A theft charge can range from misdemeanor petit theft to a felony grand theft, depending on the value of the items. Regardless of the charge, theft crimes can all have serious repercussions. Many people don't realize that a theft charge on your record could prevent you from getting a better job, renting a place to live, or continuing your education. In some cases, your driver's license can even be suspended. Certain charges can also be enhanced if you have any prior convictions.
To prove you committed a theft, the prosecutor must not only prove that something was taken, but also that you were the one that took the item, and you did so intentionally.
In cases where there is no witness to the actual theft, the identity of the person that committed the theft becomes an issue. The prosecutor will often try to prove the case using circumstantial evidence. In some cases, such as those involving charges of retail theft, the person’s intent to take the item becomes an issue. You may have been stopped, searched and accused of a theft before you were able to pay for the item. In other cases, the true ownership of an item could be at issue. The property must be someone else's for it to actually be a theft.
No matter what the circumstances of your case are, it is important that you have an attorney that is familiar with theft defenses and is prepared to combat the prosecutor's case. Don't let a simple misunderstanding turn into a life-changing event. Contact the Ford Law Office for a free consultation.
§ 812.014, Fla. Stat.
To prove the crime of Theft, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. You knowingly and unlawfully obtained, used, or endeavored to obtain or to use the property of another.
2. You did so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently,
a. deprive the victim of his right to the property or any benefit from it.
b. appropriate the property of the victim to your own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.
If the jury finds you guilty of theft, they must also determine if the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt whether:
a. the value of the property taken was $100,000 or more, it is a 1st degree felony.
b. the value of the property taken was $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, it is a 2nd degree felony.
c. the value of the property taken was $10,000 or more but less than $20,000, it is a 3rd degree felony.
d. the value of the property taken was $5,000 or more but less than $10,000, it is a 3rd degree felony.
e. the value of the property taken was $300 or more but less than $5,000, it is a 3rd degree felony.
f. the value of the property taken was $100 or more but less than $300, it is a 1st degree misdemeanor.
g. the value of the property taken was less than $100, it is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.