A theft arrest can leave you feeling ashamed, embarrassed and worried about your future, especially in a case involving a more serious felony crime, such as grand theft. A criminal record that includes a theft conviction — whether you’re charged and convicted for shoplifting, petit theft or a more serious grand theft charge — can pose many challenges in the future, compromising your ability to secure a new job, an apartment or even enroll in college.
At the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, we are committed to providing our clients with the legal defense services they need to maximize their chances of seeing a positive case outcome. Our firm was established by two very experienced defense attorneys with over 50 years of combined experience. We have worked hard to earn our reputation as one of the finest defense law firms in the region. We serve clients throughout Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach County and Martin County, Florida.
Our elite team of theft attorneys are ready to help defend your case and fight for your freedom. So if you or a loved one has been arrested for theft or a related charge, contact the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman for a confidential case consultation. Call (561) 838-9793.
Common Questions and Concerns Following a Florida Theft Arrest
An arrest on charges of theft can be embarrassing, and a conviction on this type of charge can impact your life in some very negative ways. For this reason, it’s important to trust your case to an experienced theft attorney who is willing to answer your questions and address your concerns as your case proceeds through the legal system.
We believe it’s important to keep our clients involved throughout the duration of their case. Therefore, our team of criminal defense attorneys have compiled an overview of a few common queries that we may address with client facing theft charges.
What is Restitution?
Restitution is common amongst the court orders that are issued when an individual strikes a plea agreement, is found guilty or pleads guilty to a theft-related charge. Restitution involves repaying the money that was stolen from a victim. Or, in the case of a theft involving property, the victim will be provided with sufficient funds to replace the stolen property.
What is Petit Theft?
Second-degree petit theft is amongst least serious theft offenses, filed in cases where the stolen property is valued at $99.99 or less. This is considered a misdemeanor charge and in Florida, the maximum penalty typically consists of 60 days in jail, plus a $500 fine.
First-degree petit theft is filed when the item is valued between $100 and $299. This is a misdemeanor charge, with a maximum penalty that typically includes a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
In the case of a habitual offender who has been convicted of two or more theft-related crimes in the past, the prosecutor could prosecute the case as a felony, which carries a maximum of a $5,000 fine and five years in jail.
What is Grand Theft?
In Florida, a charge of grand theft is typically filed in a case involving property valued at $300 or more.
Third-degree grand theft is the least serious of the three types of grand theft in Florida. This applies to the theft of money or property valued between $300 to $19,999.
In addition, there are certain items that are always classified as third-degree grand theft, even if the monetary value is less than $300. This includes:
commercial farm animals;
stop signs and construction signs;
anhydrous ammonia; and
2,000 pieces of fruit or more (primarily applicable in regions of Florida where citrus is farmed.)
Third-degree grand theft has a maximum penalty of $5,000 and five years in jail.
Second-degree grand theft is a bit more serious, as it applies to cases involving the theft of money or items with a value of $20,000 to $99,999. A conviction on this charge could lead to a fine of $10,000 and up to 15 years in jail.
First-degree grand theft is the most serious of all the grand theft charges in Florida. This charge may be filed in a case involving money or property with a value of $100,000 or more. A conviction on charges of first-degree grand theft can carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Any and all of these grand theft charges may also include an order to pay restitution to the victim(s).
What is the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary?
Robbery is defined as the theft of money and/or property from another person’s possession using force, violence or other measures, such as threats. Theft, on the other hand, does not entail taking an item from a person’s possession.
Burglary, or breaking and entering, entails stealing money and/or property after entering a non-publicly accessible dwelling, structure or conveyance with the intent to commit theft. Theft, on the other hand, does not involve this element of breaking and entering.
What is Florida’s Fingerprint Rule?
Florida has something known as “the fingerprint rule.” If a person is found guilty of petit theft, they will need to provide fingerprints in the presence of a court judge.
These fingerprints are kept in a database which is referenced by authorities who are investigating crimes.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Theft Defense Lawyer?
The cost of hiring a lawyer will depend on upon many variables, such as the complexity of your case and the duration of your case-related proceedings. A case that’s resolved out-of-court in a matter of several weeks will typically have far lower legal fees than a serious case that concludes in a trial and takes months to resolve.
Therefore, we recommend contacting our theft lawyers to discuss the specifics of your case. This information will provide us with the insight we need to provide a more accurate idea of what you can expect to pay in legal fees.
How can a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney help my theft case?
The earlier you can hire an attorney the better, in theft cases most victims want to be made whole. An attorney can negotiate early for you and help, at times, avoid charges.
In West Palm Beach, what are the differences between burglary, robbery, and larceny?
Robbery involves force or threat of force and is considered a violent crime. Burglary doesn’t necessarily involve a theft/taking, just the intent to commit a crime inside a residence or structure and larceny is the actual taking without force.
Can I be charged for receiving stolen property in West Palm Beach?
Yes, if you have knowledge that the item is stolen.
Will I still be convicted if I just give the property back?
Sometimes, it will depend on the circumstances and what is stolen.
What are the potential consequences of conviction of theft in West Palm Beach?
Prison and or jail time, probation, restitution, and loss of civil rights.
Turn to a Top Palm Beach Law Firm for Help After a Theft Arrest
Florida has some strict theft laws, and a conviction can impact an individual for life, resulting in challenges such as difficulties securing a job or renting an apartment. It’s important to seek help from a qualified theft defense lawyer who has the experience and the strategies required to bring about the best possible outcome to your case.
Attorneys with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman are available to assist with theft cases, ranging from a misdemeanor charge of second-degree petit theft to a far more serious crime like robbery or first-degree grand theft charge. We also deal with a number of other practice areas, such as white collar crimes, drug crimes, and violent crimes.
If you or a member of your family is facing a theft charge, contact the Palm Beach defense lawyers with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman to arrange a confidential and free consultation. Call (561) 838-9793.