Defending Against Allegations Of Theft
In Florida, theft encompasses a wide variety of property crimes, including conversion, larceny and misappropriation. At it’s most basic level, theft involves taking something that’s not yours and having no intent to return it.
Theft can be either a misdemeanor or felony level offense. The severity of the charge depends on a number of factors — the nature of the property, the value of the property and whether the theft caused damage to property or real estate.
Experienced Theft Defense Attorney
At The Law Offices of Elaine E. Lukic, I provide clients the legal counsel and aggressive representation they need to get the most favorable outcome possible. With 20 years of experience in the criminal justice system, I know how to aggressively defend your rights — and with a reputation for obtaining acquittals and dismissals, I am prepared to help you avoid the negative consequences associated with a theft conviction.
No matter the level of offense you have been charged with, know that the prosecutor and judge will be taking your matter seriously — and so must you and your legal team.
Florida has two classes of theft crimes, each with their own degrees of severity:
- Grand theft in the first degree — The most serious theft crime encompasses several scenarios, but typically involves stealing property valued over $100,000. This felony-level offense is punishable by up to 30 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
- Grand theft in the second degree — This felony involves stealing property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, stealing emergency equipment valued at $300 or more and stealing cargo valued at $50,000 or less. If convicted, you can be sent to prison for up to 15 years and ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- Grand theft in the third degree — Third-degree grand theft involves property valued between $300 and $20,000. It is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
- Petit theft in the first degree — This misdemeanor level offense may be charged if the stolen property is valued between $100 and $300. Those convicted can be sent to jail for up to one year and ordered to pay a fine up to $1,000.
- Petit theft in the second degree — The least severe theft crime involves the theft of property that’s valued at less than $100. The punishment may include up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Finding The Strategy That Works
For every case I take, I develop a unique strategy for success that’s based on the facts, the evidence and the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. I have had success defending theft cases with a variety of defense techniques, including those involving:
- Good faith belief of ownership or right to possess the property
- Consent given by the property owner
- Mistaken identity or false accusations
- Momentary deprivation defense
- Lack of intent
In addition to the criminal penalties, many theft offenses also implicate other penalties such as driver’s license suspension and civil liability. A conviction can also negatively impact your future ability to get a job, go to school or obtain credit.
For these reasons, it is important to contact a qualified defense lawyer as soon as possible in a theft case. Call my Palm Beach Gardens office at 800-478-8859 or send me an email to schedule a free consultation.