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What you need to know when facing theft charges

It can be overwhelming to face any type of criminal charge. A conviction of even a minor offense can result in penalties that can alter the course of your life. If you are facing theft charges, it is in your interests to learn as much as you can about the charges you are facing. This will help you understand how to build a strong and effective defense.

Florida readers know theft charges can range in type and severity. You would be wise to take your situation seriously, no matter how minor your offense seems, and strive to develop a defense strategy that suits your needs and goals. Any type of charge is a threat to your future and freedom, and it is always worthwhile to confront criminal allegations to the best of your ability.

The intent behind theft charges

Theft is a term used to describe the taking of someone’s personal property without his or her permission. Theft charges sometimes come in conjunction with other types of criminal charges, and there is a difference in the types of theft charges and associated penalties. In order to prove any type of theft charge, the prosecution must prove these basic elements:

  • The defendant took the property of another person.
  • The defendant took the property with the intent of keeping it permanently.

One of the most difficult elements of any theft charge is proving that a person intended to take the property. Intent is a complex legal concept, and it often proves quite challenging to demonstrate without doubt of the nature of a person’s intent.

Types of theft charges

In order to understand the level and type of theft charge you are facing, it is important to consider the type of property in question and its value. The two main types of theft include:

  • Grand theft charges are for allegedly stolen property that is worth more than certain dollar value, typically more than $1,000.
  • Petty theft charges follow incidents in which the property involved was worth under a certain dollar amount.

Theft cases can be difficult, but even when facing petty theft charges, it is worthwhile for you to take measures to protect yourself and your interests.

You can start working on your defense as soon as possible after an arrest or after you learn of potential charges against you. If you are unsure of where to begin, it may be helpful to start with a complete evaluation of your case with an attorney who can thoroughly explain your legal options.