Florida Theft Crimes
The Sun Sentinel recently reported efforts by area law enforcement officers to identify and locate suspects allegedly involved in a crime called distraction theft. According to the article, two incidents occurred within the past week. The first involved an 88-year-old man who answered the door to his home. A man informed him that there was a water leak in his yard and convinced him to walk outside for further investigation. When he re-entered his home, he allegedly found another man rummaging through his belongings. The suspect ran from the house and got away in a truck with the other accomplice. The article reports that they got away with approximately $2,000 in jewelry.
The second incident reportedly involved a 75-year-old man, who also answered a knock on his door. A young man allegedly informed him that there was a spider infestation and attempted to get him out of the house. Suspicious of the activity, the elderly gentleman called the police after seeing the suspect leave in a truck with another party.
Types of Florida Theft Charges
The Florida statute includes a variety of theft charges. The seriousness of the charges, as well as the punishment, vary based on the elements and details of the individual crime.
- Petit theft is the unlawful taking of property valued at less than $300.
○ For values less than $100, the relevant charge is petit theft in the second degree. The possible sentence is up to six months in jail and/ or a fine up to $500.
○ For values between $100 and $300, the relevant charge is petit theft in the first degree. The possible sentence is up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1000.
- Petit theft can also result in suspension of driving privileges.
- Grand theft is the unlawful taking of property valued at more than $300.
○ Property values between $300 and $20,000 result in a charge of grand theft in the third degree. This charge also kicks in when the stolen item is a motor vehicle or firearm. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and/ or $5,000 in fines.
○ Property values between $20,000 and $100,000 result in a charge of grand theft in the second degree. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
○ Property values higher than $100,000 result in a charge of grand theft in the first degree. This charge carries a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years. There is also a possible fine up to $10,000.
There are a number of possible defenses that an experienced lawyer can make in a theft crime matter. The prosecution must prove intention to deprive and a lack entitlement to the property. To counter these arguments, an lawyer may argue that the defendant took possession in good faith or that the victim voluntarily abandoned the property. When made properly to the court, these defenses can mean the difference between an innocent verdict and a lengthy jail sentence.
If you or a loved one is facing theft charges, criminal defense attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.