Facing a criminal charge for theft can be very unsettling, but having an experienced criminal defense attorney beside you at each stage of the case can help in many ways. Understanding the different kinds of theft crimes, the possible punishments for the crime with which you are charged, and defenses that may be available in your particular case can alleviate some of the uncertainty about the legal process. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg and Clearwater theft crime lawyer Will Hanlon can help you investigate your case and formulate a strategy tailored to your situation. Whether you need a burglary attorney or assistance with another theft charge, he knows what it takes to protect your rights.
There are several different theft crimes (such as petit theft, grand theft, burglary, robbery, and shoplifting) under Florida law, but essentially the crime of theft is defined as the taking of another party’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner or lawful possessor of it. As this indicates, knowledge or intent is usually an element of the crime of theft, so a defendant’s lack of knowledge that they were in possession of the victim’s property or lack of intent to take it is a possible defense. Typically, the punishment for the crime of theft becomes more severe as the value of the stolen property increases. Using a weapon in the commission of a theft crime can also result in a longer sentence or a heavier fine.Possible Punishments for Theft Crimes in Florida
A theft crime may be a misdemeanor, which is punishable by less than a year in the county jail, or it may be a felony, resulting in more than a year in state prison. “Petit theft” is defined as the wrongful taking of property worth less than $300. Petit theft is a misdemeanor offense that can result in incarceration of between 60 days and 11 months, 29 days in jail; the offender also faces a fine of between $500 and $1,000. With the taking of property worth more than $300, the defendant faces prosecution for grand theft. Again, the punishment varies depending upon the value of the property taken, but it should be noted that first-degree grand theft is punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, as well as other penalties. Thus, it is critical to retain a theft crime attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg as soon as you are aware that you may be facing charges.
People who are convicted of theft crimes face other repercussions in addition to possible jail time and fines. Defendants who are convicted of felony theft may lose certain civil rights, like the right to possess a firearm or vote. People who lack full U.S. citizenship may be unable to obtain a green card or may even be deported. A defendant may lose their driver’s license or professional license, and they may face difficulties finding employment with a criminal record for theft. Since so much is at stake, it is vitally important that a person accused of a theft crime talk to a lawyer experienced in handling these cases in Florida courts so that they can determine whether a viable defense or an alternative penalty may be available in your particular case. It may be that police violated search and seizure laws or acted in a way that could be considered entrapment. If so, there may be a chance of beating the charge against you. If not, you may be able to negotiate a favorable deal that will minimize the punishment and give you a fair second chance.Seek the Representation of a Theft Crime Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
Quality legal representation is vital if you are facing a serious theft charge. Even if you qualify for a public defender, keep in mind that it is difficult to impossible for such an attorney to give each case the attention that it deserves. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case with a dedicated St. Petersburg and Clearwater theft crime attorney who can look out for your future, call Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. Attorney Will Hanlon also handles grand theft charges and other theft cases in Newport Richey, Dade City, and the surrounding areas.