Fort Lauderdale Theft Crimes Attorney
“Theft” is a broad term generally used to refer to those crimes that involve the unlawful taking of property. There are a broad array of theft-related crimes in Florida, outlined in Florida Statutes, Chapter 812, ranging from misdemeanor petit theft to felony robbery. Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Mark S. Lowry can help you defend against all types of theft-related criminal charges.
In Florida, the crime of theft is committed if a person knowingly obtains or uses the property of another with the intent to: “[d]eprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property” or “[a]ppropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.”
Thefts are then categorized by the value of the property that was taken. The taking of property worth between $101 and $300 is considered first-degree petit theft, punishable by one year in jail, one year probation, or a fine (up to $1,000). The taking of property worth $100 or less is considered second-degree petit theft punishable by up to six months in jail, six months probation, or a fine (up to $500). In addition, theft charges could lead to a driver’s license suspension.
As with all crimes, there are defenses to theft, including abandonment of the crime (for moral reasons, not out of fear of getting caught), ownership, the property had no value, and lack of intent to steal. Although not a complete defense, charges of grand theft may be reduced to a lesser theft charge by showing the property isn’t valued as high as prosecutors allege. Let our Fort Lauderdale theft attorney help.
Lost and Abandoned Property
Florida Statutes 705.102 provides that the taking of lost or abandoned property is illegal and constitutes theft. So, for example, if a person takes an iPhone that they find laying in the street and begins using it as their own, even though they know it is not, they can be charged with a theft. Finders, under Florida law, are to report the found property to law enforcement officials. Many are unaware of this law, and it can result in theft charges that come as a surprise. If you’re unsure about a situation or have become caught up in one, contact our Fort Lauderdale theft & robbery attorneys.
Theft escalates into robbery when the taking of property is accomplished by threat, force, or violence. Florida recognizes these additional variants of robbery, all of which are felonies: carjacking, robbery by sudden snatching, home invasion robbery, robbery with a deadly weapon, and robbery with a firearm. The possible penalties depend on the type of robbery, but can be up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Contact our Fort Lauderdale robbery attorney for more information.
Defending Theft and Robbery Charges
Of course, just because a crime can be punished by a certain amount of jail, probation, or fine, doesn’t mean that it will. Let experienced Fort Lauderdale theft & robbery attorney Mark S. Lowry help you defend your case and minimize or eliminate your potential punishment.