Grand theft is taken very seriously in the state of Florida and it is always filed as a felony. Harsh sentences often result, such as huge fines and time spent in state prison. If you have been accused of grand theft, you are likely worried about having to face these consequences. Sarasota theft lawyer Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. understands how this type of charge can impact a person’s life. Through her years spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, she can anticipate how the prosecution will approach your case. Whether it involves pointing out rights violations or conducting an investigation, she will work tirelessly to protect your freedom.
Call (941) 363-7900 now to see how your charges can be reduced or eliminated in court, if possible.
Florida Grand Theft Laws
Many types of theft are punished under Florida’s grand theft laws. According to section 812.014 of the Florida statutes, this crime is defined as intentionally and illegally stealing property that is worth more than $300. With grand theft, specific intent is required to reach a conviction. This means that not only did the accused take the item, but they did so with the intent of stealing or depriving the owner of possession of the property or the property’s benefits. In most cases, even attempting to steal an item that is worth more than $300 is enough to be charged with grand theft.
Penalties and Collateral Consequences
The criminal penalties for grand theft vary tremendously. They depend entirely on the value of the property that was stolen. A third-degree felony charge may be assigned if the value of the property is between $300 and $20,000, whereas the theft of an item valued between $20,000 and $100,000 might be filed as a second-degree felony. When the crime is especially severe and involves the theft of property worth more than $100,000, the offense will likely be filed as a first-degree felony. The various penalties for grand theft include, but are not limited to:
- Third Degree Felony: A fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years on probation or in prison
- Second Degree Felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years on probation or in prison
- First Degree Felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison
A criminal conviction, especially one involving dishonesty, can have collateral consequences that can haunt you for life. Finding a job once you are released, for example, might be all but impossible. Few employers jump at the chance to hire someone with a criminal record. Your attempts to continue your education might also be stifled, as most colleges and universities vet applicants before admitting them. What’s more, many scholarships are off-limits to those who have conviction histories.
Defending Against Grand Theft Charges
There are a number of strategies that an experienced lawyer can use to get your charges reduced or thrown out in court. One of the most effective defenses in grand theft cases is proving that you did not have specific intent. Perhaps you believed the property was yours, or maybe you left the item on your person by mistake. It might also be the case that you acted out of necessity. If you took the property because it was needed for an emergency, it is likely that your charges will be dropped.
Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Today
A grand theft charge can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life. From a ruined career to altered relationships, there is no area left unaffected. With considerable experience in Sarasota grand theft cases, attorney Erika Valcarcel knows how difficult it can be to cope with these charges. She believes that the key to protecting your freedom is listening to your side of the story. Once all of the details have been realized, your case can be presented in the best possible light.
Call (941) 363-7900 today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.