At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our attorneys represent people charged with embezzlement, fraud, and similar white collar offenses. We are former prosecutors who understand how law enforcement approaches these cases. We are also aggressive Tampa Bay embezzlement lawyers who work tirelessly to help clients build thorough and strategic defenses to the charges against them. Our attorneys take the time to understand each client’s individual situation so that we can articulate their version of events as persuasively as possible to a judge or jury.Penalties for Embezzlement in Florida
The term “embezzlement” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Under Florida law, the term is generally used to describe a type of theft of something of value by a person who is entrusted with the property. An employee with access to company money, trade secrets, or intellectual property, for example, is likely to face embezzlement charges if he or she steals the property or transfers it without permission. Embezzlement cases are often charged under the state’s theft law. The penalties for a conviction vary widely based on the value of the property involved.
Florida law makes the theft of property worth between $300 and $20,000 a third-degree felony. The crime is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. You may also be required to pay the cost of replacing the stolen property if it is damaged or lost. The fines and prison time go up for the theft of items worth more than $20,000, a second-degree felony. That crime comes with up to 15 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
In some cases, embezzlement may also be a federal crime. Federal criminal laws impose a separate set of punishments that also vary according to the value of the property involved. Since we are familiar with the federal criminal justice system, our embezzlement attorneys can help Tampa Bay residents protect their rights against prosecution at the federal level as well.Defenses in Embezzlement Cases
A person charged with embezzlement, theft, or any other crime in Florida has a number of possible defenses under the law. It is important to understand that prosecutors bear the burden of proof at all times. In other words, it is on them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the specific crime with which you have been charged. The fact that it may be reasonably possible that you committed the crime is not enough.
Some of the most common defenses in embezzlement cases concern the question of intent. To secure a conviction, prosecutors not only need to show that you took the property but also that you did it with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property. A simple mistake or misunderstanding is not a case of embezzlement or theft under state law, and our Tampa Bay embezzlement attorneys can help you present evidence to show an honest mistake if this was what happened in your case.
Take the case of an employee charged with embezzling company money or other property, for example. If the employee were duped into transferring the money or property to criminals, he or she did not have the intent needed for an embezzlement conviction. If the employee makes a mistake or otherwise believes that he or she is acting in the company’s interests, that also likely means that the prosecution will not have enough evidence to sustain a charge.Talk to an Experienced Embezzlement Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Area Today
We understand the complicated legal issues that are often involved in embezzlement and other white collar crime cases. We also know what matters to judges and juries who are tasked with deciding them. Our firm has a strong track record of success for defendants in criminal cases, including white collar crimes like embezzlement, unlicensed contracting, and many forms of fraud. We represent people in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding cities. Call us at 727-286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.