Orlando Petit Theft and Grand Theft Lawyer
For Orange County prosecutors, many criminal cases are relatively straightforward. The prosecutor calls arresting officers and perhaps an eyewitness or two to the stand, introduces any physical evidence, and that is about it. But theft is much more complex. Many cases involve long strings of accounts as money changes hands among shell entities. Furthermore, most theft cases hinge upon the alleged victim’s testimony. Such testimony is not always easy to secure.
Former prosecutor Dan Sercombe knows these things better than most people. During his years as a state’s attorney, he handled countless theft cases. Now as an Orlando theft criminal defense lawyer, he brings all his skills and experience to bear for you. The professional team at Sercombe Law is dedicated to successful outcomes for all our valued clients. Once you step inside our office, you will experience the difference for yourself.
Orlando Petit Theft Defense Attorney
Florida law defines petit theft (petty theft) as taking property with a value of less than $300. Three key words in this statute bear closer examination:
- Taking: Moving property without the owner’s permission is one form of theft. But there are others. Under-ringing goods at the register, switching price tags, and returning rented or borrowed property well after the return date may also constitute “taking” as well.
- Property: Somewhat similarly, “property” includes both tangible and intangible items. Most theft cases in Orange County court involve cash or other tangible property. A few involved trade secrets or other intangible property, but these offenses are usually federal crimes.
- Value: The property must have some objective value at the time the defendant allegedly stole it. Sentimental value does not count, and the purchase amount is irrelevant.
Petit theft is punishable by up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine. Furthermore, much like DUI, there are some collateral consequences. The judge may suspend the defendant’s drivers’ license for up to a year. Furthermore, theft is a crime of moral turpitude which could haunt the defendant almost indefinitely.
To avoid some or all of these consequences, an Orlando petit theft defense attorney can use a number of defenses, including:
- Equal ownership (people cannot steal their own property, even if there is a co-owner),
- Good faith possession (no intent to steal another person’s property),
- Mere presence (you are not guilty of shoplifting if your buddy steals something while you are by his side), and
- Valueless property (see the above discussion about property value).
Defenses like these make it extremely difficult for prosecutors to establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
Orlando Grand Theft Lawyer
Grand theft is either theft of property worth more than $300 at the time of the offense, or theft of certain kinds of property. There are three levels of grand theft:
- First-degree Grand Theft (any property worth more than $100,000 or any shipping cargo worth more than $50,000),
- Second-degree Grand Theft (value $20,000 to $100,000, shipping cargo worth less than $50,000, or emergency medical equipment worth more than $300), and
- First-degree Grand Theft (value $300 to $20,000, will, motor vehicle, or firearm).
All these offenses are felonies.
The petit theft defenses outlined above are available in grand theft cases as well. Additionally, witness availability may be an issue. Typically, if the owner lives more than 150 miles away from the courthouse, that person is beyond the court’s subpoena power.
Both grand and petit theft could lead to serious consequences. For a free consultation with a reputable Orlando petit and grand theft defense attorney, get in touch with Dan Sercombe today.
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