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Theft Crimes in Palm Beach County, FL

Florida law categorizes crimes involving property in two different ways. The first involves the theft or taking of property, while the second way involves trespassing on or damaging property. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense, if you are arrested for a theft or property crime, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges.

Theft and property crimes are serious offenses, which an carry severe penalties. If you are facing charges for theft, shoplifting, vandalism, trespassing, arson, or any other property crime, then contact an experienced attorney for theft and property crimes in Delray Beach, FL, and the surrounding areas of Palm Beach County.

At McLaughlin Morris, P.A., we focus on theft crimes from petit theft for shoplifting to more serious felony offenses for grand theft. Call us to find out how we fight these charges. As former prosecutors we understand how the other side works. We will use our knowledge to help you receive the best possible outcome. Call us today at (561) 404-0529, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to schedule a free consultation.


Overview on Theft and Property Crimes in Florida


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What is Theft?

Theft is defined by § 812.014 of the Florida Statutes as when an individual knowingly obtains or uses the property of another with the intent either to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the right to or benefit of the property.


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Crimes Involving Theft of Property

Some of the most common types of theft crimes committed in Palm Beach are defined by the Florida Statutes below:

Shoplifting (Fla. Stat. § 812.015) (often called "retail theft"): An individual is guilty of this offense, if he or she steals a retail item from a store, alters the labels or tags on an item, or puts the item in a different container for the purpose of defrauding the store. Depending on the value of the merchandise stolen, this offense can range from a second degree misdemeanor to a second degree felony.

Petit Theft (Fla. Stat. § 812.014): If an individual intentionally takes property belonging to someone else and intends on keeping the property, then he or she can be charged with petit theft. If the value of the stolen property is less than $100, it is considered a second degree misdemeanor. If the value is between $100 and $300, it can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor.

Grand Theft (Fla. Stat. § 812.014): When the value of property stolen from an individual is over $300, the offender can be charged with a first, second, or third degree felony.


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Trespassing and Damaging Property

Property crimes can involve damaging, trespassing, or unlawfully gaining entrance into a building or structure. Common property crimes in Palm Beach include:

Criminal Mischief (Fla. Stat. § 806.13): If an individual intentionally and maliciously damages or places graffiti on property belonging to someone else, then he or she is guilty of criminal mischief or vandalism. Depending on the value of the damage inflicted, an individual can face third degree felony, first degree misdemeanor, or second degree misdemeanor charges.

Criminal Trespass (Fla. Stat. § 810.08): This offense occurs when an individual enters property he or she is not authorized to enter. If the offender had authorization or permission to enter the property, but was asked by the owner to vacate the premises and refused to do so, then he or she is guilty of criminal trespass. If arrested for this offense, an individual will usually face first or second degree misdemeanor charges.

Arson (Fla. Stat. § 806.01): When an individual willfully and intentionally damages a building, dwelling, or any other structure, by use of fire or explosives, then he or she can be charged with arson. In Florida, arson is usually considered a second or third degree felony.


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Penalties for Theft or Property Crimes in Palm Beach

The penalties for theft and property crimes can vary from case to case. Some of the factors that can influence penalties include the value of the stolen property, the value of the damaged property, whether or not the offender’s actions put anyone else in immediate danger, or whether or not a weapon was used during the commission of the offense. According to Florida Statute § 775.082 and § 775.083 the penalties for theft and property crimes are as follows:

As mentioned above, the penalties for theft and property crimes depend largely upon the circumstances involved in the alleged offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach may be able to find mitigating factors that could lead to having your charges and potential penalties reduced, if you are convicted of a crime.


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Working with a Theft Lawyer in Palm Beach County

If charged with a theft or property crime, you should take immediate action and hire an accomplished Delray Beach defense lawyer to fight for you. The attorneys at McLaughlin Morris, P.A. will approach your case with the vigor and aggression necessary to ensure your rights are protected.

Theft crimes in Palm Beach County can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the fair market value of the item taken, any prior convictions and a host of other factors. In many of these case, the person accused of theft is not actually guilty because they have some lawful claim to the property or the taking occurs as the result of a misunderstanding or mistake of fact. An accusation of theft is particularly serious because it is considered a “crime of dishonesty.” A conviction for a crime of dishonesty must be disclosed in even the most basic job applications and background checks. Theft charges can cause immigration problems and other collateral consequences will last a lifetime.

Theft crimes are punishable by incarceration, probation and fines and court costs. In many of the cases the person is required to pay restitution if the items taken are not returned. The person might also be required to undergo counseling or perform community service.

We represent clients in and around Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, including in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami. We are ready to fight for you! Call us today at (561) 404-0529, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to schedule a free consultation with our team of defense attorneys.

Call to find out more about how we fight theft and grand theft cases in Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas of Tequesta, Palm Springs, Palm Beach, Pahokee, North Palm Beach, Lantana, Lake Park, Boca Raton, or West Palm Beach. With offices conveniently located in Delray Beach, we can help you find out more about defenses that might apply to your case and ways to fight for the absolute best result.

This article was last updated on Friday, August 21, 2015.


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