Fort Pierce Theft Defense Attorney
Trust Ohle & Ohle to fight for your rights – and freedom
Theft is a broad term that can encompass a variety of criminal charges in the state of Florida. If you’ve been charged with this crime, retaining the services of an experienced Fort Pierce theft defense attorney is an essential toward getting the best possible outcome for your unique case. At Ohle & Ohle, we know that every case is different and may require high amounts of attentiveness and care. We have been defending the rights of clients across Florida’s Treasure Coast since 1972.
Theft charges in Florida
Theft crimes, charges, and penalties can vary greatly depending on their severity and the circumstances that surround them. A misdemeanor first offense may result in fines and probation time while a robbery charge could result in felony penalties. Because theft is such a broad term, it’s helpful to understand how it is defined and what charges may also accompany it. For example, robbery, burglary and theft are all separate crimes that are prosecuted and penalized under different statutes in the state of Florida. Therefore, charges for robbery, burglary and theft may be applied to a single altercation.
How multiple charges can be levied
Example: Eric is implicated in a robbery. He and two other individuals decide to break into a closed retail store and steal money from the till. Assuming that the store is closed for the night, they break in through the back door and proceed to steal merchandise from the store. In the middle of the crime, before they have even reached the till a cashier who left his wallet at the store returns to retrieve it. One of the men with Eric holds the man at gunpoint and steals his wallet as police arrive on the scene. All three men are arrested. What crimes does Eric likely face?
There’s a good chance that Eric will initially be charged with Robbery with a Firearm, Grand Theft of the Third Degree, Burglary of a Structure, and possibly Aggravated Assault. Eric had no idea that his friend had a gun, or that an employee of the store would be present. All charges are based on what the police walked in on and what the victim said happened. Eric now faces a 25-year prison sentence and believes his life to be over. He feels terrible that the crime unfolded in the manner that it did, and now doesn’t know what his next move should be.
Fortunately, if Eric manages to retain the services of an experienced theft defense lawyer in Fort Pierce, his prospects may not be as grim. Let’s assume that Eric has never been charged with a crime before. While he did commit multiple crimes, they may not be as severe as what he is being charged with and an expert defense attorney will be able to help him negate or reduce some of the charges.
As you can see, the circumstances surrounding a crime can have an enormous impact on what charges will stick, and what convictions may be avoided. A charge is not a conviction and experienced Fort Pierce defense attorneys could help reduce certain charges or eliminate them entirely.
Understanding how theft crimes are defined and categorized
Knowing how crimes of theft are defined and prosecuted in Florida can help you better determine what your next step should be. In Fort Pierce and in the state of Florida, theft is broken down into two categories and then further sub-categorized by the degree of the crime committed. These categories are:
- Petit Theft of the First Degree
- Petit Theft of the Second Degree
- Grand Theft of the First Degree
- Grand Theft of the Second Degree
- Grand Theft of the Third Degree
Theft is defined as the removal of another person’s property either temporarily or permanently with intent to appropriate the property for personal use, for the use of another, or deprive them of the benefits of the said property.
Penalties upon conviction in Fort Pierce
Punishments in the Treasure Coast can range in severity and may differ depending on the crime itself, prior offenses and the surrounding circumstances. Usually, the value of any property taken will also have a large impact on what any potential penalties will be.
Grand Theft generally involves taking property valued at more than $300. It is punishable as a felony in the state of Florida. The degree of any felony charges will increase in correlation with the value of any property that’s been taken. Grand Theft of the First Degree carries penalties that may include:
- a minimum sentence of twenty-one (21) months in prison
- a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison
- thirty years of probation
- fines of up to $10,000
Taking property valued at less than $300 is usually considered to be Petit Theft. It is punishable as a misdemeanor crime in St. Lucie County.
The importance of retaining quality legal service
If you have been charged with theft, immediately retain qualified legal counsel. Ohle & Ohle has experienced Fort Pierce theft defense lawyers who can help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes for their cases. We are lifelong residents of the Treasure Coast who know the ins and outs of theft-related charges. Call us today for a free consult.