Burglary & Theft Offenses
When the term “property crimes” is used in Florida courts, it usually refers to the offenses of burglary and theft; the facts alleged will determine which category applies, and the penalties for such cases. While property offenses, except for robbery and certain types of burglary, are generally non-violent in nature, the penalties upon conviction can often be quite severe. To contest such charges, the experience of a skilled attorney is essential.
Florida law distinguishes property offenses as follows:
- Trespassing—involves entering onto the property of another without permission.
- Burglary—involves entering onto the property of another 1) without permission, and 2) with the intent to commit another offense on or inside the property. This crime is also known as breaking and entering.
- Theft—involves the taking of property of another without permission, and with the intent to deprive the owner of possession or use of the property. It does not matter whether the deprivation of use is intended to be temporary or permanent. This crime is also known as larceny.
- Robbery—involves the taking of another’s property without permission, and by the use of force, violence, assault, or putting the victim in fear of harm. Robbery, armed burglary, and burglary with assault or battery are considered violent felonies by nature, and are discussed further under Violent Felonies.
- Related Offenses—include such violations as fencing, or dealing in stolen property; running automobile “chop shops”; possessing motor vehicles with altered VIN numbers; and the like.
Theft charges are broken down into various degrees, depending on the value of the property stolen. If the property is an automobile or firearm, or if it was taken in a robbery, the value is immaterial.
- Petty theft—the property is valued at less than $300.00, or its value cannot be reliably determined.
- Grand theft, third degree—the value is between $300.00 and $20,00000.
- Grand theft, second degree—the value is between $20,000.00 and $100,000.00.
- Grand theft, first degree—the value is over $100,000.00.
While trespass and petty theft are misdemeanors under Florida law, grand theft and burglary are felonies, punishable by over one year in state prison. Either way, a conviction for a theft offense will appear on a person’s permanent record (with all the resulting damage to his or her employment prospects and personal reputation), will require payment of restitution to the victim, and may result in a long period of incarceration. The potential harm to one’s future prospects can be dire. For skilled representation in these or any other criminal matters, feel free to call The Tony Moss Firm at 877.547.9407, or e-mail him at Tony@TonyMossLaw.com.