Pollack & Pollack Law
Why You Should Hire A Lawyer For Petty Theft in Orlando Florida?
Florida Laws and Punishments Regarding Petty Theft
Theft may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of Florida. The difference is based on the amount of money or other valuables that were taken. A person is guilty of the crime of petit theft if they take something with a value of less than $750.00. Theft of the first or second degree, sometimes known as petit theft, is considered a criminal offense in the state of Florida and gets its name from the French word for "little." In the state of Florida, shoplifting is referred to as "retail theft."
In accordance with Florida Statutes § 812.014, the act of stealing is considered a felony. Theft is defined by Section 812.014 as the act of knowingly obtaining, using, or endeavoring to obtain or use, on a temporary or permanent basis, property and, as a result of one's actions, depriving another person of the right to use the property or to derive a benefit from using the property taken. This definition applies whether the property in question is being used temporarily or permanently. Theft may also occur when an individual uses stolen property in a way that is detrimental to the owner of the item notwithstanding the fact that the individual did not have permission to use the stolen goods.
Theft is a particular purpose offence, which means that in order for the government to establish that the accused intended to deprive the property owner of the right to enjoy the property, they must demonstrate that the accused had the determination in their mind to do so. Additionally, the government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual charged of stealing has the necessary intent to steal.
The distinction between stealing with the aim to deprive and stealing with the intent to steal is shown via a hypothetical factual event. In this fictitious scenario, a guy is shown leaving a restaurant, retrieving a coat from the rack, and then heading out the door. On the other hand, there were two jackets that looked exactly same on the rack, and the guy picked up the incorrect one by mistake. Because the guy who stole the incorrect coat did not intend to permanently rob the owner of the coat, he cannot be held legally accountable for stealing the wrong coat in this case. He did not have the purpose to deprive the owner of the garment. The conclusion may be different, however, if the coat that was stolen in error had a wallet that held identity of the legitimate owner and the individual who claims to have taken the coat in error failed to return the wallet and identification to the person who was entitled to them.
Different Levels of Petty Theft
Someone is guilty of first-degree petit theft if they take property or items with a value of more than $100 but less than $750. This kind of crime is considered to be less serious than grand theft. Theft in the first degree is considered to be a misdemeanor, and the maximum sentence for this offense is one year in county prison. If the individual must be sent to prison, the court is required to impose a specific term on them. In addition, the judge can decide to impose a fine of no more than one thousand dollars. According to Florida law, petty theft in the first degree is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Theft in the second degree for property with a value of less than one hundred dollars is considered a petty theft. Theft of the second degree is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. In the state of Florida, a person who commits a misdemeanor of the second degree is subject to a potential sentence of imprisonment in the county jail for a predetermined period of time not to exceed sixty days. In addition, the defendant may be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00 if the court decides to impose a penalty for their actions.
Prosecutors are instructed to pursue the most serious charges possible against a defendant where there is evidence to support one or more lesser charges. Therefore, previous convictions for theft might enable prosecutors to press charges for theft as subsequent crimes if the defendant commits theft again. When theft is charged as a second crime, the state's attorney is granted the ability to pursue the case as a misdemeanor of the first degree. In addition, if the defendant had two previous convictions for stealing, the prosecution would be able to pursue felony charges of the third degree.
A Conviction for Petty Theft May Have Other Repercussions for Your Life
If a person is found guilty of stealing under Florida law, they may be subject to extra penalties in addition to those that are outlined under the state's criminal theft legislation. The sanctions are not of a criminal character but rather of a civil one. A conviction for theft in Florida might have repercussions on a person's ability to drive legally after the conviction. Anyone convicted of stealing in the state of Florida runs the risk of having their driver's license revoked, even for a first offense. In the event of a third theft crime, the driver's license will be automatically suspended.
When the driver's license of a convicted criminal in Florida is suspended for the first time by the Department of Highway Safety, the suspension period is limited to a maximum of six months. If an individual is found guilty of committing any offense that alleges stealing for the second time, they are subject to a term of license suspension that cannot be more than one year. If a person under the age of 18 who is accused of committing theft has never been convicted of stealing before, the individual might have their driver's license suspended as a punishment rather than being sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice or receiving another kind of penalty.
The individual who is found guilty of stealing in Florida is subject to civil responsibility under the state's legislation. According to the laws of the state of Florida, the individual who is found guilty of stealing (or a parent or guardian of a person who is less than 18 years old) may be held accountable for the loss sustained by the victim. The wrongdoer may be liable for monetary damages up to the greater of three times the worth of the stolen goods or $200. In addition, the person who was robbed has the right to demand compensation for their legal fees and the expenses of the case.
In order for the victim to be awarded civil damages for the theft, they must follow a precise process. The person who was robbed is required to send a demand letter to the person who is suspected of committing the crime at least thirty days before bringing a civil complaint in court. If the alleged thief were to pay the amount that was requested by the victim, they would be exonerated from any civil culpability. The suspected perpetrator must have a written release from the victim removing all responsibility for the crime. The settlement of a civil debt does not always constitute an admission of guilt; nonetheless, it may assist in the resolution of a criminal case with a disposition that does not end in a conviction. Before making any remarks on the claims that have been made against you, you are required to speak with an expert theft defense attorney in the state of Florida.
In conclusion, any conviction for a criminal crime in any court in the United States, even for petty theft, may result in unfavorable immigration repercussions. This is true regardless of the nature of the offense. If the offender is not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for even a minor theft offense in the state of Florida might empower the government to initiate removal proceedings, deny citizenship, or refuse re-entry into the country.
Shoplifting is a crime in the state of Florida
In the state of Florida, shoplifting is most often considered a "petit theft" violation, provided that the value of the goods stolen does not exceed $750. If the stolen goods has a value that is more than $750, the case will be investigated and prosecuted as a crime. Additionally, stealing a weapon from a store is considered a crime of the third degree, regardless of the value of the handgun that was stolen.
Except in cases where the offender has a history of shoplifting convictions, the penalties for shoplifting, which is often referred to as retail theft, are the same as those for petty theft. According to subsection (2) of section 812.015 of the Florida Statutes, the court is required to hand down a sentence that is more severe to the criminal when the offense involves a second or subsequent offense. As a component of the penalty for shoplifting, the court could compel the accused person to pay a greater fine in addition to ordering the accused person to conduct community service.
Although this is one of the most typical ways that stealing is committed, shoplifting entails much more than just hiding stuff and leaving the store without paying for it. Other behaviors that could be prosecuted as shoplifting or retail theft include changing, removing, or altering price tags, switching merchandise from one container to another, wheeling a shopping cart out of the store, or taking property in some other way that deprives the merchant of the benefit of the product through sale or trade. These are all examples of shoplifting or retail theft.
Retail theft and petit theft are basically the same conduct, with the key difference being that a person who commits retail theft takes from a merchant or other supplier of goods, while a person who does petit theft steals from a customer.
Theft might be considered a violation of Florida's 10-20-Life legislation if the offender was carrying a handgun at the time of the crime, regardless of whether or not it was legal for them to do so. Because of the possession of a firearm, the court is required to reclassify the primary crime in accordance with Florida Statutes section 775.087, which is commonly known as the 10-20-Life legislation.
According to the laws of the state of Florida, the simple fact that a criminal was armed while committing a crime is considered an aggravating factor. Therefore, according to the 10-20-Life statute, a felony of the third degree becomes a felony of the second degree, a crime of the second degree becomes a felony of the first degree, and a felony of the first degree becomes a felony for life. In addition, the minimum sentence for theft increases to 10 years in state prison if the individual committing the crime was in possession of a weapon at the time of the theft. If a shot was fired during the theft, the penalty increases to a term of twenty years in jail. If another person is killed or sustains a serious physical harm while the offender is doing one of the felonies listed in the Act, the offender will be sentenced to life in prison.
Robbery and theft are two sides of the same coin. Both theft and larceny include the seizing and transporting of the property of another person with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of the benefits the goods provides. Theft is theft, no matter how you look at it. On the other hand, robbery is defined as the act of taking something that is in the possession of another person or that is on the person of another person while using force, the threat of force, or the risk of damage. The difference between robbery and theft is that the former involves the use of force or the threat of force, while the latter involves the taking of property that was in the direct control of the victim.
Theft Crimes in Florida and Their Impact on Property Values
The prosecutor has the responsibility of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of all aspects of the offense for which they are being charged. Even if the prosecution is able to establish without a shadow of a doubt that four of the five requirements exist, they cannot win the case. Failure to prove even a single element of the case, even if it is a minor point and not the gravamen of the government's case, gives the defendant the right to an acquittal judgment from the jury or from a ruling by the trial judge even before the case is presented to the jury. This is true even if the element in question is not the most important point in the government's case.
To defend charges of theft, one possible technique is to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution on the worth of the goods that was taken. If the defense is able to successfully challenge the worth of the property, a judge or jury may find the accused guilty of a lesser-included crime rather than the act for which they are being charged. According to the provisions of Florida law that were quoted before, the gravity of the offense is determined by the monetary worth of the stolen property. Therefore, a possible argument might lay in the fact that the government does not possess any evidence about the real worth of the objects that are said to have been stolen from them.
For instance, the prosecutor may assume that the evidence would prove that the item was worth $750 or more and bring a charge of theft in the third degree on behalf of the government. This would allow the government to pursue legal action. Even if the accused may have been caught red-handed with the goods in question, the counsel for the defense may claim that the government did not show beyond a shadow of a doubt the worth of the property in question. It's possible that the state's attorney didn't let in all of the evidence needed to prove that the products were worth more than $95.00. In such scenario, the jury has the option of convicting the defendant of the lesser offense of petty theft, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree. This is an important difference to make. For a misdemeanor of the second degree, the court could only give the defendant a sentence of no more than sixty days in prison at the most. On the other hand, if an individual is found guilty of committing a crime of the third degree, they might spend up to five years in prison as a consequence of their conviction. The disparity is quite astonishing.
When trying to establish that someone has committed theft, the prosecution has two options for proving the worth of the goods that was taken. It is up to the government to decide whether or not to provide evidence of the worth of the stolen goods on the open market at the time and location of the crime. In the event that this is not possible, the government may try to have evidence of the purchase price, the condition of the item when it was stolen, the amount that the item may have depreciated, the quality of the property that was stolen, and the fair market value of the goods admitted into the case.
The practical implication of the law in relation to proving the value of the property is that the state's attorney cannot simply rely on the uncorroborated testimony of the alleged victim to estimate the value of the property without taking into account variables such as the condition of the goods. This is because the state's attorney is required to prove the value of the property in order to secure a conviction. A court can even consider the worth of the item at the time of its replacement to be valid evidence of the value of the object at the time it was stolen. To put it another way, the evidence that supports the merit of the argument has to be sufficiently conclusive and founded on objective standards; it can't just be a hunch.
Theft from Stores and the Case of the First-Time Offender
If it's your first time being arrested for a crime, getting caught stealing in Florida could be very unpleasant for you. People who are caught stealing for the first time face the possibility of going to prison for their crime. However, if you have a devoted and experienced petit theft attorney on your side, you may be able to defeat the charges, get them dropped, or have your sentence reduced.
The presence of probable cause is required for law enforcement authorities to make an arrest. The officer in charge of the investigation requires simply sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the suspect "probably" committed the crime that is being accused of. The burden of evidence is quite low, and it is often not difficult to establish one's case. However, if the prosecutor reads the police report before filing charges — which is essentially an affidavit from the police officer that recites the allegations of the case — the prosecutor may realize that the proof required for a guilty verdict is lacking and decide to reduce the charge or drop the charge altogether. This occurs when the prosecutor reads the police report before filing charges.
It is very necessary to get in touch with an active criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the workings of the system in order to build a successful defense and maintain a clean criminal record. Your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor who is examining the case to drop the charge or offer entrance into a diversionary program in exchange for the dismissal of the case by speaking with the prosecutor who is reviewing the case. You will be able to keep from getting a criminal record if you hire a lawyer to fight on your behalf even before the prosecutor officially announces the charges against you.
Even if the prosecution is hesitant to drop the charges entirely, they still have choices available to them that are more beneficial to the defense. Either the charge might be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor or the degree of the misdemeanor charge could be decreased by the prosecution. The absence of a previous conviction history is the most important factor to take into account. It's possible that prosecutors in Florida will be harsh. They are relentless in their pursuit of justice in order to safeguard society and punish criminals. However, there is a strong interest in assisting in the preservation of a person's criminal history whenever it is practicable to do so, and this interest is particularly strong when it seems that the accused will not become a repeat offender in the near future.
In the state of Florida, it is up to the court to determine what kind of punishment is warranted, even if the prosecutor has the right to file charges. Even if the prosecution did not agree to withdraw the charges during the review phase, the judge still had the ability to determine the appropriate sentence for a first-time offender. A court has the authority to require the accused person to participate in and successfully complete a pretrial diversion program. Participation in the pretrial diversion program requires that the accused person go to courses, make appointments with a probation officer, carry out community service, and refrain from getting into any further legal issues. If the accused is able to satisfy all of these criteria as well as any additional ones that the court may set, then the case against them will be dropped by the court. The accused person has the option of going back to court and asking for the case to be erased or sealed so that there is no record of what happened.
In the event that the defendant is not eligible for pretrial diversion, the next-best plea bargain would be to withhold adjudication. In this particular case, the judge decides not to enter a conviction. Instead, the court sentences the criminal to a period of probation and delays making a judgment or adjudication of guilt for a certain amount of time. If the defendant is able to fulfill all of the requirements established by the judge, the case will be dismissed without a finding of guilt being entered by the court. Nevertheless, if any of the conditions of probation are broken, the court may be forced to retract its pledge to delay adjudication and instead issue a finding of guilt. At such time, the court has the option of re-sentencing the criminal.
When facing criminal charges, it may be in your best interest to negotiate the most favorable plea deal you can. The fact that some of the prosecutors are refusing to compromise means that the case may have to go to trial. During the proceeding, the burden of evidence is on the government. The prosecution is the one who is compelled to submit evidence, whereas the defense is not required under the constitution to offer any evidence at all. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney will fiercely cross-question the government's witnesses and carefully review the evidence in order to demonstrate the flaws in the state's case and convince the jury to exonerate the accused person.