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THEFT CRIMES

Theft charges can include:

Theft Offenses and “Crimes of Dishonesty” in Florida

The Florida legislature has enacted varying degrees of theft charges with different maximum penalties. Any theft charge, from misdemeanor shoplifting to a felony grand theft, is considered “a crime of dishonesty.” A conviction for any crime of dishonesty can be used against you when you apply for a job, during a background check, or if you ever testify in a court of law.

Under the Florida Fingerprint Requirement, anyone found guilty of theft (even petit theft or shoplifting) is required to have their fingerprints taken in court. The judge is required to affix a written judgment to the file which then becomes a public record.

Even if you are not convicted, your name can go into a national database used by employers when they conduct background checks. Additionally, prior convictions for theft can increase the sentence if you are caught re-offending. In certain types of cases, any subsequent charges can be enhanced based on a prior conviction.

Protecting Yourself After a Theft Accusation in Florida

False accusations for theft offenses can occur for numerous reasons. If you have been falsely accused of any theft offense, you should act quickly to have an attorney address the issue before a filing decision is made by the State Attorney’s Office.

For instance, in rare cases, a shoplifting charge can result from an accidental taking when the person became distracted. Even in those rare cases in which the law enforcement officer believes that the shopper took the item by mistake, the officer will usually go ahead with making the arrest. An attorney can best present your side of the story to law enforcement, the alleged victim, and the state attorney’s office in an attempt to convince them not to go forward with a prosecution even days after the incident.

In other cases, theft or shoplifting is a symptom of an underlying psychological problem that can best be addressed outside of the criminal justice system. By being proactive in seeking counseling, you may be able to show the court, prosecutor, and alleged victim that you do not deserve a criminal record or a jail sentence. Contact an experienced theft attorney early in your case so that you can discuss ways to address the behavior that led to the criminal accusation.

If you have been arrested for any offense involving theft, contact an experienced theft attorney in Miami, FL, to discuss your case. We represent men and women in theft cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County or Monroe County, Florida. Call us at 305-567-1011 today to discuss your case.

An Overview of Common Examples of Theft Crimes in Florida

· Shoplifting
·
Employee Theft / Embezzlement
·
Penalties for Theft Offenses
·
Resources
·
Finding the Best Attorney for Your Theft Case

Shoplifting under Florida Law

Click here for more information on Shoplifting / Petit Theft / Petit Theft (less than $300). Petit theft crimes for shoplifting are the most commonly prosecuted crimes in the State of Florida.

The criminal offense of shoplifting or retail theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor (“petit theft”) or a felony (“grand theft”). Any theft offense whether a misdemeanor or a felony is considered a “crime of dishonesty” or an impeachable offense. In many of these case, an innocent mistake can turn into a criminal accusation even for a person with no prior criminal record.

The vast majority of our clients charged with petit theft are women who have never been arrested before. In many of these cases, our client is terrified about the impact the prosecution will have on their family or employment opportunities in the future. We are experienced in working with women to defend them against an accusation of shoplifting or petit theft in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, or Monroe County, Florida.

Each county has different diversion programs that may be available for certain “first offender” theft charges. For certain programs, you may be required to admit wrongdoing or give up your right to expunge your criminal record. The retail store may threaten to sue you for civil damages related to the accusation of theft. Having an experienced attorney to guide you through the process is important in any shoplifting or petit theft case in Florida.

Shoplifting or Retail Theft Penalties

The maximum penalty for a retail theft or shoplifting accusation depends on the value of the item taken.

Employee Theft or Embezzlement in Florida

Click here for more information on employee theft or embezzlement charges.

The criminal offense of employee theft or embezzlement is treated harshly under Florida law. Like any theft offense, it is considered a crime of dishonesty. In many of these cases, the employee has worked for the company for years, has no criminal history, and has taken more than $100,000.00. Without the proper representation, prison sentences are common for these types of offenses even if the employee has no other criminal record.

If your employer suspects you of theft, talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any statement to the employer or any law enforcement officer.

We have represented individuals accused of taking from a charity, non-profit organization or business. In some cases, the amount taken has been more than $100,000.00. In these case, the charity, non-profit or business will often hire an attorney to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover restitution under the civil theft statute in either state or federal court. We help our client settle both the civil and criminal part of the case for the best possible terms.

Penalties for Theft Offenses Depend on the Value of the Item Stolen

Florida law provides for different types of punishments depending on the value of the item taken. Click here to read more about grand theft charges.

Grand Theft in the First Degree:

Grand Theft in the Second Degree:

Grand Theft in the Third Degree:

Petit Theft in the First Degree:

Petit Theft in the Second Degree:

Obtaining Property for a Worthless Check

The criminal offense of obtaining property by a worthless check is a common offense in Florida. Hiring a private attorney to handle the accusation can result in the charges being dropped by the prosecutor before the warrant is ever served so that you do not have to go into custody. If you have been arrested for obtaining property by a worthless check, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case today at 813-250-0500.

Florida Statute Section 832.05 defines the Florida crime of Obtaining Property for a Worthless Check, Drafts and Debit Card orders, defined under Florida law to include a situation in which an individual writes a check to obtain some property or service from another individual when the person who wrote the check knows that there are insufficient funds to cover the check.

Common defenses to the charge of obtaining property by a worthless check include the following:

The statute specifically provides that the person who accepts the check does not have reason to believe that the person who presents the check does not have sufficient funds SOLELY because the person paying with the check has previously issued a worthless check to him or her.

The statute also specifically provides that payment of the dishonored check, draft, bill of exchange or debit card order does not constitute a defense or ground for dismissal of the charges. The offense of obtaining a worthless check is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida when the check is for an amount less than $150.00, punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail. In the event the check is written for $150.00 or more, then the offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison.

Resources:

National Organization for Shoplifting Prevention NASP – Nationwide, a non-partisan coalition working to address shoplifting prevention and juvenile justice issues, and provides rehabilitative, educational programs for adults or juveniles with a pending court case or after a court order.

Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous CASA – Treatment and recovery through counseling and support groups including information on common misconceptions about the connection between shoplifting and kleptomania and other mental health issues.

Types of Theft Crimes in Florida

Under Florida law, many different types of theft charges can be brought by the prosecutor including: