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Being accused of theft can be an intimidating experience. Even worse, the consequences of even a single conviction for any type of theft charge can have dire repercussions in both your personal and professional life, potentially including a permanent record as a felon.

Whether this is your first time facing theft allegations, you will almost certainly need an experienced private defense attorney. Our expert Sunrise theft lawyers can work toward the best possible resolution, given the facts of your case.

Basic Elements of a Theft Charge

Under Florida Statutes § 812.014, theft is when a person intentionally takes or uses someone else’s property, either temporarily or permanently preventing the owner from using or benefiting from it or taking the property for their own use without permission. Both core elements of theft—knowing that the property belonged to someone else and intending to take it from the owner or benefit from it personally—must be present for a theft charge to result in a conviction.

Without either of these crucial elements, convicting a defendant of theft would be impossible under state law. For instance, if someone took something belonging to someone else but did not intend to deprive the owner of their property, this could serve as the basis for a defense. An expert Sunrise theft attorney can provide more information on the defenses available in a specific case.

Petit Versus Grand Theft in Sunrise

FL Stat. §812.014 differentiates between misdemeanor “petit theft” and felony “grand theft” based mainly on the financial value of the goods. The theft of under $100 worth of property, money, or services is considered second-degree misdemeanor petit theft, while theft between $100 and $750 constitutes first-degree misdemeanor petit theft.

Third-degree felony grand theft involves someone taking between $750 and $20,000 of property, money, or services, or any of the following specific types of property:

  • Any estate planning document or other “testamentary instrument.”
  • A motor vehicle
  • A firearm
  • 2,000 pieces or more of citrus fruit
  • A fire extinguisher that was installed inside a building for use in fire prevention.
  • A stop sign
  • Any commercially farmed animal
  • Any amount of a controlled substance or anhydrous ammonia

Theft of between $20,000 and $100,000 of goods or money, up to $50,000 of commercial cargo, or over $300 worth of emergency medical or law enforcement equipment qualifies as second-degree felony grand theft. Theft of over $100,000 of goods or money or over $50,000 of commercial cargo is first-degree felony grand theft, as is any grand theft resulting in more than $1,000 of property damage or any property damage caused using a motor vehicle other than a getaway vehicle.

It can sometimes be tricky to understand the exact nature of the charges you are facing, but a Sunrise attorney can clarify the differences between theft charges.

Elements of Shoplifting Charges 

There are multiple types of shoplifting charges in Sunrise, all of which require the vigilant, expert defense that an attorney can provide from day one. Retail theft, which is a felony, is one such shoplifting offense. A person can be charged with retail theft for a range of activities, including possessing or taking away merchandise, changing a product label or price tag, moving merchandise between containers, or taking a shopping cart, intending to relieve the merchant of its use, value, or control. 

Shoplifting could also see someone charged with crimes like petit theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the goods or property in question. Petit theft typically involves the theft of goods valued at less than $750 and is generally a misdemeanor offense. However, petit theft can become a felony if the accused has multiple prior theft convictions on their record. Grand theft involves goods valued at $750 or above and is a felony offense. A person can also be charged with grand theft for the theft of specific goods, such as a firearm or a motor vehicle. 

Challenging Shoplifting Charges

There may be multiple ways to challenge a shoplifting charge, depending on the underlying chain of events that precipitated the arrest. For example, lack of intent can be a plausible defense, as the prosecution must prove that the accused actually intended to engage in the theft in question. Lack of evidence or even a wrongful valuation of the goods in question could also be useful defenses to mitigate a shoplifting charge. 

Penalties for Shoplifting 

The penalties for shoplifting can depend on factors including the value of the goods, the instances of theft, the period of time over which the theft took place, and the type of goods that were allegedly stolen.

For example, if someone commits retail theft and the value of the goods stolen is $750 or more within a 30-day period, the charge can be a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in jail, plus fines. If someone commits retail theft and the value of the goods stolen is more than $3,000 within a 30-day period, they can be charged with a second-degree felony, which carries a prison term of up to 15 years in jail if convicted. 

When someone commits first-degree petit theft, which involves goods with a value of at least $100 but less than $750, they would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and face up to 12 months in jail if convicted. A crime like first-degree grand theft, which involves multiple offenses, including the theft of goods valued at $100,000 or higher, is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison in the event of a conviction.

Robbery Charges 

Robbery is an extremely serious crime in Florida and is prosecuted as a felony offense. Robbery occurs when someone takes another person’s property or money, with the purpose of taking it either temporarily or permanently, and uses violence, assault, force, or puts the person in fear. 

The severity of a robbery charge will depend on multiple factors specific to the alleged offense. A Sunrise attorney can help you understand the elements of your robbery charge, as well as what defenses may prove to be most powerful and constructive against it. 

Your past criminal record, as well as the use or absence of a deadly weapon, are just a few factors that could upgrade or downgrade a robbery charge. When a robbery charge is accompanied by an assault or burglary charge, this can compound the potential sentence. In these cases, it is especially critical to work with a top attorney who can build a robust defense against your charges.

Legal Consequences for Robbery

Depending on the circumstances surrounding an alleged robbery, the offense can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony. For example, if the robbery occurred and the alleged offender used a firearm or another deadly weapon, the crime is charged as a first-degree felony. In this particular situation, the offense could be punishable by up to life in prison if a conviction is entered in the case. 

In situations where the robbery occurred with the use of a weapon not classified as a firearm or other deadly weapon, that crime is also a first-degree felony, but the maximum prison term is different. Still, a conviction could mean a period of incarceration of up to 30 years. 

Finally, when the robbery occurs, but no weapons of any kind are used, the robbery becomes a second-degree felony. Even so, a conviction for robbery as a second-degree felony could still mean that the person spends up to 15 years in prison, plus the requirement to pay considerable financial penalties. A tenacious Sunrise robbery attorney can fight on your behalf to avoid these outcomes.

Seek Help from a Sunrise Theft Attorney

A theft charge can completely upend your life. The quality of legal counsel you retain will significantly impact how your case plays out, so you must work with attorneys with a track record of success.

Our Sunrise theft lawyers are here to help you through your criminal case. We can get to work immediately investigating your charges and building your defense. Call today to set up your initial strategy session.

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00:07 08 Sep 22
In one of the most stressful times in my life, Rossen Law Firm was there for me. Leaving no stone unturned they provided patience and knowledge in every detail of my case. I’m very thankful and proud of this law firm family and especially of my lawyer, Scott Simmons for guiding, defending and helping me in every way possible. He and this law firm family come highly recommended from personal experience!!!
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15:24 26 Aug 22
I had an unfortunate situation with a family member that lead to my arrest and being charged with DV Battery. This was the first time I had ever been arrested so I was very nervous and afraid of what was going to happen to me. After talking with Adam I decided to retain him and let me tell you this was the BEST decision I could have ever made. Adam made me feel so comfortable and confident that everything will turn out the best in my favor. He is professional, ethical and supportive. He was always available too answer any questions or concerns.Not to mention, his team at the office is awesome they are so friendly and welcoming. Anytime I had a question when I called the office they were able to guide me in the rightdirection. They always were in contact with me with any information or updates regarding my case. Adams team is GREAT!Adam delivered, my case was DISMISSED. So if you want an attorney the is gonna fight for you and get the job done retain the BEST there is Adam Rossen!!!
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13:27 28 Jul 22
Adam Rossen and the team at Rossen Law took great care in handling my case. They are very professional, and get the job done. I was particular relieved to see just how much empathy they showed with me, and how effortless it was to be their client.I literally visited them twice. My initial consultation, and then to pickup the final docs. I have nothing but great things to say about these folks, and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Thanks Guys.
Terry ChristopherTerry Christopher
12:32 09 May 22
I had an amazing experience with The Rossen Law Firm. The staff were very professional. Attorney Susan Lawson went above and beyond working on my case. We were thoroughly prepared for trial. Mrs. Lawson reviewed hours of body and dash camera footage multiple times and aggressively performed depositions on witnesses and law enforcement.The final outcome for me was the state dropped my case, due to the great work Susan and the Rossen team performed. I didn’t even need to go to trial.This law firm does not play around. They pay attention to detail and they FIGHT FOR YOU!Thank you Adam, team, and a special thank you to Susan for your amazing work! I really appreciate you.
Ketiana ProvinceKetiana Province
20:27 23 Mar 22
My experience with Rossen Law Firm was excellent. From the consultation to the end.. My attorney Susan Lawson gave my son's case all the time and attention that was needed to be successful in court. She was confident during all the court proceedings. My favorite part was when she said we are family, never once my son and I were treated other then that. I very much appreciate the knowledge and support I received through Rossen Law Firm.
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