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West Palm Beach Theft Attorney Josh LeRoy on:

Theft & Related Charges

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An experienced West Palm Beach Theft Attorney can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your final sentence – life-changing differences. A few of the most common charges that fall into the theft category are detailed below.

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Before hiring a West Palm Beach Shoplifting Attorney, what should I know about Petty Theft of Value Less Than $300: F.S. 812.014?

SHoplifting charges are one of the most common forms of theft. Petite theft (value less than $300) is taking property from another, even temporarily, to deprive the owner of the property or to use the property for oneself.

The fair market value of the property taken is the determining factor in the degree of the charge. “Fair Market Value” means the current cost of replacing the item. The theft of property valued at less than $100.00 is a second-degree misdemeanor. The theft of property valued between $100.00 and $300.00 is a first-degree misdemeanor, whereas if the property stolen is valued at over $300.00, the crime is a felony.

However, sometimes, a felony can be charged regardless of the value of the property, i.e., stealing a fire extinguisher,

Before hiring a West Palm Beach Shoplifting Attorney, what should I know about Petty Theft of Value Less Than $300: F.S. 812.014?
Petty Theft – Shoplifting – Theft (Value Less Than $300) – F.S. 812.014

car, from a construction site or a stop sign can result in felony charges. Not to mention that theft is also a crime whose punishment is enhanced with each subsequent conviction. That means that if you have two prior theft convictions, a third theft charge, regardless of the value or nature of the item stolen, can be a felony.

Beyond the criminal arena, having a theft conviction can and will likely affect your career. Few, if any, businesses are eager to hire people with a criminal history of stealing.

How do you determine the value of the stolen item?

Much like in grand theft, the property is valued at market value when the alleged theft occurs, regardless of how much was paid for it when purchased.

What is the punishment for petty theft in Palm Beach County?

Any stolen property worth $100 or less is considered 2nd-degree petty theft and is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by less than sixty days in jail and less than a $500 fine.

Property worth $100 to $300 is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of a year in jail and less than a $1,000 fine.

Can I get my driver’s license suspended from a petty theft conviction in Palm Beach County?

Yes, if the State convicts you of petty theft in Florida, you may have your license suspended. The chances of that go up substantially if you have prior theft convictions.

Will my punishment be harsher if I have prior convictions?

More than likely, yes. Prior convictions will increase your offense status.

Before hiring a Grand Theft Attorney, what do I need to know about F.S. 812.014?

It is imperative that you understand all of your legal options before you begin a trial for grand theft because there are so many defenses and various punishments. The convictions and sentences for a grand theft charge largely depend on the value of the objects allegedly stolen.

When the property is worth $100,000 or more, the charge is first-degree grand theft, a first-degree felony, with a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $10K in fines.

Before hiring a Grand Theft Attorney, what do I need to know about F.S. 812.014?
Grand Theft – F.S. 812.014

The charge is second-degree grand theft when the property is worth between $20,000 and $99,999. Second-degree grand theft is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to $10k in fines.

The charge is third-degree grand theft if stolen items are worth between $300 and $19,999, which is a third-degree felony. Third-degree grand theft is also if the stolen property is a firearm, automobile, or other items. The sentence for a third-degree felony is a five-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine.

As mentioned above, there are various defenses to a grand theft charge. It is possible to get the necessary help to maintain your current lifestyle.

Is grand theft always a felony?

Because of the high value of the property allegedly stolen, grand theft is always a felony charge. There are also varying levels of the felony charge, depending on the value, the property stolen, and many other variables.

What defenses would a good West Palm Beach Theft Attorney use for a Grand Theft charge?

The State must demonstrate that you intended to take something that you knew belonged to someone else and had no right to take it. Also, the State must prove that you did not receive consent from the property owner to take or use the property or object. Contact an experienced theft attorney to learn all of your options.

I don’t think the allegedly taken object was worth what the owner said it was. How can a Theft Attorney fight it?

The market value of the item gives the value of the item at the time someone stole it, and the value of the item, when bought, has no impact on the trial. For example, if the item was worth $1,000 when someone purchased it, and at the time of the alleged theft, its market value was $500, then the property is deemed worth $500.

What should I know before hiring a Carjacking Attorney for Carjacking: F.S. 812.133+?

Carjacking charge is a crime of violence. Carjacking is using force, threat, or violence to take a motor vehicle from a person.

Carjacking is a level 7 offense, a first-degree felony. According to the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, the minimum

What should I know before hiring a Carjacking Attorney for Carjacking: F.S. 812.133+?
Carjacking – F.S. 812.133+

sentence you will receive is 21 months in prison if found guilty or convicted, and you have zero (0) priors.

However, because the crime is a first-degree felony, you may be sentenced to up to thirty (30) years in prison or thirty (30) years of probation. Additionally, a fine of up to $10,000 is possible.

Using a firearm or other deadly weapon during a carjacking seriously enhances the possible punishment, pushing the charge to a level 9 offense. According to the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, the minimum sentence you will receive is 48 months in prison if found guilty or convicted, and you have zero (0) priors.

However, because the weapon pushes the crime to a punishable-by-life felony, you may be sentenced to life in prison or lifetime probation. If someone wields a firearm during the commission of a crime, even if it is not used, the 10/20/life rule is applied.

The State requires a mandatory ten (10) year sentence for someone who wields a firearm during the commission of a crime; a mandatory twenty-year sentence if a firearm fires during the commission of a crime; and a mandatory sentence of at least twenty-five (25) years if someone is killed or injured due to the firearm.

There are defenses to a carjacking charge, and the best course of action is to contact a skilled theft attorney knowledgeable in carjacking case law. I have resolved many carjacking cases to lesser offenses, including grand theft auto.

What is False Verification of Ownership: F.S. 538.4?

False verification of ownership charge usually occurs at pawn shops or gold dealers, wherein sellers are required to verify that they are the owners of the property being pawned or sold. Often, someone will pawn stolen items for quick cash. Pawn shops manage to buy and sell stolen property with complete immunity while the State arrests those pawning or selling the items.

What is False Verification of Ownership: F.S. 538.4?
False Verification of Ownership, F.S. 538.4(4)

False Verification of Ownership charges often accompany the charges of dealing in stolen property and grand theft.

So, what are you facing as a possible sentence if charged with verification of ownership in Palm Beach County?

The answer depends on how much the item is worth. If the seller receives less than $300, it’s a 3rd-degree lawful felony, meaning up to five (5) years in jail. On the other hand, if the seller got more than $300.00, the charge is a 2nd-degree felony offense, meaning up to fifteen (15) years in prison.

What evidence does the State Attorney need to prove a “False Verification of Ownership” charge?

Usually, the signed pawn slip is sufficient evidence to support a conviction, assuming that an employee of the pawnshop testifies to the contents of the slip. Above the signature line is the seller’s oath that they own the property and it is theirs. The pawn slip also requires the seller’s fingerprint, usually the thumb. Thus, the State can quickly identify the seller.

What is Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property: F.S. 705.102?

Finders keepers, loser’s weepers? Not according to the Florida Legislature. In the State of Florida, it “…is unlawful for any person who finds any lost or abandoned property to appropriate the same to his or her own use or to refuse to deliver the same when required…” s.705.102(3).

This odd crime probably makes all of us criminals. According to this law, if you find a book, a hubcap, or a piece of used furniture, on the side of the road, something someone abandons, and you pick up the item and take it home, you are a thief, having committed an act that Florida law calls theft.

This likely purpose of the law is to prosecute true thieves who, when apprehended, claim they “found”

What is Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property: F.S. 705.102?
Theft Of Lost or Abandoned Property, F.S. 705.102

the objects that, in fact, they had stolen. But the absurd consequence of adopting such a law is that it criminalizes the ordinary, innocent conduct of acquiring an object that another has abandoned, exemplified in the maxim that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

What are the penalties for theft of lost or abandoned property?

  • Suppose the value of the lost or abandoned property is less than $300. In that case, the crime is petit theft, a misdemeanor, punishable by a term of probation up to a period of incarceration in the county jail.
  • If the value of the lost or abandoned property is worth more than $300, it is considered grand theft. Florida law classifies grand theft as a felony. A defendant convicted of this offense is subject to penalties ranging from probation up to a term of years in state prison. The State determines potential sentences according to the value of the property lost or abandoned

What typical defenses would a good Theft Attorney use for a Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property charge?

If the lost or abandoned object has no value, it is, as a consequence, considered “trash.” And it is impossible to steal trash.

Before hiring a Theft Defense Attorney, what should I know about Theft of State Funds (F.S. 206.56)?

According to Florida law, Theft of State Funds occurs when a person,”… knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, taxes collected pursuant to this chapter, with the intent, either temporarily or permanently, to deprive the State of a right to the funds or a benefit therefrom, or appropriate the funds to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled thereto, commits theft of state funds.”

Before hiring a Theft Defense Attorney, what should I know about Theft of State Funds (F.S. 206.56)?
Theft Of State Funds – F.S. 206.56

Theft of state funds occurs when, without consent, a person intentionally deprives the State of Florida, directly or indirectly, of tax money.

What defenses will a skilled Theft Attorney use for a Theft of State Funds charge?

In Florida, the law requires the government to present legal, unimpeachable proof that the defendant had a genuine intent to unlawfully take money from the State and use such funds for personal reasons. Consequently, the prosecution will fail if the State cannot prove the defendant intended to take such money unlawfully. Similarly, because the law requires personal use of the funds, it is unlikely the government could successfully prosecute someone working in the capacity of an accountant.

What are the penalties for theft of state funds?

  • Theft of less than $300, a first-degree misdemeanor, is punishable by penalties ranging from a term of probation up to one year in the county jail.
  • Theft of $300 to $20,000, a third-degree felony, is punishable by penalties ranging from a term of probation to up to 5 years in state prison.
  • Theft of $20,000-$100,000, a second-degree felony, is punishable by penalties ranging from a term of probation up to 15 years in prison.
  • Theft of more than $100,000, a first-degree felony, is punishable by penalties ranging from a term of probation up to 30 years in jail.

What is a Dealing in Stolen Property charge: F.S. 812.019?

Florida law defines dealing in stolen property as a crime that occurs when “Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen…” or when “any person who initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property…”

What are the penalties for Dealing with stolen property?

What is a Dealing in Stolen Property charge: F.S. 812.019?
Dealing In Stolen Property – F.S. 812.019+
  • As a second-degree felony, dealing in stolen property is punishable by penalties ranging from probation to 15 years in state prison.
  • If the person found guilty also organized the theft and was trafficking the property, Florida law classifies the offense as a first-degree felony, with penalties ranging from a term of probation to up to 30 years in prison.

What common defenses will a theft attorney use for Dealing with Stolen Property?

In past cases, defendants have defeated the State’s charges by showing ignorance the property was stolen, refuting the victim’s claim that he owned the property, and showing a lack of proof that someone indeed stole the property. In addition, if the State obtained its evidence against the defendant in violation of the Constitution, the defendant, through his lawyer, can move the judge to exclude the evidence from the case. When this happens, the State, realizing that it cannot prevail, commonly drops the case, or the judge dismisses the case.

Related Cases

PAWNING STOLEN GOODS

This PAWNING STOLEN GOODS case involved:

  • The Incident: The Client had allegedly pawned a stolen firearm for her boyfriend.
  • The Charges: Dealing in Stolen Property and False Verification of Ownership.
  • My Counsel & Defense: I negotiated an agreement whereby the client completed a theft class.
  • The VERDICT: The Client received 25 hours of community service and was required to reimburse the firearm’s owner for the value of the gun. Deferred prosecution resulting in Nolle Prosse

related laws:
Dealing in Stolen Property
False Verification of Ownership

Petty Theft: COUPLE CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING

This petty theft case involved:

  • The Incident: Husband & Wife were spotted shoplifting and arrested on the spot.
  • The Charges: Retail Theft charges for Husband and Wife.
  • The VERDICT: Clients did a theft class and paid a $50.00 fine. As a result, all charges were dropped. – Deferral Agreement for Nolle Prosse

related laws:
Petty Theft

GRAND LARCENY

  • The Incident: Target was the scene of this crime. The client allegedly walked out of the store with a shopping cart full of items, the value of which was well over the $300.00 line dividing petit theft from grand theft, which is a third-degree felony.
  • The Charges: Grand Theft
  • My Counsel & Defense: When the State refused to negotiate a Reckless Driving charge, the client and I decided to proceed to trial.
  • My Counsel and the VERDICT: While the client was initially arrested for grand theft, The Charges were downfiled to the misdemeanor, petit theft. Once that was accomplished, I negotiated a deferral agreement whereby the client completed a theft class and minimal community service, and the case was dismissed.

Related laws:
Grand Theft

GRAND THEFT & FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM, West Palm Beach, FL.

  • The Incident: I took over this case from another attorney because the client was dissatisfied with the representation he received from the other attorney.
  • The Charges: Grand theft of a firearm. Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
  • My Counsel & Defense: When I was retained, the client was offered a prison sentence (3-year minimum mandatory charge); I drafted and filed a lengthy Motion to Suppress.
  • The VERDICT: The State agreed to drop the firearm charge and sentence the client to probation without further incarceration for the grand theft charge. Firearm charge dropped.

Related laws:
Grand Theft
Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Charged? Call West Palm Beach Theft Attorney Josh LeRoy Because Experience Wins. Can You Afford to Lose?

If you, or someone you know, find yourself in need of a theft attorney in West Palm Beach County (Palm Beach County from Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, and up to Jupiter), or any of the surrounding areas, use the form below to drop me a note.

Tell me about yourself, what’s happened, and when would be a good time to contact you.

-Joshua LeRoy, Esq.

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