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Defenses to Theft in Florida

Theft2

Under Florida Statutes Section 812.014, theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. It all depends on the value of the stolen property. In fact, a person who steals $100,000 or more can face first-degree felony charges. These crimes are generally punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What this means is that if you are convicted of a theft crime, there’s a lot at stake. It’s not a simple crime that you can just brush off as if nothing happened. A theft crime can follow you for the rest of your life.

Because of this, you need to protect yourself with a solid defense. A skilled criminal defense lawyer should be able to find the right defenses for your situation. Here’s a look at some of the most commonly used ones for theft crimes.

Possible Defenses 

Here are some possible defenses to theft crimes:

  • Ownership or legal right. If the accused can prove they were the rightful owner of the property or had a legal right to possess it, they may have a defense against theft.
  • Lack of intent. One of the essential elements of theft is intent. If the accused can demonstrate that they did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the property, it can be a defense to theft charges.
  • Claim of right. In some cases, individuals might genuinely believe they have a right to the property they are accused of stealing. For instance, they might claim they were retrieving property they believed was unlawfully taken from them.
  • Duress or coercion. If someone was compelled to commit theft under threat of harm to themselves or others, they may have a defense of duress or coercion.
  • Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If the defendant can prove they were coerced or persuaded by law enforcement to commit theft, they might have a defense based on entrapment.
  • Mistake of fact. A mistake of fact defense occurs when the defendant can show they had a genuine and reasonable belief that they had the right to take the property.
  • If the owner of the property consented to the defendant taking it, there may not be grounds for theft charges. However, the consent must be genuine and not obtained through fraud or deception.
  • Insufficient evidence. If the prosecution fails to present sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed theft, the defendant may be acquitted.

Contact Us Today

Theft is a crime in which penalties can vary dramatically, depending on the amount of money or value of the item stolen. Theft crimes can lead to many years in jail, so make sure you get a solid defense.

To learn more about crafting a defense to your own criminal charges, please reach out to a dedicated Florida criminal defense lawyer from Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. We’ll help you understand your legal options. Call 561-626-8880 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.

Source:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0812/Sections/0812.014.html

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