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Is Stealing Always a Crime?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

January 15, 2020

Statistics show that prosecutors believe stealing is always a crime. Actually, a theft allegation may fall under criminal law or civil law. Of course, Florida Statutes specify penalties for these unethical and immoral acts. But for your theft case, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to fight your charges with an eye on the differences between civil and criminal theft.

Penalties You Face Under a Theft Charge

Civil theft can lead to penalties of up to three times the damages incurred. But under a criminal charge of theft, you face a much harsher outcome. Criminal theft sentencing includes a possible prison term. How long you face in prison depends on the type and value of the items you stole.

Florida charges for criminal theft include:

  • 3rd-degree felony grand theft for the value of $300 to $20,000
  • 2nd-degree felony grand theft for the value of $20,000 to $100,000
  • 1st-degree felony grand theft for the value of more than $100,000
  • 3rd-degree felony for theft of a firearm
  • 3rd-degree felony for theft of a fire extinguisher
  • Misdemeanor petit theft for some items under $300 in value

How Is Theft Defined Under Florida Law?

Florida Statutes Section 812.014 states that you commit theft if you knowingly obtain or use another party’s property with certain temporary or permanent intent. It defines this intent as:

  • To deprive someone else of property rights or benefit
  • To appropriate the property for your own use or the use of anyone not entitled to that property’s use

There is a history of Florida cases where prosecutors blurred the lines between civil and criminal theft. Without an experienced and aggressive attorney who understands where these lines exist and how to challenge a prosecutor in your defense, you can find yourself behind bars for a long period of time.

You Need the Right Criminal Defense for Your Theft Charges

Florida attorneys of Hager & Schwartz, P.A. bring invaluable experience as prosecutors to your criminal defense. They know how prosecutors think and proceed. They also know where the state’s lines exist, between criminal and civil theft. Using this knowledge to your benefit can keep you from spending time in prison, paying hefty fines, and dealing with the lifelong hassles of a criminal conviction.

The skilled attorneys of Hager & Schwartz, P.A. use past experience as prosecutors to aggressively challenge your theft charges. Get the help you need today (386) 693-1637.