The experienced advocates at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. represent people charged with various types of theft offenses, ranging from shoplifting to more serious crimes like grand theft. A criminal conviction can come with serious consequences. Just being suspected of a crime can be a stressful, uncertain experience, even if you have not been formally charged. To take the burden off your shoulders, you should get an experienced Tampa Bay grand theft lawyer in your corner from the very beginning of the process. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who have dedicated their professional lives to navigating the criminal justice system. We fight aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible while carefully building defenses for trial when necessary.Penalties in Grand Theft Cases
Theft crimes are largely classified based on the value of the items allegedly stolen. In order to qualify as grand theft in Florida, the stolen items must be worth $300 or more. The theft of property worth $300 to less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony. It is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. You may also be forced to pay the cost to replace 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. Anyone convicted of grand theft will also have a criminal record, which may make it difficult to find and keep a job.Grand Theft Defenses
There are a number of potential defenses that a grand theft attorney in the Tampa Bay region may be able to make on your behalf. The burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the specific crime with which you have been charged. Showing that it may be possible that you committed the crime is not enough.
It is also important to understand that state law makes intent an element of grand theft. In other words, prosecutors need to prove that you intended to deprive the owner of the property of his or her items. If you had a valid reason to believe that you owned the property or that the owner allowed you to borrow it, you did not have the intent to steal. It can be difficult to get inside a person’s head and establish what he or she was thinking at any given time. Prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence that shows that a person charged with theft acted in a way indicating that he or she intended to steal the property.
The law also offers a defense to a person who takes property out of duress or necessity. To prove this defense, your Tampa Bay grand theft attorney would need to show that you took the property to avoid some harm that is worse than the harm that you caused the owner.
Property valuation issues often come up in Florida theft cases. Although they are not a complete defense, valuation disputes can affect the severity of the penalties in the event that you are convicted. Courts typically use market value in theft cases, but that value often depends on the specific quality and condition of the property involved. Expert witnesses can play a key role.Contact a Dedicated Grand Theft Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Area
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we have decades of combined experience in serious criminal cases. We recognize the magnitude of the consequences that you may be facing, and we leave no stone unturned in investigating a case and using all of the strategies that may be at a defendant’s disposal. Our firm has a strong track record of success for clients in theft cases, such as those involving burglary as well as grand theft or other crimes. 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.