Florida Theft Charges
The Florida statutes penalize theft and related crimes severely. Jonathan Rose has successfully defended all types of theft related offenses, including fraud, shoplifting, burglary, and robbery.
Lasting Effects of a Theft Conviction
While at first glance a conviction for a misdemeanor theft offense may not seem incredibly serious, even one misdemeanor theft conviction can have lasting effects on your life. Such convictions can severely hinder employment and educational opportunities, and even affect your ability to obtain credit and housing.
Effect of Multiple Misdemeanor Convictions
Theft offenses in Florida state court are classified as misdemeanor offenses if the value of the allegedly stolen property is less than $300. However, a third conviction can be prosecuted as a third degree felony, further complicating an already difficult situation.
The state of Florida takes fraud seriously. The media has highlighted the growth of Florida fraud cases, and prosecutors are under pressure to make an impact. A conviction for theft will inevitably impact various areas of a person’s life, both personal and professional alike. In order to protect your future, you will likely want to obtain immediate assistance in the criminal court process due to the gravity of your current predicament.
11,954Florida Fraud Arrests
*Data based on 2016 Florida Department of Law Enforcement Report
Residential burglary, or “burglary of a dwelling,” is among the most harshly penalized crimes in Florida state court. Even a first conviction for this offense requires a minimum 21 month prison sentence, unless a plea agreement is reached with the prosecutor requiring less punishment or the judge is convinced that a lesser sentence is justified based on specific criteria. Proving this charge merely requires that someone entered a building designed to be lived in with the intent to commit a crime in that building – any crime other than trespassing.
Ineligibility for Sealing and Expunging
A conviction, or even an arrest, for Burglary of a Dwelling is specifically excluded from being sealed or expunged from one’s criminal history. If you are suspected of such an offense, contact Attorney Jonathan Rose to discuss the possibility of working to prevent an arrest or conviction for this highly stigmatizing offense.
There are many forms of robbery in the Florida statutes. At its core, robbery is a theft accomplished by the use of violence, or the threat of violence, whether the violence occurs before or after the property is obtained from the owner. All forms of robbery are felonies, ranging from “sudden snatching” robbery to armed robbery. Robbery convictions are also ineligible for sealing or expunging.
Defenses to Theft Charges
While theft charges are serious, there are frequently good defenses to these charges.
Defending Against Forensic Evidence
Identification: In many instances, Florida theft charges and offenses are investigated after the crime occurred, and thus there is no witness to the alleged crime itself. In these instances, forensic evidence such as DNA and fingerprints may be used to prove the identity of the suspect. Based on television, movies, and media coverage, these forms of evidence are frequently thought to be insurmountable. However, in many cases, they are not. DNA evidence requires a strict process to be followed, and deviations from that process may cause the evidence to be questionable, or even unavailable to prosecutors to use in a trial. Further, the “science” of fingerprint identification has come under significant scrutiny in the past several years. Fingerprint analysts must be able to support their findings under significant scrutiny based on the lack of actual science involved in fingerprint analysis.
Whether the charge is robbery, burglary, or retail theft, the prosecution must prove that the person arrested is in fact the person who allegedly committed the crime. Security video footage is frequently taken at long distance and of poor quality. Eyewitness testimony has been proven to be among the least reliable forms of evidence. Dim or dark lighting conditions frequently make identification of a suspect unreliable.
When stolen property is found in the possession of a suspect shortly after a theft, the prosecution must prove that the person knew that the property was stolen, whether the property is a car, jewelry, clothes, or any other item. This may be done in any number of ways depending on the facts of a case, but in many cases there is no independent proof that the suspect is aware that items were stolen.
Theft in Florida is defined as either temporarily or permanently depriving the owner of his or her property. However, the State must prove that the client had the intent to do so. This is typically proven through circumstantial evidence. However, there are many instances in which the suspect is in lawful possession of some item but is accused either through mistake or wrongful accusation that he or she intended to deprive the owner of the property.
Florida Theft Charges
To learn more about the firm’s services in this area of law, please request an initial consultation. Call 407-894-4555, or contact the Orlando office via email at [email protected].