In the state of Florida, stealing anything can be charged as a crime. Our attorneys have handled cases where it was a single pack of gum that was stolen and the person was arrested. It may be hard to believe that stealing a pack of gum can result in jail time, but the reality is that it’s possible.
The act of stealing is taken very seriously by the Florida criminal justice system. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is the first step in trying to obtain a favorable resolution to your case.
A person who is caught stealing can be charged with one of several different theft crimes. Petit theft, grand theft, robbery, and burglary are the most common charges that a person caught stealing faces.
These charges range from second-degree misdemeanors all the way up to first degree felonies. If you are charged with one of these crimes, it is important to understand the differences between them and the consequences of each one.
A charge of petit theft will either be considered a misdemeanor in the first degree (M1) or a misdemeanor in the second degree (M2).
Typically, when a person is caught stealing an item valued at less than $100, that worst crime that he or she can be charged with is M2 petit theft. However, if that person has been previously convicted of petit theft, the M2 petit theft charge can be upgraded to a charge of M1 petit theft.
When a person is caught stealing an item valued at greater than $100 but less than $300, he or she can still be charged with M2 petit theft, or can instead be charged with M1 petit theft.
A first-degree misdemeanor has more severe consequences than a second-degree misdemeanor. When charged with an M2, a person faces up to 60 days in the county jail.
When charged with an M1, a person faces up to 365 days in the county jail (along with higher fines and/or probation).
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor at all you need to ensure you secure an attorney with a history of working in the criminal court system. The attorneys of Jordan Law are criminal justice specialists and will work to ensure you have the representation you need to achieve the best results.
Grand theft is a stronger charge than petit theft and carries a higher burden because of it. When a person steals an item that is valued at $300 or more, but less than $20,000, he or she can be charged with a felony in the third degree (F3).
If, instead, the item is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the charge can be enhanced to a felony in the second degree (F2). Finally, if the item is valued at $100,000 or more, the charge can be enhanced to a felony in the first degree (F1).
Unlike misdemeanor petit thefts, charges of grand theft can result in prison time lasting more than one year. With the stakes being much higher, the need for an experienced attorney becomes that much more important.
One way we will help defend against your charge of Grand Theft is with a motion to suppress. Usually, the officer had to stop you and/or search you, depending upon why they did that there could be a motion to suppress. If the police made a mistake or if the search or stop wasn’t done properly this motion has the potential to have your charges dismissed.
The most serious theft crimes typically fall into one of the following categories: burglaries and robberies. A person can be charged with robbery in the second degree (F2) either if the item stolen was taken directly from someone, or if the person used force while trying to grab the item.
If the person used a weapon during the theft, the robbery charge may become a felony in the first degree (F1). If the weapon that was used was a firearm, the robbery can be punishable by life in prison (PBL).
To be found guilty of burglary, a person does not necessarily need to have taken property; it only requires that the person enter a structure (which can be a car) or a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime in that structure or dwelling. However, burglaries often involve a theft.
These cases technically start as a misdemeanor trespassing and then become a burglary if it can be proven that the person entered the structure or dwelling with the intent to commit an offense.
A burglary is a felony in the third degree (F3) if it is of a car, a felony in the second degree (F2) when a house is involved, and punishable by life (PBL) if the person was armed, committed an assault, or committed a battery during the burglary.
It is extremely important that, regardless of the level of offense, you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately in order to discuss your options. Collectively, the attorneys at Jordan Law have handled thousands of cases, many of which included the crimes of petit theft, grand theft, robbery, and burglary. If you find yourself facing any kind of theft charge in the areas explained above, it is imperative that you contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers.