pair of handcuffs on top of a fingerprint card

Theft is a serious crime in Florida, and you want the best representation for your criminal case. According to Florida Statute 812.005 et. seq., theft is defined as “unlawfully and intentionally taking another person’s property.” The extent of the charges depends on the facts of your case. No matter the charge, you need an experienced theft lawyer in Jacksonville.

Depending on your case, you can face serious consequences from a theft charge. Theft occurs when the defendant has either temporarily or permanently deprived an individual of their belongings. An accusation of theft also can involve acquiring the property for another individual. If you have been accused or convicted of theft, Smith & Eulo Law Firm may help to provide a defense for your case. 

The Definition of Theft in Jacksonville

Within Florida’s criminal statutes, theft is a broad term. Due to the offender’s prior criminal history and value of the property, penalties vary from case to case. The Jacksonville theft lawyers at Smith & Eulo Law Offices are available to discuss the case with you.

In Florida, there are several types of theft, such as:

  • Petit Theft
  • Grand Theft
  • Shoplifting Charges
  • Employee Theft
  • Selling Stolen Property
  • Identity Theft Charges
  • Failure to Redeliver Hired Vehicle
  • Credit Card Fraud or Theft

These are some of the theft cases we handle at Smith & Eulo Law Firm. We can represent other types of criminal charges in the Jacksonville area. 

Theft Can Result in Long-Term Issues

The state of Florida aggressively prosecutes theft as it is deemed a “crime of dishonesty.” A national database contains the personal information of those convicted of theft. These convictions can result in fines, time in prison, social stigma, and loss of certain rights.

You should never take these charges lightly. If you face these circumstances, get in touch with our Jacksonville theft attorneys at Smith & Eulo Law Office. We may be able to help avoid a conviction or lessen the penalties.

Possible Theft Defenses

When facing a theft charge, our attorneys may use these possible defenses in your case. You might have made an honest mistake with no intention of stealing. It may be possible to assume that you had permission to the property. In some cases, it is miscommunication about the ownership of the stolen items.

At Smith & Eulo Law Firm, we have experience defending these charges. Some possible theft strategies to reduce charges or dismiss the case include:

  • The theft occurred as the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
  • A psychological condition caused an impulse to steal.
  • The accusation was a mistake as the defendant took the item in error.
  • The offender did not know the item was in their possession.
  • The defendant thought he or she had permission to take the item.
  • The offender believes they were the rightful owner of the item.

Depending on the stolen property’s value, an individual is prosecuted with petit theft or grand theft. Stealing items under the value of $299 is considered petit theft. If the property is more than $300, then the individual faces a charge of grand theft.

empty courtroom with dark wooden benches

Explanation of Petit Theft

Petit theft is often prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The defendant faces lesser penalties than a grand theft charge. These cases are classified into degrees, such as:

  • Third degree: This type of theft involves stolen property with a value of less than $100. When convicted, the defendant can face a maximum fine of $500 and 60 days in jail or prison. 
  • Second degree: A crime is classified as second-degree petit theft if the stolen property’s value ranges from $100 to $750. It is still a misdemeanor with penalties of one year of incarceration and fines up to $1,000.
  • First degree: If the defendant has a criminal theft history, the offense can be upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor charge. After two prior theft convictions, a misdemeanor charge becomes a third-degree felony. The defendant faces five years imprisonment and a $5,000 maximum fine with this charge. 

Understanding Grand Theft 

Grand theft crimes are considered very serious in Jacksonville. The property stolen in these crimes has a significant value of $750 or more. 

  • Third degree: If the stolen property was worth between $750 to $1,000, this crime is a third-degree felony. The punishment includes a $5,000 fine and five years of imprisonment. 
  • Second degree: Stealing property with a value between $5,000 and $10,000 is considered second-degree grand theft. Some of the typical penalties include a fine of up to $10,000 and 4 years of prison time. 
  • First degree: The most severe charge is first-degree grand theft. If the property was worth more than $100,000, the courts might sentence the offender to 30 years in prison with a maximum fine of up to $10,000.

If a vehicle was used to commit the theft, the charge elevates to the first degree. Charges are enhanced to a first-degree felony if the defendant damaged $1,000 worth of property. Several factors determine the stolen property’s value, such as resale and market prices. Along with that, targeting a senior aged 65 or older is a severe crime with stiffer penalties. 

Experienced Theft Defense Attorneys in Jacksonville

Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you need to seek advice from an experienced theft defense attorney. No matter the circumstances, a theft conviction will follow you for the rest of your life. When facing these charges in Florida, you need to consult with an Jacksonville theft defense lawyer.

Our Florida theft attorney will review the charges and evidence in the case. We can craft a defense for your legal battle. If you have been offered a plea deal, it might seem like a good idea. However, many pleas require you to plead guilty, which can leave you with a criminal record. 

You need to work with the professional legal team at Smith & Eulo Law Firm.

Consult With Smith & Eulo Law Firm

A conviction of theft is more than paying a fine and losing your freedom. You can experience difficulties in gaining employment, renting a home, and keeping custody of your children. With a dismissed charge, you can keep your record clean from any criminal offenses. Our experienced theft lawyers at Smith & Eulo Law Firm may be able to help.

Our legal team understands the complicated Florida criminal justice system. If you face theft charges in Jacksonville, please schedule a case consultation with the Smith & Eulo Law Firm office. Give us a call at 904-712-4405 or fill out the contact form.