Palm Beach County Crime Report
Overall crime in Palm Beach County slightly decreased from the first half of this year compared to the same time period last year, according to statistics released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
According to the semi-annual Uniform Crime Reports, the total crime index in Palm Beach County decreased by .3 percent for the six-month period from January through June of 2012 compared to the first half of 2011.
The county saw a slight decrease in crimes including murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.
An increase was reported in robbery and larceny crimes.
The slight decrease in overall crime jibes with the state’s crime statistics as well. Overall crime in the state decreased 3.8 percent from the six-month period last year to this year, the report says. The number is the lowest since 2008.
Murders and forcible rapes increased in the state while robberies, aggravated assaults, larcenies and burglaries decreased. A total of 359,051 violent crimes were reported in the state this year through June. That’s the lowest number of violent crimes since 2008, the report says (source).
Larceny is basically stealing. Grand larceny is stealing something large or valuable. Petty larceny is stealing something small or of minimal value. Shoplifting is generally regarded as a form of petty larceny. Legally speaking, larceny is defined as the “trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with intent to legally deprive him therein.” (source)
Robbery is basically larceny plus the added element of force or intimidation. So, if I threaten to harm you unless you give me your bracelet, I’m committing a robbery. If I point a gun at the cashier and order her to empty out the cash register, I’m committing an armed robbery. Think about this: If a pickpocket lifts your wallet from your back pocket, that’s larceny (it’s just stealing with no force or intimidation). But if a mugger approaches you on the street and holds you up at gunpoint and then steals your wallet, that’s a robbery.
Burglary involves the element of breaking and entering. You might think of it as larceny plus breaking and entering. When a person breaks into your house and steals the money out of your safe, that person has burglarized your home. At common law, burglary was characterized as the breaking and entering into a dwelling house at night with intent to commit the crime inside, but of course today a criminal can burglarize a business or any other kind of structure, at day or at night.
West Palm Beach Petty and Grand Theft Defense Attorney
In Florida, the seriousness of a theft charge depends upon the amount taken. Theft of $300 or less is misdemeanor petty theft, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Theft or embezzlement of more than $300 is grand theft, a felony that may be subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three or more years.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we take a proactive approach in defending clients who have been charged with theft. Even a conviction for petty theft can be very detrimental to your future. A misdemeanor shoplifting conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. In addition, one petty theft conviction will build on another, and your third offense will be charged as a felony.
Many theft charges can be resolved through a diversion program called pre-trial intervention. If you want to take responsibility for the theft charge, we can take the money you would otherwise pay us and use it instead to pay restitution, fine, and court costs. Our fees for this would be less than defending you in a court trial, and we can often resolve the charge without you getting a criminal record. If we are successful in getting the charges dismissed, we can have your record sealed, so that if you are ever asked if you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, you can confidently answer no.
If you did not commit the crime of theft, we can prepare an aggressive defense and force the state to prove its case.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.