Theft in Florida and the Potential Consequences
From shoplifting to burglary, a charge of theft in Florida in any form can carry serious consequences including jail time, fines, and even long term implications you may never have thought of. Understanding these potential consequences of a charge for theft is important.
The Tampa Bay Times has reported multiple examples of people who have allegedly committed some form of theft in the community recently. It was reported that a New Port Richey man who had just been released from jail for auto theft charges attempted to break into a car in the jail parking lot as he left. Unfortunately for the man, the car belonged to a deputy who was in the car and subsequently arrested the man on attempted auto theft charges before returning him to the jail he had just bailed out of.
It was also reported that a St. Petersburg woman, who later claimed to have been intoxicated, was arrested on petit theft charges after allegedly removing a live lobster from a tank in a local Red Lobster. Authorities were summoned after the woman shouted obscenities at patrons and argued with management before grabbing the lobster and leaving the property. She was apprehended and arrested a short time later.
In Florida, the term “theft” encompasses a variety of crimes. As all of them can carry significant penalties, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing theft charges.
What is “Theft” Under Florida Law?
Generally, theft encompasses crimes where an individual knowingly took or used the property of another with the intent to deprive the true owner of the property. Theft may also be called burglary, robbery, larceny, or stealing.
When Does an Alleged Theft Become a Felony?
Florida has a low threshold in determining whether a crime is a misdemeanor or felony. If you are accused of stealing property worth $300 or more, you are automatically eligible for a felony charge.
Petit “petty” Theft vs. Grand Theft
Petty theft encompasses lower value items under $300.
Grand theft encompasses items that are worth at least $300 and varies in degrees that increase with the value of the stolen item.
Both forms of theft can carry prison sentences, probation, fines, and other penalties.
Are There Other Potential Implications to Having a Theft Charge on My Record?
Definitely. These days, everyone from employers to apartment rental companies run background checks when you submit an application. A theft charge can therefore have far-reaching effects. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able help you get your charges reduced or even dropped.
Facing Theft Charges? Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Help Today.
If you feel that you are facing the imminent threat of being charged with theft, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to prepare a defense and understand how Florida law applies to you. Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is the Tampa criminal defense attorney you want on your side to help you present your best defense and minimize your potential consequences. Schedule a free consultation today.