To prove a theft has been committed, the Prosecutor must not only prove that something has been taken, but they must also prove who took it and that it was not their's to begin with.
In cases where there is no witness to the actual theft, the identity of the person that committed the theft becomes an issue. The State will often try to prove the case using circumstantial evidence.
In some cases, such as those involving charges of retail theft, the "taking" 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 case, the true ownership of an item could be at issue. The property must be someone else's for it to be a theft.
There are many different types of thefts, and the charge can depend on what was allegedly taken, how it was taken and the value of the item.
No matter what the circumstances of your case are, it is important that your have an attorney that is familiar with theft defenses and is prepared to combat the prosecutor's case.
§ 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.