Florida Theft Laws May Turn Many Petty Offenses into Felonies
Most state laws divide theft crimes into petty theft and grand theft. Typically, petty theft is a misdemeanor, and grand theft is a felony. These divisions are based upon the value of the stolen goods. In practice, this carries serious implications for a defendant who faces the consequences of a felony (including the loss of civil rights, longer prison terms, and higher fines) instead of a misdemeanor. It is therefore important to seek the advice of an experienced Miami theft attorney when facing charges for any theft offense. Even if charges are initially filed as misdemeanors for petty theft, a prosecutor can later add or amend charges to upgrade the offense to grand theft.
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. has defended theft charges in state and federal courts throughout Florida. He can help protect you from wrongful convictions based upon illegal evidence or confessions. He can identify the best legal strategy for a timely and fair resolution to your case. When appropriate, he can even ask the court to dismiss improper charges altogether. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible.
Florida’s Low Threshold for Petty Theft
Every state sets its own threshold for grand v. petty theft. Florida has one of the lowest designations of all state laws. Theft of just $300 worth of goods, services, or cash can get a person charged with grand theft, and face the consequences of having a felony conviction on his or her record. According to the Tampa Bay Times, most states do not charge theft as a felony until the value of goods stolen is around $1000 or $1500. Texas has set the threshold as high as $2500.
Being charged with a felony is not just a matter of paying higher fines or spending more time in jail. The Times spoke with the mother of an 18-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who picked up an unattended iPhone off the counter at a McDonald’s. Because the phone is valued at more than $300, he was charged with a felony. As a result, the family faced eviction from their low-income housing, and the young man would have been required to report a felony on his employment applications for the rest of his life. The young man’s autism prevented him from fully understanding the mind-boggling range of consequences from his simple decisions to pick a phone up from a counter. With the help of a criminal attorney, the mother was able to successfully reduce the charges to a misdemeanor.
Mobile phones have become a popular source of theft in recent years. Because they are lightweight, portable, easy to conceal, and carried by almost anyone you encounter in public, they are an especially easy target. But they are also a common source of serious felony charges. Very few phones currently on the market are valued under $300. It is important to understand the long-term consequences of every act of theft.
The Right Miami Defense Attorney for Any Theft Charge
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights throughout the criminal case process. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as you become aware of a law enforcement investigation or criminal charges against you. You can also send us an email through our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
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