Trial-Tested Attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida Defend Clients Accused of Theft
If you’ve been arrested for committing a theft, pawning a stolen item, dealing in stolen property, or falsely claiming ownership of a pawned item, you need the immediate assistance and representation of an experienced, aggressive defense lawyer. The law office of Shafer Law, P.A. understands theft cases and will work aggressively for you.
What is larceny?
Larceny is the legal term for a nonviolent theft that involves the wrongful taking and carrying away of someone else’s personal property with the intention of denying possession to the owner. Larceny specifically relates to physical property that a person can pick up and move, so it does not cover the misappropriation of ideas, services, or real property. Larceny accounted for the third highest number of arrests in Jacksonville in 2016.
Theft crimes vary widely and carry an array of serious punishments, depending on the circumstances of your individual case. Punishments are more severe when the theft is accomplished through burglary or robbery.
Forcing the authorities to prove every element of a theft crime
The Florida Statutes § 812.014 defines theft as knowingly obtaining the property of another to deprive the owner of the property or to appropriate the property as his own. That compels the prosecution to prove several elements of the crime:
- Knowingly — The defendant must have been aware that he is stealing.
- Obtaining — The defendant must take control of the property. This can include hiding the property from the owner.
- Property of another — A person cannot be accused of stealing something that belongs to him, or an item that has been abandoned.
- Intent to deprive the owner or appropriate as his own — A person who takes something that doesn’t belong to him is not stealing unless he intends to prevent the owner from having possession. This is the point of the law that distinguishes the serious crime of car theft from a less-serious offense, joy riding.
A prosecutor cannot get a conviction for a theft crime without proving all of these elements. We endeavor to present your case in a light that casts reasonable doubt on one or more of these elements.
Common theft crimes and penalties in Jacksonville, Florida
Common larceny/theft charges that we defend include:
- 812.014 Petit theft — Stealing any property less than $300 in value.
- 812.014 Grand theft — Stealing any property worth $300 or more.
- 812.015 Shoplifting — Also known as retail theft, this offense can be charged as petit theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the merchandise.
- 812.133 Carjacking — As distinct from theft of an unoccupied car, carjacking adds an element of violence, because the theft is accomplished through “force or fear.” This makes the offense a first-degree felony.
Penalties for theft/larceny depend on the value of the property taken. Our lawyers regularly defend clients accused of:
- Petit theft in the second degree — Stealing an item worth less than $100 is second-degree petit theft, a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.
- Petit theft in the first degree — Stealing property valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, is petit theft of the first degree, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000.00 fine.
- Grand theft in the third degree — Generally property has to be worth more than $300, but there are numerous exceptions. For example, if the property stolen is valued between $100 $300, but is taken from a dwelling or from the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling, it is nevertheless a felony of the third degree. So, theft of a child’s bicycle from the sidewalk would be petit theft in the third degree, but taking the same item from a fenced in lawn would be a felony. The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Grand theft in the second degree — If property is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offense is a second-degree felony. However, the theft of emergency medical equipment or law enforcement equipment worth more than $300 might also be charged as second-degree grand theft. Defendants face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Grand theft in the first degree — Usually, the property must be valued at $100,000 or more, but there are exceptions. Hijacked cargo valued at $50,000 amounts to first-degree grand theft, as does any grand theft in which the offender uses a motor vehicle to commit the crime or causes property damage of more than $1,000. Upon conviction, the offense is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Because Florida theft crime law turns on so many intricate facts, defendants often face more serious charges than they could have imagined. When that happens, it’s important to retain the best criminal defense counsel you can find.
You deserve a high-quality defense
Each criminal law case is different. Our attorneys defend first-time offenders as well as alleged repeat offenders throughout the greater Jacksonville area. A theft conviction could have long-lasting consequences. A shoplifting conviction or theft crime on your record can cause problems for employment or your credit. In many cases, even though a client is “factually” guilty, we can prevent the client from being found “legally” guilty, and erase the arrest from the client’s record.
Call our experienced Jacksonville defense attorneys for a free initial consultation on your theft charges
Shafer Law, P.A. has helped thousands of clients accused of theft, and our seasoned legal staff is prepared to provide you with a strong defense of your charges. Call us today at 904-450-5872 or contact us online to set up your free consultation. Our office is conveniently located on North Pearl Street, directly across from the Duval County Courthouse.