Crimes against property, including larceny, larceny by trick, and embezzlement, all fall under the umbrella of theft offenses. In order for the State to convict you of theft, the State must be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt – or beyond a doubt based upon ordinary reason and common sense. In order for a theft conviction to stand, there must have been an unauthorized taking or use of another person’s property. Moreover, there must have been an intent to deprive the other person of that property on either a permanent or temporary basis.

In an embezzlement case, the theft must involve property which the defendant had control over at the time. Consequently, most embezzlement cases occur in the employment context. Crimes of theft and embezzlement are serious, and a conviction or guilty finding could result in fines, incarceration, and other serious penalties. If you have been charged with embezzlement, the criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with you and may be able to help you formulate one or more legal defenses to your charge. A successful legal defense could result in a dismissal of your pending embezzlement charge.

Proving Embezzlement

In order for a defendant to be found guilty or convicted of embezzlement, the State must first be able to show that the defendant’s employer entrusted him or her with property or money that was only to be used for the employer’s purpose. Moreover, the State must be able to show that the defendant intentionally spent, used, or took the employer’s property that was under the defendant’s direct control—and that he or she did so without the employer’s permission or consent.

Not all crimes of embezzlement are the same, and the degree of the charge depends primarily on the value of the property which the defendant took or misappropriated, as well as the amount or quantity of the property at issue. For example, if the value of the property was small, then the defendant may be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if the property was valued at over $100,000, then the defendant could be charged with grand theft in the first degree.

Legal Defenses to Embezzlement

An embezzlement conviction can result in serious penalties, including high fines and jail time. However, the good news is that Florida law provides for several potential legal defenses to an embezzlement charge, including the following:

  • The defendant holds a good faith belief that he or she is entitled to possess the property in question.
  • The defendant holds a good faith belief that he or she owns the subject property.
  • The true property owner agreed to let the defendant have or use the subject property.
  • The property owner entrusted the property to the defendant.

Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation

Embezzlement, like other theft crimes, is a specific intent crime. Therefore, if the intent element is missing from the equation, you may have a solid legal defense to the crime of embezzlement. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida, criminal defense lawyer, please call us at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online today.