Our Tampa criminal defense lawyers believe that each client deserves a vigorous defense. The Tampa Defense Law team has over a century of combined experience to protect your rights and bring you the bold defense you deserve. We operate nine offices throughout the state, including a Tampa location, to bring you the best service possible.
Have you or a loved one been arrested for a theft crime? Contact the Tampa theft crime defense lawyers today for a free consultation.
Theft Crimes in Tampa
Theft crimes can include a wide variety of charges. We handle all types of theft criminal defense, including:
- Property Theft
- Attempted Robbery
- Home Invasion Robbery
- Conspiracy to Commit Robbery or Other Theft Crimes
- Attempted Burglary
- Petty Larceny
- White Collar Crimes
- And Other White Collar Crimes
- Credit Card Theft
- Identity Theft
- Receiving or Dealing in Stolen Property
- Unauthorized Interception of Communication Services
- All Other Theft Crimes
Common Offenses Explained
According to Florida law, robbery is taking property belonging to someone else using “force, violence, assault, or . . . fear.” In order for the crime to classify as robbery, the robber must also intend to deprive the person of the property temporarily or permanently. For example, a typical mugging would qualify as a robbery. If a man approaches a woman on the sidewalk wielding a knife and tells her to give him all of her money or he will stab her, and she complies, he has robbed her. The prosecution will show that he intended to keep the money by his subsequent actions, such as running away from the woman he did not know.
If the robber used a gun or other potentially lethal weapon, the crime is a first-degree felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Otherwise, robbery is a second-degree felony and can result in up to 15 years in prison. If a robber approaches a man on the street and demands that the man hand over his money, carrying a weapon can result in twice as much time in prison. The state of Florida imposes firm penalties to discourage the use of firearms. Enhanced penalties for firearm usage are common in Florida law and usually include much longer prison sentences for crimes in which the offender uses a potentially deadly weapon.
Carjacking is similar to robbery, except that the property taken is always a motor vehicle. It must be taken with force or by making the owner fearful and the person taking it must intend to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the car. Even if the carjacker intended only to use the car for a fairly short period of time, like an escape from the police, the temporary intent to deprive the owner is sufficient to qualify the crime as a carjacking. If a woman takes a man’s car at knifepoint to evade the police, planning to abandon the car after her escape, she is still criminally culpable for carjacking – even though she never intended to keep the car for herself permanently.
Carjacking with or without the use of a deadly weapon is a felony of the first degree in Florida and carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. Another important issue here is Florida “stand your ground” law. Whenever an offender breaks into a person’s home or car while the owner or resident is inside, the person who is lawful there is automatically presumed to fear for his life and safety. Because of this fear, he is allowed to use lethal force against the intruder and does not have a duty to retreat. For example, if a man breaks into a woman’s car or home and he is carrying a shotgun, it is usually within the woman’s rights to shoot the man.
In Florida, shoplifting is charged as theft and the severity depends on the value of the items taken. Theft occurs when a person “obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use” property belonging to another person or entity. The thief must intend to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the property or to benefit from the property or use the property herself. Arranging for another person to benefit from the property is also within the theft statute.
Grand theft in the third degree is a felony in Florida and can result in up to five years in prison. This crime occurs when the property was stolen is worth between $300 and $20,000 or if the property was stolen is a will, a stop sign, a firearm, a fire extinguisher, or certain other property. If the property was valued at between $100 and $300 but was taken from a home, it is also grand theft in the third degree. For example, if you steal your grandmother’s will before or after her death – perhaps because you have been written out of it – and you are caught, you could face up to five years in prison due to the importance of the document.
In most cases, the theft of property valued at between $100 and $300 is petit theft in the first degree, a misdemeanor in Florida. First-degree petit theft is punishable by up to a year in jail. The theft of property valued at less than $100 is a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in as long as 60 days in jail. Repeat petit theft convictions can result in a felony theft charge, even if the value of the goods was under $300. For example, if you are charged with petty theft for stealing a few magazines from a gas station, you would normally face a maximum of 60 days in jail. However, if you were previously convicted of taking candy and nail polish from another store on two earlier occasions, you could be charged with a third-degree felony and face up to five years in prison on the charge for the magazine theft.
Burglary has several components. First, the burglar must unlawfully and surreptitiously enter a home, building, or similar structure, or stay after the burglar is no longer permitted on the premises. The burglar must have the intent to commit an offense in the building or structure, such as theft, rape, arson, or another crime. In Florida, burglary can occur at any time of day, in contrast to the old definition which required that the crime could occur only during the night.
Burglary is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, if the burglar causes damage totaling more than $1,000, commits an assault or battery, is armed with a dangerous weapon, and in certain other cases. It is a second-degree felony, carrying up to 15 years in prison if the burglar does not assault or batter anyone during the offense and is not armed at any time during the burglary.
Experience Tampa Theft Crimes Attorneys You Can Count On
Our criminal defense lawyers know how important your freedom and your reputation are. We will provide a comprehensive and zealous defense on your behalf, regardless of the offense you face. You can count on the experience of our defense attorneys. We will stand up for your rights and represent you every step of the way. Our defense attorneys operate out of nine offices in Florida, including Tampa, and your defense will have the support of our entire legal defense team.
Call us or fill out our web form to arrange your free, confidential consultation with one of our Tampa criminal defense lawyers.