Resolving Your Legal Concerns in Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach, Florida
In Florida, theft can also be referred to as larceny and describes a variety of crimes. Generally, theft refers to the taking of a person’s property or personal belongings without authorization. The facts of your case determine your charges as well as the elements the prosecution must prove to show that a theft crime occurred. The most common types of theft crimes in West Palm Beach include grand and petit theft, shoplifting, and burglary or breaking and entering crimes. In addition, criminal mischief and trespassing are closely related crimes for which you may face additional charges.
Theft can be a misdemeanor or felony crime that can incur several consequences if you are convicted. You may also be required to pay court-ordered restitution regardless of whether you had any previous knowledge about the value of the stolen property or any property that may have been damaged during a theft attempt. Like other criminal offenses, a theft crime could interfere with your ability to find stable employment; theft crimes in particular strongly repel potential employers. It is in your best interest to discuss your case with a West Palm Beach theft attorney.
Grand & Petit Theft Crimes
Florida has provisions for grand theft and petit theft. These two crimes are distinguished by a price point. Petit theft, sometimes referred to as “petty theft” or “petty larceny,” is a misdemeanor crime that involves property valued at $300 or less. Grand theft is a felony offense in Florida that begins at a very low threshold of $300. You can also face felony grand theft charges for stealing specific types of property, such as firearms, controlled substances, and law enforcement or emergency medical equipment.
Retail Theft (Shoplifting)
Shoplifting in Florida is referred to as retail theft. This crime involves the taking of property belonging to a retail establishment and is committed in several ways. You can be accused of retail theft in Florida for not only walking out with merchandise that was unpaid, but also for taking any action with the intent to deprive a merchant from possessing the item(s) in question. The severity of this crime also depends on the value of the merchandise stolen.
Burglary & Breaking and Entering Crimes
In Florida, a burglary occurs when a person enters another person’s home, office, or other dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. Whether or not something was actually taken from the dwelling does not impact the definition of burglary. This theft crime is a felony offense.
Legally, breaking and entering has a slightly different shade of meaning. By definition, breaking and entering entails entering a residence or other enclosed property without authorization. There does not have to be an intent to commit a crime. In Florida, however, breaking and entering is not a separate offense from burglary. It is treated the same as burglary in that it is a felony offense for which you could incur steep fines and a lengthy prison sentence.
The following crimes are commonly associated with theft. Depending on the circumstances of your case, if you are charged with a theft or larceny crime you may face additional charges for the offenses below. An attorney like Brian Gabriel can work to drop these additional charges.
Criminal Mischief (Vandalism)
Florida state law labels vandalism as “criminal mischief.” This crime is defined as the “willful and malicious destruction of property belonging to another person.” This crime has the potential to be a felony or misdemeanor crime depending on the extent to which property was damaged and the value of said property.
In Florida, trespassing is a criminal act when a person willfully enters or stays on private property without the owner’s consent. Trespassing is usually a misdemeanor offense unless a weapon was involved, in which case the crime could be upgraded to a felony offense.
Fighting Theft Charges in West Palm Beach
Theft offenses can be a challenging area of law without the proper defense. If you are facing charges for any theft crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. For the best possible results for your grand or petit theft, retail theft, burglary, criminal mischief or trespassing case in West Palm Beach, consult with attorney Brian Gabriel by calling 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel.