Theft Crimes

Jacksonville Theft Crimes Lawyer

Comprehensive Legal Support for Theft Charges in Duval County

A person can find themselves ensnared into facing theft charges in Jacksonville for any number of reasons. Whether you’re someone who has been unjustly charged or someone who made a mistake and needs a second chance, you deserve vigorous legal representation. That’s the promise of the American system, and it’s what Monroe Law aims to provide for all of our clients. 

It's important to take theft accusations seriously in Jacksonville. Whether you're facing a minor shoplifting charge or a complex embezzlement allegation, you need an experienced Jacksonville theft lawyer. 

The theft offense lawyers at Monroe Law, P.A., understand Florida law inside and out and can help you build a strong defense strategy. Don't let one mistake define your future. With the appropriate legal representation, you can explore your options, including expungement, and move forward with your life. Remember that you have rights and are responsible for fighting for them. 

This issue can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but you don't have to face it alone. Seek legal counsel and take the first stage towards reclaiming your peace of mind..

Call our Jacksonville Theft Defense Team today at (904) 507-6194 or request your free consultation online. We're ready to assist you.

Understanding Theft Laws in Florida

There is a very specific legal definition of theft that serves to differentiate it from similar crimes and set the stage for the possible penalties that accompany conviction. 

The Florida criminal code defines theft as knowingly and unlawfully taking another’s property with the intent to deprive the victim of using permanently or temporarily said property or appropriating that property for their own use. 

In other words, theft is stealing what belongs to someone else and taking it for one’s self. 

It’s worth noting that this is different from the crimes of burglary and robbery, which can often be used interchangeably with theft. For a crime to be considered robbery, there must be force or intimidation involved. Burglary refers simply to the act of illegally entering the premises of another person, whether that be a house, office building, car, or computer. 

The penalties defendants can face if convicted of theft depend on the value of the property that is alleged to have been taken. On the low end of the spectrum, taking properly valued below $300 but at least $100 can result in 60 days of jail time and a $500 fine. On the other hand, if a defendant is charged with taking property valued at $100,000 or more, the prison sentence can be as long as 30 years, and the fine can escalate to $10,000. In between these two opposite ends of the spectrum is a broad middle ground. 

Judges often have leeway in what kind of sentence they ultimately hand down. Depending on the circumstances of the case, prosecutors may have the same leeway in deciding what kinds of charges to bring. That flexibility can be used to offer plea bargain deals to defendants. Before agreeing to any kind of deal, consult with our experienced Jacksonville theft attorney. 

Common Theft Crimes in Florida

The state of Florida identifies several theft-related offenses, each with its unique set of legal stipulations and consequences. Among the most common are:

  • Petit Theft: Often referred to as petty theft, this crime involves the theft of property or services valued at less than $750. It is usually considered a misdemeanor but can escalate to a felony depending on prior offenses.
  • Shoplifting: Specifically involves taking merchandise from a retail establishment without paying. Florida law treats shoplifting under the umbrella of theft, and penalties can vary based on the value of the stolen items and the perpetrator's criminal history.
  • Grand Theft: This crime is charged when the property stolen is valued at $750 or more. Grand theft can range from a third-degree felony to a first-degree felony, leading to significant prison time and large fines, depending on the value of the stolen property and circumstances of the theft.

Common Mistakes After Being Charged with Theft in Florida

Individuals charged with theft in Florida often make critical errors that can negatively impact their case. Key mistakes include:

  • Not Seeking Legal Advice: Failing to consult with an attorney for theft charges can lead to misunderstandings about rights and options.
  • Talking to Law Enforcement without an Attorney: Attempting to explain or negotiate with law enforcement without legal representation can lead to self-incrimination.
  • Ignoring Legal Representation: Many individuals mistakenly believe they can navigate the legal system alone when charged with theft in Florida, often leading to adverse outcomes.

How a Jacksonville Theft Lawyer Can Help

An experienced Jacksonville theft lawyer plays a crucial role in defending individuals against theft charges. By hiring an attorney for theft, defendants can benefit in several ways:

  1. Assessment and Strategy: An attorney can assess the charges' specifics, the evidence presented, and develop a robust defense strategy tailored to the individual's case.
  2. Protection of Rights: An attorney ensures that the defendant's rights are protected throughout the legal process. This includes handling interrogations and avoiding self-incrimination.
  3. Negotiating Plea Deals: When appropriate, an attorney may negotiate plea deals to reduce the charges or penalties. Their experience and knowledge of the Florida legal system enable them to advocate effectively for their clients.
  4. Avoiding Common Mistakes: An experienced theft lawyer can guide their clients away from common pitfalls, such as sharing damaging information or not adhering to court demands.

Whether facing charges of petit theft, shoplifting in Florida, or more serious theft allegations, the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome. Protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible resolution is paramount, and an experienced Jacksonville theft lawyer is your best ally in this challenging time.

Possible Defenses Against Theft

Every case is different, and the defense strategy employed will depend on the relevant facts and allegations of each one. But here are some common defenses that attorneys may use in theft cases: 

  • Lack of Criminal Intent: For a crime to be theft, the defendant must have taken the property knowingly. Did the defendant, who borrowed expensive tools from their neighbor and did not return them, really mean to steal? On an even higher level, was a misappropriation of funds in the corporate accounting office done intentionally? The prosecution must not only prove the offense itself, but they must also show criminal intent.
  • Duress: Let’s return to our misappropriation of funds example. Was the defendant coerced to undertake the illegal act? Any threats made must be considered credible and must be sufficiently grave to justify the theft. But if a jury can be persuaded of this, it’s a valid defense against theft charges. 
  • Returning Property: Strictly speaking, returning what was stolen doesn’t automatically absolve one of the theft. But it is a gesture of goodwill and may make an impact on the District Attorney who decides whether to file charges or the judge responsible for sentencing. 

The Legal Fighter You Need

When you or someone you love is facing the prospect of jail time, steep fines, and a lasting criminal record, you need a lawyer who understands how to fight and what it takes to win. Our founding partner, D. Scott Monroe, Esq, has been honored by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the country. And while past results can never guarantee future performance, it’s certainly worth noting that Attorney Monroe has never lost at trial. 

When you work with Monroe Law, you can count on getting counsel that will pursue every last possible avenue to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. 

Get the Jacksonville theft lawyer you need by calling us today at (904) 507-6194.

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