Theft Crimes
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Theft

Most criminal charges involving an allegation of theft are considered "crimes of dishonesty." Under Florida law, any employer is allowed to ask whether you have been convicted of a crime of dishonesty on any job application. Additionally, such a conviction will show up in even the most basic background check.

With this being the case, it is vital to take all the steps necessary to fight these charges and keep this from becoming an issue that follows you in the future. First and foremost, it is extremely important to discuss your pending case with a qualified Florida criminal defense attorney who has the legal knowledge and experience to effectively represent you.

Melbourne Theft Defense Lawyer  

If you have been accused of a crime involving theft or dishonesty then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC. Our offices are conveniently located in Melbourne, FL and we represent clients on a variety of misdemeanor and felony theft charges.

With a commitment to protecting the rights of the clients while using their extensive legal understanding to frame a solid defense strategy, the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC are ready to defend your name and fight to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Call (321) 253-3447 or send an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation to go over the detail of your case with the legal team today.


Types of Theft Charges

There are many types of offenses that are classified as theft. Some of the more common types of theft charges in Florida are:


Elements of Theft Charges under Florida Law

When a crime of theft is alleged, the prosecutor with the State Attorney's office must prove the following two elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  1. The person accused of theft unlawfully and knowingly used or obtained or endeavored to use or obtain the property that was allegedly taken from the victim;
  2. The person accused of theft did so with the intent to permanently or temporarily;
  3. Deprive the victim of his or her right to the property or any benefit from the property.

Degrees of Theft under Florida Law

The punishments and consequences for theft charges are divided into different degrees depending on the value of the property taken.

Petit Theft

The most common theft charges in Florida involve "petit theft" which is a misdemeanor. Those charges typically involving a taking from a merchant at a grocery store or other type of retail establishment. The charge is also called "retail theft."

If the value of the property taken is under $100 then the crime is generally charged as petit theft in the second degree which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, six-month probation and/or a $500 fine.

If the value of the property taken is between $100 and $300 then the crime is generally charged as petit theft in the first degree which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, one-year probation and/or a $1,000 fine

Grand Theft - Third Degree

If the value of the property was more than $300 then the crime is typically charged as "grand theft." Grand theft is also divided into various degrees based on the value of the stolen property.

If the value of the property taken is $300 or more but less than $5,000 then the crime is typically charged as grand theft in the third degree which is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

If the value of the property taken is $5,000 or more but less than $10,000 then the crime is typically charged as grand theft in the third degree which is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

If the value of the property taken is $10,000 or more but less than $20,000 then the crime is typically charged as grand theft in the third degree which is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Grand Theft - Second Degree

If the value of the property taken is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 then the crime is typically charged as grand theft in the second degree which is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to thirty years in Florida State Prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Grand Theft - First Degree

If the value of the property taken was $100,000 or more then the crime is typically charged as grand theft in the first degree which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in Florida State Prison and/or a $10,000 fine.


Theft Inferences Provided under Florida Law in Theft Cases

Theft cases are typically difficult to prove. Florida law provides for numerous "inferences" that effectively operate as shortcuts for the prosecution. If requested by the prosecutor and supported by the facts presented at trial, the court can instruct the jury on one or more of these inferences. The defense typically fights to prevent such a jury instruction on such an inference.

False ID - §812.022(1)

Proof that a person presented false identification, or identification not current with respect to name, address, place of employment, or other material aspect in connection with the leasing of personal property, or failed to return leased property within 72 hours of the termination of the leasing agreement, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the property was obtained or is now used with unlawful intent to commit theft.

Possession of Recently Stolen Property - §812.022(2)

Proof of possession of recently stolen property, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person in possession of the property knew or should have known that the property had been stolen.

Purchase Below Fair Market Value - 812.022(3)

Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property at a price substantially below the fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property knew or should have known that the property had been stolen.

Out of Regular Course of Business - §812.022(4)

Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, out of the regular course of business or without the usual indicia of ownership other than mere possession, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property knew or should have known that it had been stolen.

Owner's Name - §812.022(5)

Proof that a dealer who regularly deals in used property possesses stolen property upon which a name and phone number of a person other than the offeror of the property are conspicuously displayed gives rise to an inference that the dealer possessing the property knew or should have known that the property was stolen.

Ignition Mechanism Bypass - §812.022(6)

Proof that a person was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and that the ignition mechanism of the motor vehicle had been bypassed or the steering wheel locking mechanism had been broken or bypassed, unless satisfactorily explained, gives rise to an inference that the person in possession of the stolen motor vehicle knew or should have known that the motor vehicle had been stolen.


Definitions in Theft Cases 812.012(3)

Florida statute 812.012(3) defines the term “obtains or uses” in the theft statutes to mean any manner of

  • Taking or exercising control over property.
  • Making any unauthorized use, disposition, or transfer of property.
  • Obtaining property by fraud, willful misrepresentation of a future act, or false promise.
  • Conduct previously known as stealing; larceny; purloining; abstracting; embezzlement; misapplication; misappropriation; conversion; or obtaining money or property by false pretenses, fraud, deception; or other conduct similar in nature.

Florida law defines the term “endeavor” as provided in the theft statutes to mean to try or attempt.

Florida Statute Section 812.012(4) defines the term "property" in the theft statutes to mean anything of value, and includes: 

  • real property, including things growing on, affixed to and found in land;
  • tangible or intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, claims, and services.

Florida Statute Section 812.012(6) defines the term “services” to mean anything of value resulting from a person's physical or mental labor or skill, or from the use, possession, or presence of property.


The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC | Melbourne Theft Arrest Lawyer

If you have been charged with a theft offense in Melbourne or Brevard County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC. We represent clients on a variety of theft charges from shoplifting or retail theft to more serious offenses such as grand theft or dealing in stolen property.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation with the legal team, call (321) 253-3447 or send an online message today. The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC proudly represent individuals in and around the Florida cities of Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Viera, Orlando, Winter Park, Deltona, Daytona Beach, Sanford, Winter Springs, Vero Beach, Fellsmere, Kissimmee and Saint Cloud, among many others.

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