How to Minimize the Consequences of a Theft Crime Arrest
‘Tis the season for turkey, Christmas trees, family togetherness (well, maybe not so much this year due to COVID-19), decorations and, of course, theft. You read that right. Robbery and personal larceny is typically high in December as people prepare for the Christmas season. Thieves are looking to steal toys, electronics and other high-dollar merchandise.
Is stealing a $100 toy worth the risk of getting caught? Theft charges are no laughing matter. Sure, they usually aren’t as serious as murder and other violent crimes, but they can still be considered felonies, depending on the dollar value of the stolen goods. For example, stealing a T-shirt would get you charged with petty theft, but if you took off with $100,000 in jewelry without paying for it, you would get hit with a felony charge.
You don’t want a theft charge on your criminal record. This can impact you in many ways, especially in terms of employment. However, depending on the situation, you may be able to get your theft charge reduced or even eliminated completely. You can minimize your consequences with the right defense. An aggressive and skilled lawyer can help you with your case.
Defenses to Theft
In Florida, a person who steals property valued at under $100 can be charged with petty theft, which is a second degree misdemeanor. If the property is valued between $100 and $300, the person commits a first degree misdemeanor. Anything above that is considered a felony. A theft conviction can result in prison time, community service and probation. You may even be forced to pay restitution for the items you stole.
To reduce these consequences, it helps to have a good defense. Here are some possible defenses that may apply to your case.
- No specific intent. You must have intended to steal the item. If you are shopping and accidentally put a pack of gum in your purse but forget to pay for it, you cannot be charged with theft because you intended to pay for the gum.
- Incomplete theft. To steal something, you need to actually take it away from the place where you found it. A complete theft involves moving the item, taking it away from the owner and putting in the thief’s possession. A theft without all three of these elements is not an actual theft and cannot be charged as such.
- Authorization of use. If you had permission to borrow a friend’s car and intended to bring it back when you were done, then you cannot be charged with theft.
- Right of ownership. This may seem like common sense, but you cannot be charged with theft if you actually own the item that is purported to be stolen.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Criminal Defense Case
While minor shoplifting offenses may not be too bad, a theft case involving thousands of dollars in stolen goods can result in felony charges. Protect yourself with an experienced legal team.
The Tampa felony attorneys at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can assess your theft case and provide you with a solid defense. Call 813-242-4404 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.