand theft, as culprits may be charged for stealing property like wills, a car, firearms, a stop sign, and more. Offenders can potentially face a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
- Grand Theft of the 2nd-Degree: Culprits charged with 2nd-degree grand theft are technically facing charges of a 2nd-degree felony (by Florida State Law). Typically, legal officials will charge people with this crime if the culprits have stolen property between $20,000 to $100,000, emergency equipment with a value of $300 (at least), or cargo valued at less than $50,000. Offenders can potentially face a 15-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.
- Grand Theft of the 1st-Degree: Legal officials consider this crime to be the most serious theft offense in Florida. Crimes may include the theft of property estimated at $100,000 or more, a vehicle that inflicts $1,000-worth of property damage, and stealing cargo that is more than $50,000. Offenders can face a 30-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000.
Charges for Stealing Property from People Who Are at least 65 Years Old
Florida Statute \ (1) dictates that any person who makes an attempt to steal property (valued at $1,000 or more) from victims who are at least 65 years of age will be ordered (directly by members of a Florida Court) to compensate this victim for any damage to the property and complete a total of 500 community service hours (at least). Consider that this punishment accompanies sentences that have already been set in place.
Furthermore, Chapter 812.0145 (1)(a-d) states that, if a culprit faces charges for stealing property from a person who is 65 years of age (at least) and was (at the time of the crime) fully aware of the victim’s age, he/she will be punished in one of the following ways:
- In the event that the stolen property is $50,000 or higher (in value), the culprit will face charges of a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000.
- In the event that the stolen property is between $10,000 to $50,000 (in value), the culprit will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000.
- In the event that the stolen property is between $300 to $5,000 (in value), the culprit will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Charges for the Possession of Altered Property
As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.016, legal officials designated possession of altered property as a theft crime or form of robbery in the state of Florida. Under this same statute, any person (in this case, a property dealer) who is fully aware that the identifying features (e.g. labels, codes) on a piece of property (which he/she is controlling) had been removed or changed in any way will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and a fine of $1,000.
Charges for Trafficking Stolen Property in Florida
You must consider the fact that the term trafficking (in every meaning of the word) refers to the sale, transference, and/or distribution of stolen property (or purchasing stolen property with the intention to sell these items).
Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019 (1), any person who intentionally, willingly, and voluntarily deals in property and is fully aware that these items were previously stolen will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Chapter 812.019 (2) also dictates that any person who plans to steal property and subsequently traffics this same material will face charges of a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and a $10,000-$15,000 fine.
Trafficking Stolen Property on the Internet
In a similar layout, Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0195 dictates that any person who uses the Internet as a portal for selling any kind of stolen property will face one of two kinds of punishment:
- Chapter 812.0195(1): In the event that the property is at least $300 (in value), the culprit will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500 and/or prison time that does not exceed 60 days.
- Chapter 812.0195(2): In the event that the property is $300 or higher (in value), the culprit will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 5 years.
Stealing/Selling a Business’s Private Information and/or Products
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.081 (2) dictates that any person who intentionally and voluntarily steals trade secrets owned by a business/corporation or makes an attempt to do so (with the underlying intention to sell these items for private gains and copy these items) will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
If a culprit attempted to return these items, this attempt cannot be presented as a defense.
Supplemental Fines to Compensate for Theft and Damage
As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.032, any person who has been convicted for stealing property or inflicting damage on the property (and injuries on victims) or making an attempt to complete these actions will face additional charges. Members of the court will order these people to pay a fine that is at most often 2 times the gross value obtained/destroyed, as well as a compensation payment for the prosecution and legal investigation.
Reaching a Verdict for a Theft Case
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014 and Criminal Jury Case 14.1 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Willingly and intentionally took property owned by the victim (or attempted to do so).
- Intentionally took the property to prevent the victim from wielding authority and ownership rights.
- Intentionally used this property for his/her gains.
If the court finds the culprit guilty of theft, members must also determine (without any shred of doubt) that the following is true:
- During the time that the theft took place, the defendant had used a motor vehicle to commit the crime and not simply as a getaway vehicle.
- The defendant had inflicted $1,000-worth of damage on the victim’s property.
Reaching a Verdict for a Case for Trafficking
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019(1) and Criminal Jury Case 14.2 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Made a voluntary effort to traffic the stolen property.
- Had been fully aware (or should have been aware) that this property was previously stolen.
Reaching a Verdict for a Case in Dealing Stolen Property
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019(2) and Criminal Jury Case 14.3 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Originated, organized, directed, supervised, and carried out the theft crime.
- Made an effort to participate in trafficking the stolen items.
Reaching a Verdict for a Case in Stealing Store Merchandise
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.015(8) and Criminal Jury Case 14.4 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Carried away items (store merchandise), changed/removed the product labels, and transferred these items from one carrying device to another.
- Took a shopping cart from store premises.
- Willingly and intentionally took these items to keep the items away from a merchant.
If the court determines the former factors, they must also prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Supervised all activities surrounding the theft (with one or more people).
- Stole items from different locations in 48 hours.
- Worked in a group to distract a merchant in an attempt to steal the items in question.
- Purchased a box containing materials not intended for sale.
- Stole property of $300 or higher value.
Reaching a Verdict for a Case of Dealing Stolen Property
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 825.103 and Criminal Jury Case 14.9 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) the following:
- The victim was elderly and/or disabled.
- The defendant stole the elderly/disabled victim’s property or attempted to steal this person’s property.
- The defendant intended to keep this victim from wielding authority and ownership over the property momentarily or permanently and attempted to use this property to his/her advantage.
Defenses in a Florida Theft Case
Ultimately, the defendant may present a strong case for defense if he/she makes the notion that he/she honestly believed he/she had the legal right to maintain ownership over this property.
If the court is not sure of whether or not the defendant was fully aware that (even in a situation where this individual may have been mistaken) he/she did not have the right to maintain ownership over this property, members of the court may not find this individual guilty of theft crimes.
Need Help for Your Defense Case for a Theft Crime? Contact Musca Law Today!
If you have been charged with a theft crime in the state of Florida, time is most definitely not on your side. As you consider your options, the prosecution is already making a strong front against you, which can spell a grim future. If you are convicted for an alleged crime, you will not only face hefty fines and long-term imprisonment, but you will also likely suffer from a permanently scarred record. Due to a misunderstanding or wrongful claim, your entire future could be ruined. If you find yourself in such a situation, take the action now to reach out to our Musca Law defense attorneys. We are ready to help you get the justice you deserve and plan for a better future!