Grand theft is a serious crime in the State of Florida, and it can land a defendant behind bars for a decade or more. It can also result in heavy fines, restitution to the victim, and years of probation or parole. Simply the status of being a “convicted felon” following a verdict or a guilty plea in a grand theft case can adversely affect a defendant for the rest of their life. If you are facing a grand theft charge, you should consult a theft crime lawyer without delay. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg and Clearwater grand theft lawyer Will Hanlon has stood alongside the criminally accused for more than two decades. He knows what you are going through – the questions that you have, the fear of the unknown, and the uncertainty that troubles you as you await adjudication. Together with Attorney Hanlon, you can explore your legal options with the goal of protecting your future to the fullest extent possible.
Florida law classifies theft crimes in several ways, including the value of the property that was allegedly taken from the victim. Petty theft covers property valued under $300, while grand theft refers to property worth more than $300. There are also several degrees of grand theft, beginning with grand theft – third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Grand theft – second degree can result in 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while grand theft – first degree can land the defendant in prison for up to 30 years and result in a $10,000 fine. A grand theft attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg can explain the specific consequences that you may be facing, based on the details of your situation.Possible Defenses to the Crime of Grand Theft
As in any criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State of Florida to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires the State to introduce legally obtained, admissible evidence of each and every element of the crime at hand. For example, the crime of grand theft requires the prosecution to prove specific intent as one of the elements of the offense. This means that the State must show that the defendant took someone else’s property with the specific intent of depriving the owner of their right to the property.
One way that a defendant can defeat the State’s case is to show that one or more of the elements of the crime has not been proven. For example, if the defendant had a good-faith belief that they owned the property in question, this may negate the element of intent. The defendant may also be able to prove that they acted out of necessity or duress or that they believed that the property’s owner or possessor had consented to the defendant’s use of the property. Additionally, there may be defenses available to the defendant under the Constitution, such as a violation of the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures or the right to refrain from self-incrimination. Typically, a motion is necessary to ask the court to exclude illegally obtained evidence under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.Hire a Knowledgeable Grand Theft Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
Having a qualified, results-oriented criminal lawyer beside you as you fight charges of grand theft can make all of the difference. At Hanlon Law, we can put our many years of experience and our hard-earned knowledge of the Florida court system to work in defending your case. Call us at 727.897.5413 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a St. Petersburg or Clearwater grand theft attorney. We also represent people facing charges of petty theft and other theft crimes in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, and Dade City. The sooner that you call, the sooner that we can begin working on an effective plan to defend the charges pending against you.