Theft Lawyer in Lakeland — Providing Dedicated Legal Defense for Those Charged With Crimes

We’re taught from an early age not to take things that aren’t ours. So when someone is criminally charged for this act, prosecutors don’t often opt for leniency. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system doesn’t always get things right. Perhaps you were wrongfully charged or your rights were violated. No matter the situation, a theft lawyer in Lakeland may be able to help.

At DeMichael Law, we’ve seen what can happen when people are caught up in the system. Even if you believe you’re guilty of what you’re charged with, state and federal law offers various protections for you. This is why it’s so important to fully understand your rights. If you’re being charged with a crime in Florida, it’s important to act now.

Contact our Lakeland theft attorneys for a confidential consultation today.

What’s the Definition of Theft Under Florida Law?

In Florida, theft occurs when a person knowingly takes, uses, or attempts to take or use the property of another individual with the intent of depriving the person of their property or appropriating the property for unauthorized use. That’s certainly a mouthful, but the definition of theft is fairly straightforward. However, the statute is more complex than you might expect.

That’s because a variety of acts can fall into the category of theft. Anything from stealing bubble gum from a store to misappropriating funds from a bank account may qualify. The biggest difference in these crimes depends on the amount stolen. Anything under $750 is considered petty theft. Theft of property valued at more than $750 is known as grand theft.

Any of these charges can carry serious consequences, so it’s important for you to speak with a theft lawyer in Lakeland if you’ve been arrested.

Should You Talk to the Police?

There’s a lot that police television dramas don’t get right. However, exercising your right to remain silent is one of the areas they nail on the head.. You’re under no obligation to speak with the police. Even if officers tell you that you’re not a suspect — or that they’re just trying to “get to the bottom of things” — the truth is that they are not on your side.

Police often use coercive methods to elicit confessions. In fact, their tactics frequently lead to false confessions. Even if you don’t plan on admitting to a crime, though, this doesn’t mean that speaking with police is wise. Their job is to provide evidence that leads to a conviction. Don’t fall into this trap. Reach out to a theft lawyer in Lakeland before saying anything.

What Are the Penalties for Theft in Florida?

One important thing to remember is that every theft case is different. People often try to compare outcomes between cases, and this simply isn’t possible due to varying factors. Some of the biggest differences we see in cases, though, relate directly to penalties after a conviction. Potential criminal punishments will vary based on the severity of a crime.

Consider the following:

Petty Theft

For someone charged with petty theft, the maximum penalties they face are typically a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. These are the potential consequences of a first-degree theft conviction. However, this is only the case if the value of stolen property is between $100 and $750. If the value of the property is less than $100, a person will be charged with second-degree theft. This carries maximum penalties of 60 days behind bars and a $500 fine.

Grand Theft

When the value of stolen property exceeds $750, the potential penalties get far more serious. In these situations, not seeking the help of a Lakeland theft lawyer can be detrimental. Even for a third-degree grand theft charge, a person could find themselves in prison for five years and face fines of up to $5,000. These penalties are possible when stolen property is valued between $750 and $20,000.

A second-degree theft charge occurs when the value of the stolen property is between $20,000 and $100,000. If convicted of this crime, a person can face 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. When property is valued at $100,000 or more, a person can face first-degree grand theft charges. If convicted, they may end up in prison for up to 30 years and be fined up to $10,000.

Other Considerations

It’s important to understand that there are some nuances to theft laws in Florida. For instance, a person can face first-degree grand theft charges if their actions cause more than $1,000 in property damage. This is the case even if the value of property stolen does not exceed $100,000. There are many of these nuances within the law.

Those facing charges should also understand that certain situations can lead to enhanced penalties. Habitual felony offenses repeat petty thefts, and the targeting of elderly victims can all lead to added penalties. Clearly, Florida laws can be quite complex in this matter. That’s why you should speak with a theft lawyer in Lakeland as soon as possible.

Is a Plea Deal in Your Best Interest?

When someone is facing theft charges in Florida, it may seem like their options are minimal. The prosecutor might claim that they’ve got solid evidence. And in many cases, those charged with the crime don’t fully understand their rights or how to best fight the allegations against them. In such situations, it may seem tempting to accept a plea deal.

It’s important to note that a plea offer may very well be in your best interest. However, you’ll likely be better served by allowing a theft attorney in Lakeland to help you make this decision. In many instances, prosecutors offer these deals because they don’t have a strong case. In other situations, they may not be completely forthcoming with what you can be charged with.

Remember: the prosecutor is on the state’s side seeking a conviction. Shouldn’t you have someone on your side as well?

Contact a Theft Lawyer in Lakeland Today

If you’ve been accused of theft in Florida, it’s important to take the charges seriously. Even if you have no prior criminal record, the consequences of a conviction can be disastrous. In addition to potential fines and jail time, you’ll have a criminal record following you everywhere. This can affect your ability to get a job, buy a home, and even interfere with your dating life.

At DeMichael Law, we are committed to getting favorable outcomes for our clients. In some cases, this might mean the dropping of all charges. In other instances, it could mean working out a fair plea agreement. The appropriate approach will depend on the circumstances of your case, but no matter what, we’ll always be focused on your best interests.

Contact us today by calling (863) 216-1831 to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced theft lawyer in Lakeland.