Sarasota Theft Lawyer
Imagine you walk into a grocery store to pick up some needed items after a long day at work. You only intend to grab a few things, but end up filling your shopping cart and have to put a case of soda underneath because it won’t fit in the cart. When you go to check out, you unload and pay for everything else but forget about the soda. The next thing you know, you’re being stopped by store security and accused of shoplifting. Chances are, you will need the representation of a skilled Sarasota theft lawyer.
In Florida, theft or fraud can be serious criminal charges. Even a theft as minor as being accused of shoplifting a case of soda could result in a misdemeanor charge and a jail sentence of up to 60 days — and the greater the value of the theft, the more severe the punishment if you’re convicted.
Florida theft and fraud offenses can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the dollar value of the alleged theft or fraud and whether you have any prior convictions.
The consequences of a Florida theft or fraud conviction can include:
- 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
However, your theft charge may have been based on a mistake or misunderstanding, or you may have fallen on hard times and become desperate, or you may be innocent of the charge. A skilled Florida criminal defense attorney can listen to your story, present any extenuating circumstances in court, and fight to get your theft or fraud charge dismissed or reduced.
Florida criminal attorney Erika Valcarcel has extensive experience handling theft and fraud charges in Sarasota and Manatee counties, including several years working as a prosecutor in both counties before starting her criminal defense practice. She has tried thousands of criminal cases and knows how to build successful defense strategies designed to obtain the best possible result for your case.
Common Types of Theft & Fraud Charges
Florida’s criminal statutes include numerous theft and fraud offenses that cover a wide range of activities that might result in criminal charges. Some of the most common types of theft and fraud charges are described below. However, Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is prepared to defend any type of criminal charge you face in Sarasota or Manatee counties.
- Grand Theft — Grand theft is defined as intentionally and illegally stealing property that is worth more than $300 and the penalties vary greatly, from thousands of dollars in fines to up to 30 years in prison.
- Petit Theft — Petit theft or petty theft is the unlawful taking of property that is worth less than $300. Penalties for petit theft can include fines, probation, and even time behind bars.
- Check Fraud — Check fraud occurs when an individual, in order to obtain a service or goods, writes a check with the knowledge that there is not enough money in their account to cover the purchase. The severity of the charges depends entirely on the amount of money the check falsely represented and can result in very expensive fines and imprisonment.
- Credit Card Fraud — Credit card fraud is committed when forged or stolen cards are used, sold, or purchased. These are either treated as misdemeanors or felonies and penalties can include time behind bars and the haunting aftermath of a criminal record.
- Embezzlement — Florida considers embezzlement to be a type of property theft that involves an individual, who was given property or funds for temporary usage or safe keeping, who took that property or money for their own personal gain. It is punished according to the value taken and can result in a lengthy period of incarceration.
- False Pretenses — False pretenses, commonly known as obtaining property by false pretenses, is confused with a number of offenses, but this crime actually occurs hen an individual lies or misrepresents facts in order to obtain a property title. The severity depends entirely on the value of the stolen property and can result in significant fines and lengthy prison terms.
- Identity Theft — Identity theft is the crime of stealing another person’s identity for the purpose of obtaining funds, credit, credit cards, applying for loans, establishing accounts, leasing vehicles, and even finding employment. It is always filed as a felony and if convicted you can face several years in prison, depending on the value of the amount gained from the offense.
- Burglary — Burglary involves entering a residence or building with the intent to commit a criminal offense. The intended offense doesn’t have to be theft, but burglary and theft often go hand-in-hand. Burglary is a serious felony offense in Florida that can result in years, decades, or even life in prison, depending on the circumstances.
- Robbery — Robbery is a serious felony offense in Florida. Even a seemingly simple offense such as purse snatching can result in up to 15 years in prison. If you’re suspected of armed robbery, that’s a first-degree felony offense punishable by up to life in prison under some circumstances. If you’ve been charged with robbery, the help of a good criminal defense lawyer may be critical to avoiding a lengthy prison sentence.
- Home Invasion Robbery — This offense is described as a person entering a dwelling with the intent to illegally take money or other property and then actually carrying out the robbery. If convicted of a home invasion robbery, you may be sentenced to very harsh penalties, which can include life in prison. The right criminal defense attorney will be able to explain the serious nature of this crime and will work towards effectively defending your case.
- Forgery — Forgery is committed when a person falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any written material with the intent to defraud or injure another individual. This crime is considered a third-degree felony and punishable by hefty fines and/or up to five years in prison or probation.
Contact an Experienced Sarasota Theft Lawyer
A theft or fraud charge can leave you feeling significant stress and uncertainty about your future. You’re likely worried about whether you’ll go to jail and how that might affect your life. During this troubling time of your life, Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is here to help.
Sarasota criminal defense attorney Erika Valcarcel knows that a theft or fraud charge can have a devastating outcome if you’re convicted. That’s why she’ll look for the evidence that presents you in the best possible light, fight to protect your rights, and argue to get your charge dismissed or reduced so that you can move on with your life.
Her knowledge of the courts in Sarasota and Manatee counties gives her the ability to anticipate how local prosecutors and judges are likely to approach your case and plan a strong defense to your charge. Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today at (941) 363-7900 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation about your theft or fraud charge.