Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney for Theft Charges
Theft charges carry a wide range of collateral consequences. Many defendants charged with theft do not fully understand the scope of these consequences, and this is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Miami theft lawyer about any possible theft charges. It may be possible to have the court dismiss charges that are unsupported by the evidence. Improper evidence can be excluded from trial. And of course, it is critical to consult with your own criminal defense attorney before even considering any plea deal offered by a prosecutor.
The experienced Miami criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. has defended many different types of theft charges in criminal courts across Florida. He knows how to protect defendants’ constitutional rights at every stage of the investigation and formal court proceedings. Call (305) 615-1285 today to schedule your free phone consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner, the better protected your legal rights will be.
What is Theft?
According to Section 812.014 of the Florida Statutes, theft occurs if a person: (1) knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another (2) with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. This definition lends itself to many definitions of theft. The two key elements are that the defendant knew the property was not his or hers and intended to deprive the rightful owner or his or her property rights.
For purposes of classification and sentencing, theft is divided into grand theft and petit theft. Grand theft involves larger values of goods or money, and thus exposes the defendant to more severe sentencing. Petit theft (sometimes called petty theft) involves the taking of items of lesser value. Section 812.014 defines petit theft as applying to property valued under $300, and grand theft involving property valued at $300 or more. However, there are also other specified goods that constitute grand theft due to their inherent value – not their monetary value. These include testamentary instruments (such as wills and codicils), firearms, motor vehicles, commercially farmed animals, fire extinguishers, citrus fruit over 2,000 individual pieces, construction site signs, stop signs, anhydrous ammonia, and other controlled substances. The Statute divides petit theft into first and second-degree misdemeanors (or a third-degree felony if the defendant has had two or more previous convictions of any theft). Grand theft is classified into first, second, and third degree felonies depending on the circumstance of the crime.
The Collateral Consequences of a Theft Conviction
Any theft conviction – even a simple shoplifting charge or another misdemeanor – carries collateral consequences that can follow a defendant for the rest of his or her life. Education and housing opportunities may be limited to a person with a theft conviction. Potential employers are, of course, eager to know if any of their employees have criminal histories. Professional licensure may be harder to obtain with a criminal record.
Any time a person testifies in court, his or her reputation for truth and honesty may be subject to cross-examination by the other side. This means that a theft conviction could be used to discredit testimony offered in a civil case, another criminal case, or even a family law case. Imagine testifying in a child custody case – only to have the other parent’s attorney imply that you cannot be trusted or should not have custody of your children due to an old theft conviction. These are very real and very devastating consequences. Some of these unpleasant consequences can be mitigated with the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami. By fighting charges, it may be possible to avoid a conviction and maintain a clean criminal record.
The Many Different Types of Theft Crimes
As you can see from the statutory definition of theft, there are many ways to commit the crime. It could be as simple as shoplifting, which encompasses a wide range of behaviors, such as switching tags or the fraudulent use of gift cards. It could be a complex white collar crime involving fraudulent schemes. It could be theft of a truck, motorcycle, or another automobile. It could be converting property that you initially held lawfully (such as an accountant who embezzles company funds she was supposed to deposit). It could be accomplished by identity theft or other types of credit card fraud. It could even be a violent crime such as robbery, or the related crime of burglary (which occurs when the owner is not present to defend his or her property). It could be purse snatching (which may or may not involve violence in the taking of the purse).
With the prevalence of the internet, there are many new ways to commit theft. These schemes have become far more sophisticated than the often mocked “Nigerian prince” emails that were common in the early days of the internet. Now, internet theft often targets especially vulnerable populations. Elderly victims might be told that their grandchildren are in trouble and need money wired to them immediately. Sophisticated hackers comb real estate websites to find properties that are under contract. They then send the buyers false wiring instructions for the purchase of the new home and have money wired directly into their accounts. These types of fraud have resulted in billions of dollars of losses in recent years.
Call Us Today to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Miami Theft Defense Lawyer
Don’t let an unnecessary criminal conviction cause you pain for years to come. Consult with an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney who can protect your legal rights. At Stroleny Law, P.A., we believe that every defendant has the right to a fair investigation and trial. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. To contact us online, please fill out and submit our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Defense Attorney.