Representing Clients in Dade County, Broward County & Palm Beach County
Any time that a person takes or uses something that she knows does not belong to her, she has committed the crime of theft under Florida law. This also includes endeavoring to obtain something that does not belong to you.
It does not matter if the taking is temporary or permanent—that is, it does not matter if you planned to give it back or not. Any taking is a theft.
Theft also includes situations where you deprive someone else the use or benefit of their property. It also includes situations where you appropriate the property to your own use or for anyone else’s use that is not really entitled to use the property.
There are many types of theft under Florida law, but they all have the same basic requirements. Miami theft attorney at The Hansen Law Firm can help you fight back against a theft charge in Southern Florida.
Even a petty theft charge can have a serious impact on your future, so do not risk attempting to defend against this charge alone. Call The Hansen Law Firm as soon as possible.
Locations, we are serving for:
- Dade County
- Palm Beach County
- Broward County
Petit theft or misdemeanor theft includes any situation where the accused knowingly and unlawfully obtains or uses property in which he or she has no rights. This taking deprives the rights of the victim because he or she can no longer use or benefit from the property.
The difference between petit theft and more serious kinds of theft is that the property involved is worth less than $300. It does not matter whether the property is stolen from a business or an individual.
The penalties for the first offense of petit theft can include up to 60 days in jail. You may also lose your license for up to six months.
The second offense could involve up to one year in jail. You will also lose your driving privileges for up to one year after a second offense. This driving penalty is mandatory for second-time offenders.
Grand theft has all of the requirements of petit theft, but the property involved is worth more than $300. As the value of the property increases, the penalties increase as well.
Third Degree Grand Theft Penalties: Property up to $20,000
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to 5 years of probation
- Up to a $5,000 fine
Second Degree Grand Theft Penalties: Property up to $100,000
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to 15 years of probation
- Up to a $10,000 fine
First Degree Grand Theft Penalties: Property more than $100,000
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Maximum fine of $10,000
There are certain other types of property that may fall outside of the values for each type of theft above, but are still considered a certain degree of theft regardless of its value. A good example is a vehicle. Theft of automobile is always considered a Third Degree Grand Theft, even if it is worth more than $20,000. Theft of a stop sign or a will is also considered a Third Degree Grand Theft in Florida.
Intent for Theft Cases
It is important to note that you cannot “accidentally” commit theft. Theft requires that you knew the property was not yours, but you took it anyway. If you thought the property was yours and you mistakenly took it, then you do not have the intent required for the crime of theft under Florida law.
Situations where you borrow the property for a short time without the owner’s knowledge or permission are still considered theft under Florida law.
Other Types of Theft
There are several types of theft in Florida that have special treatment under the law. The penalties may be less or more than is required in a regular theft case. These theft types include:
- Employee theft
- Signing and using worthless checks
- Stopping payment on checks
- Failing to return leased property (vehicles or commercial property)
- Welfare fraud
- Giving false information
For those that buy and sell stolen property, the penalties can be extremely harsh. This can be a problem even for those who did not intentionally buy stolen property. The test is whether you either knew or should have known that the property was likely stolen.
Dealing in stolen property is considered a second degree felony in Florida. That means that you could face up to 15 years in prison.
Getting Legal Help with Your Miami Theft Attorney
The Hansen Law Firm can help you fight back against your theft charges. Our Miami identity theft lawyers will challenge every piece of the State’s evidence to provide you with a zealous defense.