Theft Crimes And Defenses To Theft Charges In Florida
Florida Statutes 812.005 defines the crime of theft as taking another person’s money or personal property without the person’s consent. The term larceny is sometimes used as a synonym for theft. Theft is different from burglary, which involves not only taking personal property from the victim’s residence or place of business but also entering the residence or place of business without the victim’s consent. It is also different from robbery, which involves violence or a threat of violence, with or without weapons. Depending on the value of property taken and on other factors, such as whether the defendant has prior theft convictions, theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Florida. If you are facing criminal charges for a property crime such as larceny, contact a West Palm Beach property crimes lawyer.
The Different Types of Theft in Florida
You can be charged with theft in Florida if you temporarily or permanently deprive someone of one or more items of their personal property. These are the criminal penalties you can face, according to the value of the stolen property:
- If the value of the stolen property is less than $100, theft is a second-degree misdemeanor, and the maximum sentence is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- If the value of the stolen property is at least $100 but less than $300, theft is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- A repeat offense of theft of items valued at less than $300 is a third-degree felony.
- Theft is also a third-degree felony if the value of the stolen property is at least $300 but less than $19,999, and the maximum sentence, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to five years. This charge and sentence also apply if the stolen item was valued at less than $300 but was a motor vehicle, a farm animal, a fire extinguisher, a firearm, or any of certain types of agricultural produce.
- Theft is a second-degree felony if the value of the stolen property is between $20,000 and $99,999. The maximum sentence is 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Theft is a second-degree felony if the value of the stolen property is above $100,000. The maximum sentence is 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Defenses to the Charge of Theft
If you get charged with theft, a possible defense is that you genuinely and reasonably believed that the victim gave you permission to take the property. Simply intending to return the property is not a valid defense. Involuntary intoxication is also a defense, such as if you were taking a medication as prescribed by your doctor, and the drug’s side effects include impulsive behavior or lapses in judgment.
Contact a West Palm Beach Property Crimes Lawyer Today
A Palm Beach County criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for theft or another property crime. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach Florida to discuss your case.