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Grand Theft on the Rise in Palm Beach County, FL

GavelCuffsOpen-S-150x150In the State of Florida, if you are being accused or have been freshly arrested for Grand Theft, you must act quickly in obtaining a criminal lawyer. Palm Beach County has recently witnessed several newsworthy arrests for the crimes of grand theft. Recent allegations lodged against Palm Beach residents include “stealing from a West Palm Beach condominium association,” “taking money from a Royal Palm Beach employee,” and “thefts of mailboxes from the Acreage/Loxahatchee area.”

Under Florida law Grand Theft is defined under 812.014 as: A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with the intent to, either temporarily or permanently: (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property or (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. Florida law then breaks down the level of Felony by what was allegedly stolen from the owner. If the property stolen is valued from $20,000.00 or higher, the defendant will be charged with a Felony of the First Degree. If the Property stolen is higher than $300.00 but less than $20,000.00 the Defendant will be charged with a Felony of the Third Degree. There are also several named items in the Florida theft statute that raise the crime of theft in Florida to a felony with examples being: firearms, a person’s will or codicil, any motor vehicle, a stop sign, a fire extinguisher and several other less recognized items.

Victims of theft crimes really only want their property back, and this is good for the defendant accused of taking the property of another. Under Florida Law the prosecutor of each County, the State Attorney, assigns criminal cases to his or her line prosecutors known as Assistant State Attorneys, who are responsible for one thing; prosecuting Floridians and its guest for committing criminal acts. Assistant State Attorneys have Victim Witness Advocates working with them, who reach out to victims of theft cases to ascertain what type of relief the “theft victim” would like. Overwhelming in over a decade of practicing law, West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine has heard “All I want is my money or items back” from victims of thefts. This is music to criminal lawyers’ ears, because it means the likelihood of his client going to jail or harshly sentenced is remote.

Under Florida Law the victim wishes are an important consideration that each Assistant State Attorney; and the sentencing Judge, take into account when determining what sentence is appropriate and what sentence should be met out. By hiring a proactive criminal defense lawyer, who reaches out to the victim and the prosecutor, on criminal Grand Theft cases is of utmost importance in a positive outcome in your criminal case. When victims get their property back, they will provide positive fed back to the prosecutor who will then work out a deal with the defendant through his or her criminal defense lawyer.

Giving back the property to one who was a victim of Grand Theft is considered restitution, which under Florida Law is mandatory. Restitution can be made before or after sentencing by the court. Restitution is mandatory under Florida law. Fair market value, rather than replacement value, is the appropriate measure of compensation in calculating restitution in Florida. See I.M. v. State, 917 So. 2d 927 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005).  So if the defendant stole $30,000.00 then he or she owes back $30,000.00 to the victim. If the item stolen was a television then what it cost to replace the same or similar television will be considered the value of the restitution. The calculation of the restitution is factual and not a guessing game. Restitution is to put the victim in the same position he or she was before the theft occurred.

Additionally, the Federal Courts have ruled that Bankruptcy proceeding do no discharge criminal restitution orders because principles of Federalism do not allow a Federal Courts to interfere with a state criminal sentencing order. See In Re Jason Derek Troff, Debtor. (U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit March 15, 2007). So given Florida Law that restitution in Grand Theft cases is mandatory and under Federal Law that restitution is not dischargeable under Bankruptcy proceedings the defendant in Grand Theft cases will end up paying Restitution one way or the other.

If you are accused of grand theft and want to make it go away, then contact Palm Beach’s criminal defense attorney Andrew D. Stine. West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine has been working with defendants charged with grand theft cases for over a decade and has hundreds of theft cases under his belt. The majority of theft cases that Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine handles gets dismissed or Nolle Prosed. The “Road Map to Success” that Attorney Andrew D. Stine has developed can be put to use to navigate you or loved down the road of Grand Theft. So contact Andrew D. Stine today and find out why they say: “Hire Stine or do the Time.”

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