Theft & Burglary Attorney in Clermont, Florida
Theft, burglary, breaking and entering, robbery, larceny, and shoplifting are different crimes but often lumped into a single category. However, it’s incredibly important to know what distinguishes one charger from another—your future may depend on it.
If you have been charged with theft or burglary in Clermont, Florida, or in Lake, Polk, Seminole, or Sumter County, you should be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Regardless of your innocence, guilt, or extenuating circumstances, you are entitled to a solid defense. For more than 20 years, Law Offices of D.D. Archer, PA has represented clients charged with theft, burglary, or both in Florida. Our team is ready to defend you every step of the way.
What Is Theft in Florida?
Theft is a property crime because it involves depriving someone of their property. If you knowingly took, used, or attempted to use something that belongs to someone, either temporarily or permanently, you may be charged with theft.
The severity of theft charges largely depends on the value of the property taken or used. Petit theft is generally charged as a misdemeanor while grand theft is charged as a felony. Charges also depend on the circumstances of the theft. For example, if the property was obtained off the person of the owner or in their home while they were present, the charges may be more serious.
Larceny is theft under Florida law. However, theft involves the taking or using of services or items while larceny is specifically the taking away of property, for example, stealing a bicycle or shoplifting. As with theft, there are petit larceny and grand larceny charges, based on the value of the property in question.
Receiving stolen property is also addressed under Florida’s theft statutes. This charge is a felony, involving the sale, transfer, planning, or trafficking of property known to be or should reasonably have been known to be stolen.
What Is Burglary in Florida?
Like theft, burglary is a property crime in Florida, but it does not require the actual taking of someone else’s property. Rather, burglary involves entering someone’s else property without consent; thus, violating their space. The following constitute burglary under Florida law:
Entering a home or other space not normally open to the public, intending to commit a crime;
Using false pretenses to gain entry to a private space, intending to commit a crime;
Remaining in a space where permission to be there was revoked (as in hiding in a storeroom until a business is closed to commit a theft); and,
Entering a premises by using or attempting to use force, as in breaking and entering.
Note that intent is an important factor here. Burglary is always charged as a felony offense in Florida, but trespassing, which is being in or on property without the owner’s consent but without intent to commit a crime, is a misdemeanor offense.
The degree of felony burglary depends on several factors. Burglary of a residence is more serious than of a commercial building. The use of weapons is more serious, as is the presence of other people on the property at the time of the offense.
What Are Some Defenses Against Theft & Burglary Charges?
As with any criminal charges, the prosecution must provide evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the crime. The defenses used in your case will depend upon the specific circumstances. However, some general defenses include mistaken identity, the belief that the property taken belonged to you, and a lack of evidence that you took possession of the property.
The lack of intent is a major defense against burglary charges. The prosecution must prove that you intended to commit a crime when you entered a property without permission. Proving what someone was thinking, planning, or intending to do is often a challenging proposition, and one your attorney can use in your defense.
What Are Possible Penalties for a Theft or Burglary Conviction?
Of course, penalties for a Florida theft or burglary conviction are more severe when the charges are more serious. Penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor are far less severe than those for a first-degree felony conviction. Moreover, conviction on additional charges may also increase the potential penalties, such as a theft conviction added to a burglary conviction.
In general, penalties may include restitution, fines, community service, probation, and jail or prison sentences, up to and including life in prison.
Theft & Burglary Defense Attorney Serving Clermont, Florida
Theft and burglary charges at any level should never be faced without experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive legal counsel on your side. Our criminal defense attorney understands what you are facing, and our team will strive to achieve the best outcome for you and your future. If you have been charged with theft or burglary in Clermont, Florida, or the surrounding counties, set up a consultation with us at Law Offices of D.D. Archer, PA.