Defense Attorney for Property Crime Charges
Property crimes cover a wide range of different types of offenses that involve the illegal appropriation or destruction of property. Property crimes are considered non-violent crimes. If violence or the threat of violence is involved in the commission of the crime, it becomes a crime against persons or a personal crime. If you’ve been arrested for a property crime, you need to take the matter seriously. Depending on the amount of the property involved and the circumstances surrounding the incident, the penalties can include jail, probation, loss of licensure, and a permanent criminal record that can be a bar to employment or educational opportunities. Contact a criminal defense attorney in South Florida immediately to discuss your charges.
Types of Property Crimes in Florida
The state of Florida categorizes property crimes by determining the amount of the property stolen or damaged and the elements of the crime. It’s not unusual to be charged with two or more property crimes for the same offense. For instance, the police frequently charge burglary and theft for the same offense since theft is not a required element of burglary. Here are some of the most common types of property crimes in Florida:
Theft and Shoplifting
Under Florida State Statute 812.014, theft can be charged if the defendant knowingly obtains property without permission in order to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the use of the property in question. In Florida, theft is usually a misdemeanor (petit theft) if the value of the property is under $300. If the value exceeds that amount, it becomes grand theft, which is a felony. Certain items, like stolen firearms, will always be charged as a felony, regardless of value. Shoplifting is a particular type of theft that involves the removal of an item from a store. If the defendant has two prior shoplifting convictions, it becomes a felony regardless of the amount.
Burglary and Trespassing
Trespassing is usually a misdemeanor in the state of Florida. Trespass means entering or remaining on the property without permission without the intention of committing a crime. The property may have posted signs, or the owner or their agent could expressly tell you to leave.
Under FSS 810.02, burglary is a felony in the state of Florida. Burglary means that you’ve entered or remained in a property with the intent to commit a crime. With burglary, it may be assumed that you were entering to commit a crime if you are caught attempting to break into a building or vehicle. Burglary can be charged with other crimes. For instance, if you were caught leaving a building that you broke into with stolen property, you would be charged with burglary and theft. If you were caught vandalizing the interior, you would be charged with burglary and criminal mischief.
This is the willful destruction of another’s property. Under FSS 806.13, the misdemeanor-felony threshold for most types of criminal mischief is $1,000. There are exceptions, though. For instance, if you cause more than $200 damage to a religious building or historical landmark, it will be charged as a felony. If you have a prior conviction for criminal mischief, it can be charged as a felony.
Arson is charged as a felony crime regardless of the occupancy of the dwelling or the amount of property damage involved. The penalties are more severe, however, if the building is occupied.
This is just a survey of property crimes in Florida. There are, of course, specific types of property crimes, like fraud or embezzlement, that are technically thefts but carry enhanced charges. For clarification about your specific charges, contact Matt Shafran of Weinstein Legal to discuss your case.
Florida Penalties for Property Crimes
The maximum penalties for property crimes follow the Florida guidelines for general penalties for felonies and misdemeanors.
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine
- First-Degree Misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Third-Degree Felony – Up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Second-Degree Felony – Up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- First-Degree Felony – Up to fifteen years in prison and a $15,000 fine
It’s important to note that all property crimes can result in a criminal record and court-ordered restitution for the victim’s losses.
What You Should Do If You’re Charged With a Property Crime
Many cases have been lost because the defendant made a mistake before they spoke with a criminal defense lawyer. The following information is not legal advice. For solid legal advice from an aggressive criminal defense lawyer, contact attorney Matt Shafran from Weinstein Legal.
- Do Not Agree to Answer Questions – You have the right to remain silent. Tell the police officers that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions.
- Do Not Try to Lie Your Way Out of Charges – If you try to lie, you can be charged with additional crimes. The prosecution can also bring up your obstruction during a trial, which could prejudice the jury against you.
- Do Not Resist Arrest – Fighting with the police is a losing proposition, and it complicates your case.
- Contact an Attorney – The assistant state attorneys who prosecute property crimes cases in Broward and Palm Beach counties are sharp and effective. You need representation from a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to defend your rights.
Areas We Serve for Property Crime Charges
Attorney Matt Shafran from Weinstein Legal represents individuals accused of all felony and misdemeanor property crimes as well as other charges. Whether you’ve been arrested for theft, burglary, criminal mischief, fraud, or another type of charge, you will significantly increase your chances of beating the charge by hiring a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Many people charged with crimes, particularly misdemeanors, believe that it’s better to save money by using a court-appointed attorney, but this is usually not in their best interests. While the public defenders in South Florida are dedicated lawyers, most of them are assigned unmanageable caseloads. This means that they don’t have enough time to dedicate to their clients’ cases.
We represent individuals in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County including the following areas:
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Coral Springs
- Delray Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Lake Worth
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- West Palm Beach
Contact Weinstein Legal at 866-679-1603 for a free legal consultation regarding your case.
Broward and Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer
Don’t risk jail or prison if you’ve been charged with a property crime. Matt Shafran of Weinstein Legal can examine your case and determine the best defense. If attorney Shafran believes that accepting a plea deal is your best option, you will have the final say in the matter. If you’ve been arrested or are aware that you’re the subject of an investigation, contact Weinstein Legal as soon as possible. Schedule your appointment today.