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Gainesville Theft Crime Attorney

Theft is a blanket term that may refer to a number of different property crimes, but the concept revolves around the unlawful taking of another’s property. A criminal prosecutor must establish intent to secure a conviction for any type of theft. This means proving the defendant intended to use or obtain another person’s property without permission. The penalties for theft depend on the amount or type of property stolen and the manner in which the offender stole it. The different types of theft and their penalties in Florida include:

  • Second-degree petty theft, or theft under $100. This offense will involve up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • First-degree petty theft, or theft of $100 to $299 worth of property. This offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Anyone convicted of any theft crime twice has the conviction upgraded to a third-degree felony.
  • Third-degree grand theft, or theft of $300 to $19,999 worth of property, including vehicles, commercially farmed animals, a fire extinguisher, or other specific items. Third-degree grand theft carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree grand theft, or theft of $20,000 to $99,999 worth of property. This offense results in punishment of up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • First-degree grand theft, or theft over $100,000. This offense is punishable with up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Defending Against Theft Charges

Defenses against theft charges in Florida usually include involuntary intoxication, such as unknowingly consuming a drug that causes lapses in judgment or consciousness, a good faith belief of ownership, or owner consent. If a person charged with theft can prove he or she had good reason to believe the property in question was his or her rightful property, then a theft charge may turn out to be a simple misunderstanding. If the charged individual can prove the owner provided consent to use the property in question, this may also work as a viable defense.

Entrapment is another possible defense, but Florida has strict statutes in place regarding entrapment. A charged individual must be able to prove a law enforcement officer coerced the defendant’s participation in a crime when he or she otherwise would not have done so. If you or a loved one has encountered any type of entrapment situation or simply need help managing theft charges from the state, the right attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

Finding the Right Lawyer

The court will provide you with a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney on your own or do not wish to incur the expense. However, hiring a private criminal defense attorney will likely yield better legal representation than a public defender can offer. Their experience may save you fees in the long term. While most public defenders are skilled, they tend to manage several cases at once and may not be able to provide the same level of rapport as a private firm.

At Fischer Redavid PLLC in Gainesville, Florida, we take a people-first approach to legal counsel. We get to know our clients and their cases inside and out to provide the most comprehensive defense possible. Our attorneys understand Florida’s laws and know how to help our clients plea down for lesser charges and avoid jail time when possible. If you or a loved one faces a theft charge in Gainesville, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. If we review your case and find it has merit, we will let you know how our firm can help.