Florida property crimes all fall under the umbrella of theft offenses. Under the Florida criminal statute, theft is defined as the unauthorized taking or use of another person’s property, with the intent of depriving that person of the property on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Embezzlement is one type of theft offense under Florida law. If you have been charged with embezzlement in the State of Florida, you need skilled and knowledgeable legal representation on your side throughout your entire case.
Burden of Proof in a Florida Theft Case
In an embezzlement case, the prosecution has the burden of proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ In order for the prosecution to prove its case, it must show that the defendant intentionally spent, used, or took certain property that was entrusted to him or her by an employer, and that the defendant did so without the employer’s permission or consent.
The type of theft crime that a defendant is charged with usually depends upon one or both of the following factors:
- The value of the property which the defendant took or misappropriated
- The amount or quantity of the property which the defendant took or misappropriated
Petit theft is the least serious theft crime in Florida, while misappropriated property valued at over $100,000.00 may result in a charge of grand theft in the first degree.
Defenses to an Embezzlement Charge
If a criminal defendant is charged with embezzlement, he or she may be able to raise one or more legal defenses to the embezzlement charge. Those defenses may include the following:
- Defendant holds a good faith belief that he or she is entitled to possess the subject property (or that he or she, in fact, owns the subject property)
- Employer consents to the defendant’s use or possession of the subject property
- Employer or supervisor entrusts the subject property to the defendant
Contact a St. Petersburg, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with embezzlement or another theft crime in the State of Florida, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer, please call us or contact us online.