Under Florida law, theft is an umbrella term that is used to describe a variety of separate crimes. Theft crimes always involve some sort of property. In Florida, theft crimes include stealing, larceny, conversion, and misappropriation of property. In order to prove that someone committed theft, the prosecution has the burden of proof.
If you have incurred a theft charge in Florida, you should contact the experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group as soon as possible. Our experienced team of lawyers can review your case with you and may be able to help you come up with a good legal defense or work out a good plea deal with the prosecution.
Elements of a Theft Crime
In a Florida theft case, the prosecution meets its burden of proof by satisfying certain legal elements. When it comes to proving any theft charge, the prosecution must be able to show the following:
- That the defendant used or obtained the property of another
- That the defendant did so with full knowledge of what he or she was doing
- The defendant intended to deprive the victim of the property on either a temporary or permanent basis—or that the defendant misappropriated the property for his own (or someone else’s) use
Petit Theft versus Grand Theft
Florida differentiates between petit theft (also known as “petty” theft) and grand theft, depending upon the value of the property that the defendant allegedly stole or misappropriated. This distinction also determines whether or not the State will prosecute the theft crime as a felony or as a misdemeanor.
Petit theft crimes can involve property valued anywhere from below $100 up to $299. In order for the defendant to be convicted of first-degree grand theft, the stolen property must be valued at $100,000 or more. In order to be convicted of second-degree grand theft, the stolen property must be valued at between $20,000 and $99,999.
Finally, a person may be convicted of third-degree grand theft if the stolen property is valued at between $300 and $19,999. A person may also be convicted of third-degree grand theft if the stolen property is a firearm, motor vehicle, farm animal, or fire extinguisher.
Talk to a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a St. Petersburg theft crime, you may be able to assert one or more valid legal defenses. For example, you may be able to allege that the property owner gave you consent to take the property at issue. Alternatively, you may be able to assert a good faith belief that you owned the property—or that you had a lawful right to possess it. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can determine if one or more of these legal defenses are applicable to the facts of your case.
After an arrest, do not wait to call a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.