If you’ve been charged with theft in Florida, you probably understand that you’re being accused of stealing something. But what exactly have you been accused of doing, and what does the prosecution have to prove in order to convict you? Like many states, Florida has several laws relating to theft, and navigating them can be difficult.
If you’re facing a theft charge in Florida, you don’t have to navigate the criminal justice system alone – and you should not try. A Florida theft defense attorney can help you protect your legal rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. The lawyers at Farah & Farah can help you do just that.
What is “Theft” in Florida?
Florida law defines “theft” as “knowingly” obtaining, using, or trying to obtain or use another person’s property in order to deprive the rightful owner of the use or benefit of the property, or to appropriate the property for the use of anyone who isn’t the owner.
In a theft crime in Florida, the intent of the person charged with the crime matters. The prosecution must show not only that you did take someone else’s property, but that you knew the property belonged to someone else and you intended to take it from them.
In Florida, theft is further broken down into separate charges, usually depending on the amount and/or type of property stolen. For example:
- Grand theft: When property taken is worth more than $300, the case may be charged as grand theft. Grand theft carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
- Petit theft: Theft of property worth more than $100, but less than $300. Petit theft carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
- Shoplifting: Also called “retail theft,” shoplifting involves stealing goods or services from a business.
- Dealing in stolen property: A person who buys, sells, stores, or coordinates transactions involving stolen goods may be charged with dealing in stolen property, even if the person has not stolen anything him- or herself.
Certain theft crimes may depend on the circumstances of the particular theft. For instance:
- Burglary: Involves breaking into a home or other building with the intent of stealing property inside. The property does not actually have to be stolen, as long as the intent exists.
- Robbery: Using force or the threat of force with the intention of committing a theft. Like burglary, the theft does not actually have to occur as long as the intent exists.
- Conspiracy: A conspiracy to commit theft typically includes both an agreement among two or more people to commit some kind of theft, plus at least one step taken toward committing the theft. Like burglary and robbery, the theft doesn’t have to be completed in order for a conspiracy charge to “stick.”
Defending Your Rights
A theft charge can be difficult to understand and even harder to fight. Florida’s theft laws are complex, and police and prosecutors may never make it clear which type of theft charge you face. That’s why the Florida theft defense attorneys at Farah & Farah are dedicated to helping those charged with theft crimes build an aggressive defense that confronts exactly the charges you face. Contact us at 855-797-9899 today to learn more.