At Ellis and Bryant, we represent people throughout Northeast Florida who have been charged with theft crimes, as well as other offenses such as drug crimes. We are seasoned Jacksonville theft crime lawyers who draw on our experience as former prosecutors to help clients build thorough, sophisticated defenses. Our lawyers work aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced when possible while standing ready to fight cases through trial when needed. But there is no need to just take our word for it. We invite you to take a look at our track record of success in criminal court, which speaks for itself.
Theft crimes relate generally to the taking of some sort of property from a person or entity with the intention of depriving the owner of the property. This area of criminal law includes offenses like robbery, burglary, shoplifting, embezzlement, and some types of fraud. These are serious criminal offenses that can come with significant consequences, like prison time and heavy fines.Punishments for Theft Crimes
Florida law treats the theft of anything worth $300 or more as grand theft. If the property is worth up to $20,000, the crime is a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. The punishment increases for property worth more than $20,000. That is not to mention that you also likely will need to compensate the owner for the cost of replacing any property that is damaged or lost. A theft crime attorney can help Jacksonville residents try to mitigate or avert these consequences to the extent possible.
Burglary, meanwhile, is a form of home invasion that often includes theft or property damage. The punishment varies based on the value of the property involved and other circumstances. A person who commits burglary involving less than $1,000 in property damage and without the use of a gun is looking at a second-degree felony charge. That crime is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines. The crime increases to a first-degree felony – with longer prison time and higher fines – if an assault or battery happens during the burglary, or the property damage is more than $1,000.Defenses in Theft Cases
If you are suspected of or charged with a theft crime in Florida, there are a number of potential legal defenses that a Jacksonville theft crime attorney may be able to raise on your behalf. It is important to understand that the burden of proof in these cases is on prosecutors. They are required to convince a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you have been charged. The fact that some evidence suggests that you might have committed the crime is not enough by itself for a conviction.
Intent is a key element of theft crimes in Florida. Generally, prosecutors need to prove that you intended to deprive the property owner of his or her property. If you had reason to believe that the property was yours or that the owner allowed you to borrow it, you probably did not have the requisite intent to support a conviction. Of course, it is hard to get inside a person’s head, so prosecutors often try to use circumstantial evidence to show that you acted in a way that made clear that you intended to steal the property. A strong defense often consists in part of challenging the evidence supporting this intent element.Seek Guidance from a Theft Crime Lawyer in Jacksonville
At Ellis and Bryant, our criminal lawyers have significant experience representing clients in theft prosecutions and a wide range of other cases. Partner Gary Bryant is a former Assistant State Attorney with an extensive criminal trial background. We understand how judges and juries look at these cases, and we know how to identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments. Our lawyers work aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible and to fight charges through trial when needed. Our firm is committed to serving clients throughout the region in their times of need, whether they have been charged with a theft crime like burglary or shoplifting or with a different type of crime like marijuana possession or another drug crime. We represent defendants in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval and Clay Counties. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.