Under Florida’s laws, crimes against other people’s property are treated very seriously. If you’re charged or convicted of one, you could suffer consequences like incarceration, fines, or even loss of social standing. You have a right to defend yourself against criminal charges. They could have resulted from a misunderstanding, or you might have made a mistake. An experienced Florida property crime defense lawyer can help you either way.

Attorney Erika Valcarcel has helped countless clients face their criminal charges. She knows the effects of a criminal conviction and she understands how helpless you might feel. Erika is ready to hear your case and start your defense.

Common Florida Property Crimes

Florida’s criminal statutes cover several offenses that qualify as property crimes charges. Some of the most common types are described below. However, Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., is prepared to defend any type of criminal charge you may face in Sarasota and its surrounding areas.


This crime is defined as “willfully and unlawfully using fire or an explosion to cause damage to a structure.” This is usually considered Florida’s most serious property crime. Arson is classified as a felony. The degree can vary depending on several factors, like what type of structure was damaged or if someone was killed because of the fire. If convicted of arson, you could face significant prison sentences and hefty fines.

Criminal Trespassing

This offense is described as entering a property without the express or implied permission of the owner. Criminal trespassing is usually considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. That charge may be increased to a third-degree felony if you had a weapon while you trespassed.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief involves the intentional destruction of someone else’s property through vandalism. A common example is graffiti. The penalties after a conviction range between a second-degree misdemeanor and a third-degree felony, depending on the amount of damage, but will include some combination of fines, probation, or jail time.

Penalties for Property Crimes in Florida

Even if property crimes seem minor compared to other criminal acts in Florida, a conviction could have devastating consequences for your way of life. Not only are you facing incarceration, but you could also be left with a marred criminal record.

If you’re convicted of property crimes in Florida, you face:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Expensive fines and court fees
  • House arrest or probation requiring monthly reporting, community service work, and classes
  • A permanent criminal record
  • The social stigma of a theft or fraud conviction
  • Difficulty finding or keeping a job
  • Difficulty getting or keeping a professional license
  • Difficulty getting or keeping an immigration visa or green card, denial of your citizenship application, or deportation if you’re a non-citizen

Defenses Against Property Crime Charges

Some common defenses against property crimes in Florida include:

  • Mistaken identity. If you were caught at the scene of the crime, it might be hard to argue you didn’t commit the property crime you’re accused of. However, eyewitness testimony or closed-circuit television footage are not always the most reliable sources of evidence. Your attorney can build a defense on the fact that you were wrongfully accused of the crime.
  • Incomplete investigation. Law enforcement agents are required to follow strict regulations for their criminal investigations. You might have a case for getting your charges dropped or reduced if your attorney can show that the police didn’t follow proper procedure or ignored the chain of evidence.
  • Permission to be present. Some property crime charges, like trespassing, depend on whether you are being accused of being somewhere you shouldn’t be. Your lawyer can make the argument that you weren’t trespassing because the property owner consented to your presence.

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Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is the best you will find. Erika Valcarcel is completely honest and straightforward. She took a huge burden off my shoulders many times during difficult periods of my life knowing that she was doing everything that that could and should be done. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice has always been right on the mark. She is worth every penny of the fee she charges. You cannot go wrong securing her services.

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Hiring the Right Sarasota Property Crime Defense Attorney

Like any crime, you are innocent until proven guilty. You might not necessarily feel that way, but finding an experienced and passionate defense lawyer to help you fight your property crime accusations can reassure you.

A skilled attorney can help guide you through defense options and strategies. They’ll review your case and find answers to the questions the prosecution might have missed. Prosecutors have the responsibility of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney is working to get the jury to question the prosecutor’s detailing of events.

What You Should Look for in a Property Crime Defense Lawyer

When you’re accused of a serious crime like arson, trespassing, or criminal mischief, you’re facing significant penalties. Finding an attorney who knows the Florida legal system and has experience helping defend against criminal charges is critical.

Your attorney needs to be compassionate, willing to hear your side of the story, and ready to give you the hard truth. They need to be someone you feel comfortable talking to, so you’re not stressed about getting updates about your case. Once you’ve explained your case, you should ask questions about the attorney, what they think about your case, and how they would handle it.

You might also ask them:

  • How much experience do you have handling cases like mine?
  • How often do you negotiate plea agreements or request a lesser charge?
  • How much of my case will you handle?
  • Can you provide references from old clients?
  • What are your fees? How are they calculated? Are there any payment plans?

Erika Valcarcel won’t give you the runaround. She is prepared to hear your case and give you a frank assessment of how she would proceed.

Get Help With Your Property Crime Charges Today

Getting charged with a property crime can be devastating to your way of life. Not only do you have to deal with criminal proceedings, you’ll also need to work on staving off stigma in your day-to-day life. Calling an experienced property crime defense lawyer like Attorney Erika Valcarcel can give you a chance to avoid significant consequences. She won’t give you the run around: she’s dedicated to getting you justice.

Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., today at (941) 363-7900 to learn more about your legal options and how she’ll protect your rights.