Theft and other property crimes typically involve the unlawful taking or destruction of another person's property. This could be on an indefinite or temporary basis.

It's easy to dismiss theft and property crimes as trivial, especially when only a small item has been taken or there has been minimal vandalism. The penalties that may be imposed for these offenses are not trivial; they may include lengthy prison terms. Indeed, they can be an obstacle to present and future employment possibilities.

For such serious charges, it's important to get help from a skilled West Palm Beach theft attorney at the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein so you can defend your good name. You'll be able to devise a strategy to defend yourself, increasing the odds that the charges will be dropped or significantly reduced.

West Palm Beach Theft Crime Defense Lawyer

An accomplished criminal defense lawyer in West Palm Beach may be able to help you get your theft or property crime charges reduced or even dropped if you've been arrested in Palm Beach County or the surrounding area.

If you've been arrested for a crime involving theft of property in Florida, don't wait to get in touch with the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein. They will give your case their full attention and fight for you.

Please call (561) 600-0950 or send us an email to set up a time for a free and private consultation so that we can discuss your legal options with you. Clients from all over the Palm Beach area, including West Palm Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and many others, are represented by the firm when they have been accused of theft or other property crimes.

Theft Crimes in Florida

Both "petit theft" and "grand theft" are considered separate crimes in the Sunshine State of Florida. When someone is accused of stealing, the charges are determined by the facts of the case. The value and nature of the stolen property are considered in deciding the severity of the theft charges.

When the value of the property at issue is low, the charge of "petit theft" is commonly brought. According to Florida Statute 812.014(2-3), this refers to someone who steals property valued at up to $750. This is the lowest level of theft offenses.

Misdemeanors of the first or second degree are possible here. Petit theft is typically classified as a second-degree misdemeanor if the stolen item has a value of less than $100. A first degree misdemeanor is committed if the amount involved is between $100 and $749.

Shoplifting is the most common form of small-scale theft. If a person removes merchandise or property from a store, alters a label or price tag, or repackages merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the item, they may be guilty of shoplifting under Florida Statute 812.015.

According to Florida Statute 812.014, grand theft is defined as the "willful and malicious taking of another person's property with intent to deprive the owner of the property" when the value of the property taken is $750 or more. In addition to the presence of specific property or aggravating circumstances like the use of a motor vehicle, this charge may be applicable.

Depending on the specifics of the case, grand theft can be a first-, second-, or third-degree felony. Theft of property with a value between $750 and $19,999 constitutes a third-degree felony. When the value is between $20,000 and $100,000, the crime is considered a second degree felony, and when it's over $100,000, it's considered a first degree felony.

Penalties for Theft Charges in Florida

Theft in the second degree and criminal mischief with damages under $200 are both classified as second degree misdemeanors. Punishment for these infractions may include up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Theft under $750 and criminal mischief under $1,000 are both classified as first-degree misdemeanors. The penalties for these infractions are either up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.

To steal merchandise worth $750 or more constitutes Grand Theft in the Third Degree, a serious felony. Damages in excess of $1,000 caused by criminal mischief are also considered a felony of the third degree. The maximum penalty for these offenses is five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Any conviction for a second degree felony, such as theft of $20,000 or more, dealing in stolen property, grand theft in the second degree, or burglary in the second degree, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

First-degree theft felonies include "Dealing with Stolen Property," "Grand Theft in the First Degree," and "Armed Burglary," all of which can result from the planning, organization, or direction of others to commit these acts. The maximum sentence for such crimes is 30 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison in some instances, and fines which can reach $10,000.

A person convicted of even Petit Theft will have his or her fingerprints taken in court, and their name will be added to a national database that can be accessed by potential employers conducting background checks. The Florida Fingerprint Law mandated this. The court can suspend a person's driving privileges for anywhere between six months and a year if they have been convicted of a theft misdemeanor. The court must automatically suspend the offender's driving privileges if they have a prior conviction for this offense.

In addition to the criminal penalties for theft, the court may also order the offender to pay a fine of up to twice the property's gross value, plus the costs of investigation and prosecution. According to Florida Statute 772.11, offenders can also face civil remedies. It is the intent of this law to allow any victim of theft or shoplifting who can provide sufficient evidence of their victimization to pursue civil remedies.

West Palm Beach Theft Crime Defense Attorney

Please contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein if you have been charged with theft or property crime in Palm Beach County or the surrounding area. An experienced Palm Beach criminal defense attorney may be able to have your charge dismissed or reduced by utilizing a defense or exception to Florida laws. If you've been accused of stealing from someone or damaging their property, you can get a free consultation by calling (561) 600-0950.

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