Theft Crime Lawyer Daytona Beach, FL
Defense for Theft Charges in Volusia County, FL
Theft crimes are a complex and prevalent issue in society, encompassing a range of illegal activities involving the unlawful acquisition of another person's property. In Daytona Beach, Florida, addressing theft charges requires a nuanced understanding of the legal framework, including Florida Statute 812.014, the different types of theft crimes, penalties, distinctions between petit and grand theft, and potential defense strategies. Hager & Schwartz, P.A. is a reputable law firm with extensive experience in providing effective theft crime defense in Daytona Beach, offering invaluable insights and strategic approaches to navigate the legal challenges associated with theft charges.
We understand the fear and anxiety a defendant feels when faced with the criminal justice system. Serious ramifications can result from a conviction because your freedom is on the line. We want to protect your freedom. Having a theft conviction on your record can mean harsh, long-term consequences. It can prevent you from getting a job in many industries and can even prevent you from obtaining professional licensure.
Our experienced Daytona Beach theft crimes attorneys have successfully defended clients charged with various theft crimes in Volusia County and Daytona Beach. While previous victories do not guarantee future results, we will develop a criminal defense strategy, uncompromising in nature, to protect your constitutional rights, including search and seizure issues, Miranda issues, and evidentiary matters. Our team will be professional and respectful as we aggressively work toward your goals, seeking an ideal outcome.
Florida Statute 812.014: Defining Theft Crimes
Florida Statute 812.014 serves as the foundation for defining theft crimes in the state. Under this statute, theft is broadly characterized as the act of knowingly obtaining or using another person's property with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of their property.
The statute encompasses a wide range of theft offenses, from shoplifting and burglary to embezzlement and fraud. To establish a theft crime, the prosecution must demonstrate the offender's intent to deprive the rightful owner of their property and that the offender took unauthorized control over the property.
Common Types of Theft Crimes
Theft crimes manifest in various forms, each with distinct characteristics and elements. Our Daytona Beach theft crimes attorneys at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. defend individuals charged with theft offenses throughout Volusia County, including Deltona and Daytona Beach.
Cases our Daytona Beach theft crimes lawyers take on include:
- Shoplifting: The act of stealing merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it. Shoplifting can occur through concealing items, altering price tags, or swapping containers. Depending on the value of the item stolen, the crime can be pursued under Florida's grand theft or petty theft laws.
- Burglary: Entering a structure, dwelling, or conveyance with the intent to commit a theft, assault, or another criminal offense. Burglary involves unauthorized entry, and the intended crime does not necessarily need to be carried out for a burglary charge to apply.
- Robbery: Unlike theft, robbery involves the use of force, threat, or intimidation to take another person's property. It is a more serious offense and often results in heightened penalties.
- Embezzlement: Typically associated with white-collar crimes, embezzlement occurs when someone misappropriates funds or property entrusted to them by an employer or entity, for personal gain.
- Grand Theft Auto: Stealing a motor vehicle, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, or boats, without the owner's consent. It is pursued under Florida's third-degree grand theft law.
- Insurance fraud: This offense occurs when a person knowingly presents or makes a false statement or conceals information to defraud or deceive an insurer.
- Credit card fraud: This offense involves using a credit card without consent or with the knowledge that it is forged to obtain goods, services, or anything of value.
- Mortgage fraud: This offense occurs when a person knowingly makes a misrepresentation or omission during any part of the lending process.
- Grand theft: This offense is committed when a person unlawfully takes property valued at $750 or more. If the item was taken from a dwelling, the value of the property would only have to be valued at $100 for the crime to be grand theft.
- Petty theft: This offense is committed when a person unlawfully takes property valued at less than $750.
Some theft offenses fall under the category of white collar crimes. Generally, white collar crimes are committed in a corporate setting. They typically involve such schemes as insurance fraud, embezzlement, credit card theft, or identity theft.
Penalties for Theft in Florida
The penalties for theft crimes in Florida vary based on factors such as the value of the stolen property, the type of property, the presence of aggravating circumstances, and the defendant's criminal history. Florida classifies theft offenses into two main categories: petit theft and grand theft.
Petit Theft Penalties in FL
Petit theft involves the theft of property with a value less than a certain threshold, typically $750 or less. It is further divided into two degrees:
- First-Degree Petit Theft: Involves theft of property valued at $100 to $750. This offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year in jail and fines.
- Second-Degree Petit Theft: Involves theft of property valued at less than $100. This is a second-degree misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to 60 days in jail and fines.
Grand Theft Penalties in FL
Grand theft pertains to theft of property exceeding the value of $750 and is classified into three degrees:
- Third-Degree Grand Theft: Involves property valued between $750 and $20,000, certain types of property regardless of value (like firearms or motor vehicles), and agricultural products worth $300 or more. Penalties include up to 5 years in prison and fines.
- Second-Degree Grand Theft: Involves property valued between $20,000 and $100,000. Conviction can lead to up to 15 years in prison and fines.
- First-Degree Grand Theft: Involves property valued at more than $100,000 or property valued at $50,000 or more and combined with certain circumstances, such as using a motor vehicle to facilitate the theft. Penalties include up to 30 years in prison and substantial fines.
Other Theft Crimes
Some of the potential conviction penalties for other common theft crimes include:
- Burglary of an unoccupied structure or conveyance (when the offense doesn't involve assault or a deadly weapon):
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Robbery (committed without a firearm or deadly weapon):
- Up to 15 years in prison and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Defenses to Theft Charges in Florida
Navigating theft charges in Daytona Beach requires effective legal defense strategies to safeguard an individual's rights and reputation. Hager & Schwartz, P.A. employs a variety of defense approaches tailored to the specifics of each case:
- Lack of Intent: A fundamental element of theft charges is proving the defendant's intent to deprive the owner of their property. An effective defense may involve demonstrating that the defendant had no intention of permanently taking the property.
- Mistaken Identity: In cases where the prosecution's evidence is based on eyewitness testimony, mistaken identity can be a compelling defense. This involves presenting evidence that the defendant was not the person who committed the theft.
- Consent: If the owner of the property provided consent to the defendant to take or use the property, it can serve as a defense against theft charges.
- Property Belonging to Defendant: If the defendant can prove that they had a legitimate claim to the property or believed it was rightfully theirs, it can mitigate the theft charges.
- Duress or Necessity: In some cases, the defendant may have committed the theft under duress or out of necessity to prevent greater harm. This can be a valid defense depending on the circumstances.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If the evidence against the defendant was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, it may be possible to have that evidence suppressed, weakening the prosecution's case.
- Chain of Custody Issues: Challenging the proper handling and storage of evidence can cast doubt on the validity of the evidence presented against the defendant.
Delivering the Defense You Need to Fight Your Theft Charge
Our Daytona Beach theft crimes attorneys are prepared to stand up for you throughout your case. We have decades of combined experience, including time served as former prosecutors. At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we will use our unique insights to build an aggressive defense for your case.
I thoroughly recommend Brett Schwartz as a defense attorney.
“I thoroughly recommend Brett Schwartz as a defense attorney. He worked tirelessly and relentlessly to get my case dropped even before it went to trial. He succeeded, although the odds were heavily stacked against us.”
Should you ever need a defense attorney, he is the person to contact.
“I was referred to Brett Schwartz by a friend facing very serious charges. He was very understanding and also very honest, walked us through the process of what could happen from beginning to end best case scenario and of course worst case scenario.”
If you need help go see Brett!
“We worked with Brett on a domestic violence charge. He was the third lawyer we went to and we FINALLY got the result we desired. His knowledge of the law, the system and straightforwardness are beyond impressive.”