Theft is among the most common crimes in the United States, often involving stolen goods or property. A conviction for stealing can have a long-term impact on your life, including a negative mark on your permanent record, jail time, and hefty fines.
Crimes of dishonesty will likely damage your credibility, making it difficult to find gainful employment to support yourself and your family. That said, when you face a conviction for petit or grand theft charges, you must take your case seriously and plan an effective defense strategy. Our dedicated criminal attorneys could help with this process. Call and schedule an appointment with an Inverness theft lawyer today to learn more.
Potential Criminal Charges for Theft
When the value of the stolen property in question is $750 or less, the alleged defendant will face petit theft charges, a misdemeanor offense. On the other hand, an arrest for stolen property valued over $750 will have the alleged defendant facing grand theft charges, a felony offense.
Whether a misdemeanor or felony, a theft conviction will cause many challenges any time the defendant must submit to a background check. However, felony theft is more severe and carries harsh penalties.
Petit Theft Penalties
A person guilty of stealing up to $100 in goods or property could spend up to 60 days in jail and pay $500 in fines. A conviction for stealing property valued at up to $750 could result in a one-year jail sentence and $1,000 in fines.
Grand Theft Penalties
A grand theft conviction for stolen property valued between $750 and $20,000 could lead to five-year imprisonment and $5,000 in fines. Property or goods valued between $20,000 and $100,000 could lead to 15-year imprisonment, and over $100,000 could mean as much as 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A knowledgeable Inverness lawyer can review specific sentencing guidelines for theft convictions after reviewing the details of a case.
The Elements Needed for a Theft Conviction
The alleged defendant in a criminal theft case has the presumption of innocence, meaning they are guilty until the state demonstrates through convincing evidence that they committed the crime they are on trial for. The state’s case must prove specific factors beyond a reasonable doubt to prove guilt. According to Florida Statutes § 812.014, the following factors could result in a theft conviction:
- The accused purposely and illegally took, used, or attempted to take another person’s or business’s property
- The accused took or attempted to seize the person’s or business’s property or knowingly indented to deprive them other of their rightfully owned property
A theft conviction may be a misdemeanor offense or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen property. In any scenario, a skilled attorney in Inverness could investigate a theft case by speaking with witnesses and reviewing security surveillance to prepare an effective action plan.
The Potential Defense Strategies Against Theft Charges
An effective defense strategy will establish that the state’s case lacks the elements needed to prove that the defendant stole someone else’s property. Potential defenses include lack of intent, proof that the defendant did not knowingly commit the crime, or evidence that the accused believed the individual or business gave them the property.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Theft Attorney in Inverness
Despite the specific charges or property value, a guilty conviction for theft will undoubtedly have lasting ramifications on your life and future. Not only could it lead to steep fines, jail sentences, and financial losses, but it could also damage your reputation.
A capable Inverness theft lawyer has the experience to help you navigate the complex criminal court process and reach the most favorable outcome. Call today to schedule an appointment and begin preparing your case.