Committed Miami Theft Defense Lawyer
What is theft?
In Florida, a person commits theft when he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the other person of a right to property or a benefit from property, or appropriates the property to his or her own use without permission or entitlement.
- Is stealing a gun a felony in Florida?
- What is the difference between theft and burglary?
- What is the difference between theft and robbery?
Petit Theft, Retail Theft, & Shoplifting
Petit theft is theft of property valued at either less than $100 (a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail) or $100 or more, but less than $300 (a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a maximum of 364 days in jail). However, if, no matter the value, the theft occurred in a dwelling or curtilage of same, it is a third-degree felony. The same is true if someone has a certain amount of prior convictions. Commonly, these petit theft crimes occur in stores and are referred to as retail theft or shoplifting.
More often than not, these investigations begin with store employees called loss prevention officers, or LPO. These are paid civilians that dress like regular shoppers but whose sole purpose is to snoop around the store and watch people carefully. Some LPO’s sit in back rooms monitoring the surveillance cameras or CCTV.
Grand theft is the theft of property valued at $300 or more. This is a felony charge, although the degree of which is dependent on many factors, including value (e.g. $300 – $20,000 is a third-degree felony while $20,000+ – $100,000 is a second-degree felony). Also, sometimes the type of property matters. For example, stealing a firearm, fire extinguisher, or stop sign are all third-degree felonies no matter the value of the property. There are other factors to be taken into consideration as well, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help navigate you through the appropriate charges.
Burglary (Not What You Think It Is)
Many people mistakenly believe that burglary is the act of stealing property. While that may be technically true, it’s not entirely accurate. Burglary in Florida is defined as the entering or remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises were open to the public at the time or the person was invited in.
The use of the terms “intent to” and “an offense” are important. Intent to means that one only intends to commit an offense, but not actually complete it. An offense means that any criminal offense, not only theft, may qualify. Therefore, a burglar need not be someone breaking into a home and stealing valuables; he or she could also be charged for breaking into your home and intending to steal valuables, but ultimately change his or her mind, or someone who goes into a home and defaces it. With such a wide array of potential acts leading to a charge of burglary, it’s easy to see the value of having an experienced criminal defense attorney handling your case.
A robbery is the taking of money or property from another person with intent of either permanently or temporarily depriving that person of it, while using force, violence, assault, or putting him or her in fear. Robbery is ordinarily charged as a second-degree felony, but if, in the course of committing the robbery, a person carried a firearm, weapon, or other deadly weapon, it may be charged as a first-degree felony. This is usually what people refer to as Strong Arm Robbery. These are very serious charges and need to be dealt with as soon as possible.