The concept behind theft is simple: when someone takes something that does not belong to them. However, as a criminal charge theft is actually quite complex. This is partially because theft is a charge that can be made at either the misdemeanor or felony level, depending on the circumstances.
Categories of theft in Florida include petit theft or “petty” theft at the first or second degree misdemeanor level and grand theft of the first, second, or third degree level, which is a felony charge. Types of theft crimes include:
Additionally, theft charges are not necessarily restricted to taking property. You can also be charged with theft for not paying for professional services provided by another or obtaining government services without permission (or that you do not qualify for). As you can see, theft is not as simple as it sounds. A qualified and experienced defense attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
There are many possible defenses against charges of theft. Perhaps you had not left the store or facility yet and fully intended to pay for the item. Perhaps a child placed the item in your bag without your knowledge. Or maybe you were stopped and searched as the result of racial or ethnic bias.
Our job is to develop a complete understanding of the context of your particular situation and use that to craft a personalized defense. A strong defense is important because theft is considered a moral failing, sometimes called a crime of “moral turpitude.” This means in addition to jail time and fines, having a theft conviction on your record can lead to a variety of consequences, including:
Whatever the specifics of your theft charges, we will do our best to have them reduced or dismissed. You may also be eligible for alternative penalties such as a diversion program, counseling, probation, or restitution. We will defend you vigorously and pursue whatever options make sense in your case. If you have been charged with theft in Tampa, we are happy to meet with you for a free consultation.