Those who have been accused of theft have likely heard several myths about these cases. While each theft case is different, there are things to keep in mind.
Myth: All Thefts Are Treated the Same
In Florida, the penalties for theft vary depending on the value of the property stolen. Some thefts constitute misdemeanor offenses, while others are felonies. There are also different degrees of theft. If you are charged with theft, it is important to determine the value of the property stolen. If the prosecution cannot accurately determine the property value, you may be able to seek a decreased punishment.
Myth: Consequences Occur Only if You Succeed in Taking Property
Florida law defines theft as both the actual taking of property and endeavoring or attempting to take another’s property. Getting caught before you actually take the property could still subject you to being charged with theft.
Myth: You Can Still be Convicted of Theft for Accidentally Taking Property
Sometimes people inadvertently take property because of forgetfulness or preoccupation. The prosecution must be able to show that you intended to take the property. If you can demonstrate that you did not intend to take the property, then you may be able to get the theft case dismissed.
Myth: There Are No Defenses to Theft
Many incorrectly assume that if you are caught with the property of another, then you cannot defeat a theft charge. However, there are many defenses available to theft to prove innocence. In addition to the required intent previously mentioned, you can also show that you took the property based upon a good faith belief that you were entitled to the property. Also, you can sometimes demonstrate that the property owner consented, either expressly or by implication, to your possession of the property. There may also be other defenses, which an attorney can explain to you.
Contact a Defense Attorney at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins
If you have been charged with theft, contact the experienced attorneys at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins P.A. for a free consultation.