Theft Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach
In Florida, theft (also known as “larceny”) can describe a variety of crimes. Generally, theft refers to the taking of a person’s property or personal belongings without their consent. Although, the facts of your case are what will ultimately determine your charges. The prosecution must also be able to prove or show that a theft crime actually occurred for a charge to stick.
If you are facing charges for a theft crime in West Palm Beach, a conviction could derail your plans for the future. The ability to secure housing or employment can be hindered if you have a conviction for theft on your criminal record. At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, attorney Brian Gabriel has the skills required to effectively defend all types of theft charges.
Types of Theft Charges a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Defend in West Palm Beach
Under Florida Statute 812.014, theft is defined as knowingly obtaining or using the property of another with intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or appropriate the property for his or her own use. The most common types of theft crimes in West Palm Beach include:
- Grand theft
- Petit theft, also known as “petty” theft
- Breaking and entering
It is not uncommon for theft charges to go hand-in-hand with other charges. Criminal mischief and trespassing are closely related to theft crimes and often go together with these types of charges.
What Are the Possible Penalties for Theft in West Palm Beach?
In Florida, theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the value of the property that was stolen and the circumstances surrounding your situation. Charges for theft can incur several consequences if you are convicted, such as:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Community service
- Status as a convicted felon
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. Employers are often heavily averse to hiring people with convictions for theft in particular because you may appear untrustworthy from their point of view. It is always better to fight charges for theft with an experienced theft defense attorney on your side who has the skills to defend your case effectively.
What is the Difference Between Grand and Petit Theft Crimes in Florida?
Florida has provisions for grand theft and petit theft. A price point distinguishes these two crimes. 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, law enforcement gear, or emergency medical equipment.
Retail Theft and Shoplifting Charges in West Palm Beach
Shoplifting in Florida is referred to as retail theft. This crime involves the taking of property that belongs to a retail establishment. Shoplifting or retail theft can be committed in several ways.
You can be accused of retail theft in Florida for not only walking out of the retail establishment with merchandise that was unpaid but also for taking any action with the intent to deprive a merchant from possessing the item (or items) in question. The severity of penalties for this crime is also dependent on the value of the merchandise stolen.
Burglary and Breaking and Entering Crimes in West Palm Beach
In Florida, a burglary occurs when someone 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 space does not impact whether or not a burglary has occurred. Burglary and breaking and entering are theft crimes that constitute a felony offense.
Legally, breaking and entering has a slightly different 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.
Crimes Related to Theft in West Palm Beach
Crimes such as criminal mischief, vandalism, and trespassing 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 these offenses. An attorney like Brian Gabriel can work to have these additional charges dropped.
Criminal Mischief and 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.” Criminal mischief has the potential to be a felony or misdemeanor crime. The severity of penalties will depend 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 most commonly charged as a misdemeanor offense. However, if a weapon was involved, the crime is usually upgraded to a felony offense.
Fight Theft Charges in West Palm Beach with a Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney
Theft offenses can be a challenging area of law to navigate if you do not partner with the proper defense. If you are facing charges for any theft crime in West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, you need an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney on your side.
For aggressive and strategic representation for your grand theft or petit theft, retail theft, burglary, criminal mischief, or trespassing case in West Palm Beach, call attorney Brian Gabriel at (561) 622-5575 for a free consultation or send a completed contact form.