If you were arrested for Theft in Crestview, you have just been through a humiliating process. Whether you were arrested and booked at the jail, or released with a Notice to Appear, you still had to see everyone looking at you and judging you. If you hated that feeling, take steps now to make sure you never have to feel that way again.
My name is Tim Flaherty. My partner, Brandy Merrifield, and I are Crestview theft defense lawyers. We defend locals, military members, and visitors who have been accused of a theft crime. We offer a free consultation, so give Flaherty & Merrifield a call at (850) 398-8098. We are ready to start working on putting this embarrassing incident behind you.
Common Theft offenses in Crestview
In Crestview, the two most common Theft charges are Retail Theft (Shoplifting), and Grand Theft. Shoplifting is usually a misdemeanor, and Grand Theft is always a felony. For more information about either of those charges, you can click the link below:
What is Theft under Florida law?
Florida Statute 812.014 provides the legal definition of Theft. The State must prove these two elements beyond a reasonable doubt before someone can be convicted of theft:
- Defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used the property of the victim.
- Defendant did so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, (a) deprive a victim of his right to the property or any benefit from it, or (b) appropriate the property for his or her own use, or to the use of any person not entitled to it.
Is Theft a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Crestview?
A Theft charge can either be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property in question.
The most common type of misdemeanor theft is Shoplifting (Retail Theft). Shoplifting is punishable by up to 1 year in jail or on probation, along with a $1000.00 fine, a shoplifter’s awareness class, community service work, and a conviction on your record as a thief.
Felony Theft is also known as Grand Theft. Depending on the amount stolen, penalties range from 5 years to 30 years in prison. Here are a few examples:
3rd Degree Grand Theft (maximum sentence 5 years in prison)
- Credit Card Fraud
- Theft of an Automobile
- Pawn Fraud under $300.00
- Writing a Worthless Check over $150.00
- Theft from an Elderly victim between $300.00 and $10,000.00
- Theft of a Firearm
- Shoplifting—3rd offense
- Grand Theft between $750.00 and $20,000.00
2nd degree Grand Theft (maximum sentence 15 years prison)
- Pawn Fraud over $300.00
- Dealing in Stolen Property
- Grand Theft over $20,000.00 but less than $100,000.00
First Degree Grand Theft (maximum penalty 30 years prison)
- Grand Theft using a motor vehicle as a getaway vehicle
- Grand Theft with damage to someone’s property in excess of $1000.00
- Grand Theft of $10,000.00 or more from the Elderly
How will an attorney defend me if I am charged with Theft in Crestview?
At this stage of the case, nothing has been decided yet. No conviction has been entered against you. That means you still have a chance at avoiding a permanent conviction on your record.
Our approach to defending Theft cases is to look at the elements of the offense and see where we can poke holes in the State’s theory of the case. Here are a few examples:
- Can the State prove that the victim actually owned the property in question?
- Can the State prove that the property was stolen and not misplaced or given as a gift?
- Is there evidence to prove that you had the intent to steal someone’s property?
- Can the State prove the actual dollar value of the property that was taken? This is crucial in felony cases where the amount in question is what makes the charge a felony.
- Was the property recovered or did the victim already receive restitution?
What is Restitution and how will it affect my case?
Restitution is an amount of money that is designed to “make the victim whole.” Another way to put it is that restitution is a form of damages that compensates the victim for the loss they have suffered.
We use restitution as a means of leveraging results for our clients. Sometimes, if our client agrees to pay restitution up front, the victim agrees to dismiss the case, or agree to a lesser sentence.
If we are not able to agree to an amount of restitution ahead of time, the Court will reserve jurisdiction over the issue and schedule a Restitution Hearing. At the hearing, the State will be required to prove the exact dollar value of the loss suffered by the victim. We also have the opportunity to argue for a lesser amount.
Here are a few examples of losses usually covered by Restitution:
- Medical bills
- Repair bills for property that was damaged
- Replacement cost for property that was stolen and not recovered
- Lost wages for time spent recovering from injury
- Lost wages for time spent in court dealing with the case
Can Pretrial Diversion be used to get my Crestview Theft case dismissed?
We always look to see if there is a way to win the case. If we can get the case dismissed, you move on with your life with a clean slate.
In cases where the facts and circumstances don’t allow for a complete dismissal, there are still options that end up with the same result. One of those options is a program called Pretrial Diversion. With a pretrial diversion agreement, you and the State agree, in writing, to a set of conditions that you will complete. If you complete those conditions, and don’t get arrested again, the State agrees to dismiss the case.
If the case is dismissed, and you don’t have any other convictions on your record, you may also be eligible for a Record Expungment. An expungment removes your arrest from public record so it wont show up on your record.
Once the case is dismissed and expunged, you will truly have a fresh start with a clean slate.
If you have been charged with a theft crime in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098.