When examined from a legal perspective, theft is described as any form of property crime that includes the unauthorized taking of another individual’s property. If a person is caught for stealing, their prosecutor must be able to prove that the individual took the property of another without their permission and they intended to deprive the owner of the possession, either temporarily or permanently.
The consequences of theft vary depending on how serious the case was and whether one’s actions come under grand theft or petit theft. There are different degrees of theft, each of which has a different legal consequence. The more a person stole and the more unexplainable their scenario, the worse their penalties will be.
In Florida, a person can be charged with the following:
- First Degree Grand Theft
- Second Degree Grand Theft
- Third Degree Grand Theft
- First Degree Petty Theft
- Second Degree Petty Theft
A person will be charged with First Degree Grand Theft if they steal property of 100,000 or more and they will face a maximum penalty of up to $10,000 and 30 years in prison. If they steal property valued at between $20,000 and $99,999 then their jail time will not be as much, and they will face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A charge of Third-Degree Grand Theft decreases the fines by half, a person will have to pay a maximum of $5000 in fines and they can also face up to 5 years in jail.
Petty theft is much less serious and anyone who faces this charge can face anywhere from 60 days to 1 year in jail with corresponding fees. If a person is caught and arrested for stealing any amount of money or any property, they will have to face the legal penalties.
What should I do if I am charged with theft?
The first step a person should take after getting arrested is to get a criminal defense lawyer to help them defend themselves in court. An attorney who is familiar with the law can guide a person according to their situation and help them have their penalties decreased.
The more evidence a person has so they can prove they were not guilty of the crime or there was some sort of misunderstanding during the arrest, the more chances a person has of being charged with a lesser degree of theft. Once a person is charged with theft, they will also have a criminal record, and this can make getting jobs in certain fields and other future legal matters a lot more complicated than they have to be. A person should try their best to have their charges removed by consulting with a legal professional first.