Experienced Florida Lawyer Fights Theft Charges

Key West attorney provides vigorous defense in larceny cases

If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, robbery, fraud or any other theft crime, the consequences are serious and far-reaching. The Jamindar Law Firm in Key West is prepared to help. With more than 10 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer in Monroe County, Florida, I am committed to protecting my clients’ rights and putting together defensive strategies designed to achieve fair and acceptable disposition of charges. I have the knowledge and determination to fight aggressively on your behalf.

What is theft according to Florida law?

There are several elements of the crime of theft under Florida law. To be guilty, a person must have knowingly obtained, used or attempted to obtain or use property that belongs to someone else with the intent either to deprive that owner of the property or to appropriate the property to the taker’s own use, either temporarily or permanently.

There are various classifications of theft, based on how the crime is accomplished:

  • Larceny — Simple theft committed by taking someone else’s property
  • Fraud — Theft by deception
  • Shoplifting — Theft accomplished while posing as a customer in a shop or store
  • Robbery — Theft accomplished by force or fear
  • Blackmail — Theft accomplished by threatening to reveal a closely held secret
  • Extortion — Theft accomplished by a threat of violence
  • Embezzlement — Theft of property by a person entrusted to manage it

The law treats these crimes differently in terms of penalties. For example, due to the element of violence in robbery, punishment is more severe than for shoplifting or larceny.

Petit theft and grand theft in Florida

Florida also classifies theft crimes based on the value of the property, the nature of the property and other circumstances, such as the identity of the victim.

Petit theft (sometimes called petty theft) involves property valued at less than $300. This offense is generally a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for a first offense can draw up to 60 days in jail. A second offense can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. The court can also suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for six months.

Grand theft generally involves stolen property worth $300 or more. The lowest level of grand theft is a third -degree felony, drawing up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. Second-degree grand theft, involving property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, can lead to up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. First-degree grand theft, for property worth $100,000 or more, can draw up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Offering strong defense against theft charges in Florida

There are a number of defenses that can be raised to counter a charge of theft, among them that the defendant:

  • was not aware he had taken the property
  • had a right to the property
  • did not intend to deprive the owner of his rights

However, the intent to take something for a time and then return it is not a defense under Florida law.

All elements of the crime charged can be challenged as part of a well-orchestrated defense. That includes the value of the property involved, the circumstances of the alleged taking and the presence of aggravating factors. As your attorney, I fully investigate the facts and exploit all weaknesses in the state’s case. Whenever beneficial to my client’s interests, I negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges and seek leniency in sentencing.

Contact a tenacious Florida defense attorney to fight theft charges

The Jamindar Law Firm in Key West vigorously defends clients accused of theft crimes in Monroe County, Florida. To schedule a free initial consultation, call me at 305-204-6869 or contact me online. My office is conveniently located at 422 Fleming Street on the edge of the Key West Historical District.