Theft is defined by the state of Florida as the unauthorized taking or use of another person’s property. The term theft can cover a number of legal offenses, including larceny, stealing, and misappropriation.
To convict a defendant of a theft crime, the prosecution must prove two elements:
- The person charged knowingly took or used the property of another person.
- The person charged intended to deprive the owner of the property of a benefit from the property, or the person charged appropriated the use of the property for his own use or for the use of any person who is not the owner.
Types of Theft Charges in Broward County
There are a wide range of charges that can result from taking another person’s possession. The charge depends on the unique factors of each situation, but two of the most common charges are:
- First-degree petty theft. The stolen property is valued at between $100 and $299.
- Second-degree petty theft. The stolen property is valued at less than $100.
- First-degree grand theft. The stolen property is valued at more than $100,000.
- Second-degree grand theft. The stolen property is valued between $20,000 and $99,999.
- Third-degree grand theft. The stolen property is valued at $300 and $19,999. This charge will also be used in cases where the property is a car, firearm, commercially farmed animal, fruit of more than 2,000 pieces, stop sign, construction sign, or anhydrous ammonia.
Additional factors can affect the charge, as well. In Florida, the charge can be elevated to grand theft in the first degree if:
- A car was used in committing the crime.
- The accused caused more than $1,000 of property damage while committing the crime.
Penalties for Conviction of a Theft Crime Can Be Severe
The consequences for a theft conviction vary depending on the severity of the charge and the specific circumstances of the case. The value of the items in question, the existence of any enhancing factors, and the defendant’s past legal history can all play a role in determining the consequences, which can include fines, jail time, and probation.
Possible Defenses in a Florida Criminal Theft Case
There are a number of possible ways to minimize the negative consequences of a theft charge. Working together, you and your attorney can examine your situation and decide how best to move forward.
In some cases, the charge results as a simple misunderstanding. Florida law states that a person can be charged with theft only if he willfully and knowingly took something that was not his. If the owner gave consent to use the item, or if the accused person believed he owned or had a right to possess the item, it can be possible to address the charges successfully. Intoxication and entrapment are also sometimes possible defenses in Florida.
If you or someone you love has been charged with theft in Broward County, you need legal help as soon as possible. Contact the experienced and aggressive legal team at Rossen Law Firm today to learn more about your rights and how we may be able to help. We offer free strategy sessions with our lead attorney and former prosecutor Adam Rossen.