New Port Richey Theft Crime Lawyers
Get The Defense You Need For Your Theft Crime
When a person knowingly obtains or uses another person’s property to deny them of their belongings or uses the property wrongly to their advance, a theft crime is created. The severity of the legal consequences earned will be directly dependent on the amount of property stolen.
If you have committed a theft crime, you will need strong representation from a legal representative that you can trust. At Musca Law Firm here in New Port Richey, we can provide you with the best possible defense. We put the needs of our clients first, aggressively fighting for your rights. Don’t hesitate to contact our New Port Richey office today at (727) 480-9675 to speak with one of our highly-qualified criminal defense attorneys.
Classifications of New Port Richey Theft Charges
There are two different classifications of theft in New Port Richey and the rest of Florida: Petit Theft and Grand Theft. Each one has varying degrees of theft. Many times, petit theft is referred to as shoplifting.
Petit theft of the first degree is when the value of the property taken is more than $100 by less than $300. If you have had a prior conviction of a theft charge, you will also be charged with petit theft in the first degree.
Petit theft in the second degree occurs when the property taken is worth less than $100.
Grand theft in the first degree is committed when the property taken is worth more than $100,000 or shipping cargo that is worth more than $50,000. This is a first-degree felony that is a level 7 on Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Grand theft in the second degree is committed when the said property is worth less than $100,000, but more than $20,000. It is also committed when it is shipping cargo worth less than $50,000 or emergency medical equipment worth more than $300. Second-degree grand theft is a level 6 on Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Grand theft in the third degree is committed when the said property is worth less than $20,000, but more than $300. It can also be a will, codicil, or another testamentary instrument, a firearm, or a motor vehicle. Other items that are included in this property list include the following:
- Any amount of a controlled substance
- Any commercially farmed animal
- anhydrous ammonia
- Any fire extinguisher
- Any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit
- Taken from a designated construction site
- Any stop sign
- A bee colony of a registered beekeeper
- Aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility (a minimum mandatory fine of $10,000 will be imposed if the property stolen is aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility)
This is a third-degree felony that will be charged as either a level 2, 3, or 4 on Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Ten points will be given on your driver’s license for this offense.
Stolen Property Values
The value of the stolen property must be proven by the prosecution. In order to access the value, they will use the “market value”.
Section 812.012(10), Florida Statute states that: “Value” means a value determined according to any of the following:
(a)1: Value means the market value of the property at the time and place of the offense or, if such cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the offense.
Section 812.012(10)(b) states that: “[i]f the value of the property cannot be ascertained, the trier of fact may find the value to be not less than a certain amount; if no such minimum value can be ascertained, the value is an amount less than $100.”
Examples of this would be if a person purchases a laptop brand new for $850. They used this laptop on a regular basis and it was three years old. If it is stolen, the value will no longer be $850 as it is used regularly and three years old. Rather, it will be assessed its value at what it was worth the day it was stolen.
Another common example of this is memorabilia that increases in price. Say an individual had a baseball that was signed by a famous ballplayer. Three years ago when they obtained the baseball, it was worth $3,000. It was stolen a month ago. Yet today, when the value was checked, it was worth over $5,000. Since the value of the baseball one month ago was still $3,000, that is what it will be assessed as .
Penalties and Consequences of New Port Richey Theft Charges
Petit Theft of the first degree: A judge can impose any of the following combinations on a person that has committed this:
- One year of jail time
- One year of probation
- A fine up to $1,000
Your driver’s license can also be suspended if you have a theft charge. For a first offense, you will receive 6 months. For each additional charge, you will receive one year for each charge.
Petit Theft of the second degree: A judge can impose any of the following combinations on a person that has committed this:
- Six months in jail
- Six months of probation
- A fine up to $500
Grand Theft of the first degree: A judge can impose any of the following combinations on a person that has committed this offense:
- A minimum sentence of twenty-one months in prison
- A maximum sentence of thirty years in prison
- Thirty years of probation
- A fine up to $10,000
Grand Theft of the second degree: A judge can impose any of the following combinations on a person that has committed this offense:
- A maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison
- Fifteen years of probation
- A fine up to $10,000
Grand Theft of the third degree: A judge can impose any of the following combinations on a person that has committed this offense:
- A maximum sentence of five years in prison
- Five (5) years of probation
- A fine up to $5,000
Elements of Theft in New Port Richey
In order to prove that theft has taken place, the prosecution must prove the following elements in a theft crime:
Statute of Limitations to Theft Charges
There is a five-year statute of limitations to theft charges in the state of Florida. Per Florida Statutes, 812.035(10), this applies to either petit theft or grand theft.
Defenses for Petit Theft Crimes in New Port Richey
- The defendant knowingly and unlawfully used or obtained the property of the victim and
- The defendant did this with intent to deprive the victim of his or her right to the property or any benefit from it, or appropriate the victim’s property to the defendant’s own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it, either temporarily or permanently.
Defenses for Grand Theft in New Port Richey
- Mistaken identity: The person accused was not properly identified.
- Mistaken accusations: The accusations are not correct on what really happened.
- Poor quality video creating a factual dispute about a suspect’s identity: If a store had a security system, and the footage was poor, it could be hard for them to identify who stole an item.
- False accusations by loss prevention officers: A loss prevention officer may not have seen what really happened but is rather stating what they think happened.
- Customer mistakenly leaving the store: This often happens if the customer forgets their purse out in the car or placed an item in their stroller, forgetting it was there.
- Momentary deprivation of property.
- Customer forgetting about items placed in a bag or stroller.
- Being set up by a co-defendant: Another person sets up the person to make it look like they were stealing.
- Items not found in the possession of the accused.
- Exiting the store for purposes other than to steal (i.e. to retrieve a wallet or purse in order to pay)
- Taking items for purposes other than to steal.
- Price tags being altered or removed by previous customers.
Questions to Ask Your Attorney About Theft in New Port Richey
When you meet with your attorney about a theft charge, it is wise to have a list of questions for them to answer about your case. Here are some that you may wish to ask:
Musca Law Firm - Your New Port Richey Theft Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with the crime of theft, Musca Law Firm wants to hear from you. We offer an initial free consultation so we can listen to your story. Our firm will gather all the relevant information after doing research to develop the best defense possible. We will take the time to answer any of the questions that you have for us regarding your case or how it will be handled.
When you obtain legal services from Musca Law Firm, you can rest assured that you will be served in a professional and courteous manner. We will never share your information with anyone and your satisfaction is our number one priority. We have had several pleased clients as we truly do go above and beyond what is expected. Our attorneys provide excellent communication with you so you know exactly where your case stands during all phases of your trial.
Our attorneys are very strong-willed and will participate in tough negotiations on your part. As all of our attorneys in New Port Richey have a passion for the law, our services go above and beyond. We treat you like family and desire the best possible outcome for you. Call us today to schedule your first appointment. We answer our phones 24 hours a day as we realize life does not only happen between 9 and 5. Don’t hesitate to contact our New Port Richey office today at (727) 480-9675 to schedule a free initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We look forward to serving you.
- Equal ownership: A person has owns part of the property can not be charged with theft charges unless the other co-owner has a superior legal interest in the property.
- Good faith possession: In order to be charged with theft in New Port Richey, the state of Florida states there needs to be proof that there was intent to steal an item. If a person believes in good faith that the property is theirs, they are not committing a crime.
- Valueless property: Property is defined as being something of value. Value is defined as the market value of the property at the time and place of the offense. If this value can not be given, then the cost of replacement after a reasonable amount of time can be used. However, if someone places an item on the curb it is considered trash and has no value.
- A mistake of fact: The defendant made a mistake, thinking the property was his.
- Voluntary abandonment: If the defendant abandoned the idea of committing the theft under a particular incidence pointing out a complete and voluntary renouncing of the crime.
- Mere Presence: If you are with your friend or anyone else, and they commit the act of theft, you will not be allowed to be convicted unless it can be proven that you took part in the theft.
- Necessity or Duress: The defendant acted in this manner as he or she had no other choice due to an emergency or a compelling danger.
- How can I demonstrate that I always intended to return the property of this criminal theft charge?
- What are the chances that the prosecution will charge me with a “petty with a prior?” Am I able to plead to a lesser offense?
- In this courthouse or with this judge, what’s the usual treatment for first-time offenders who plead guilty?
- What can I expect at court? Will the prosecution grill me as I see on TV?
- If I go to trial and lose, am I likely to be punished more severely than if I plead guilty now?
- Are there any diversion programs that I can take to remove the charge? If so, will I be eligible to have my record sealed or expunged?