One of the most common arrests for crime made in Florida is for instances of property crime. Though the overall crime rate in Florida dropped in 2012, including a three percent decrease in Palm Beach County, property crime still remains a consistent issue. In Palm Beach County in 2012, there were 44,018 property crimes, at a rate of 3,296.2 per 100,000 people in the county. In West Palm Beach alone, the chance of being a victim of property crime is only 1 in 19 – which is higher than even the statewide risk.
A contributing factor to this is that property crimes seem deceptively simple and minor offenses. While it is true that a conviction for shoplifting or petit theft will land you with fewer consequences than a conviction for something like manslaughter, it is incorrect to say that your future will not be affected by conviction in a related matter. Property crimes come in misdemeanor and felony offenses, both which can seriously affect your future status as a student, employee, tenant, or other position important to your well-being.
In addition to the presumptive penalties, property crimes can be taken by anyone who runs a background check as a violation of trust or a crime of untruthfulness. Whether you were arrested on a property crime in the Palm Beach County area due to a mistake you made, a false accusation, or a misunderstanding, it is vital you protect your rights and your future with a strong defense strategy. A skilled and experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and work toward a favorable outcome in your property crime case.
West Palm Beach Property Crime Defense Attorney
While property crimes seem like a minor offense, they are serious crimes that come with equally serious penalties that can and will affect your future. If you have been arrested for a property crime in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, Wellington, or anywhere else in the Palm Beach County area and area, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A.. When considering a lawyer as part of your defense strategy, it is best to contact him as soon as possible after your arrest.
Andrew Stine is a skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach criminal lawyer with over 10 years of experience. A former public defender and army soldier, Stine takes a militant, detailed, and proactive approach when handling criminal defense cases for his valued clients. He knows what it takes to fight and win your property crime case in Palm Beach County.
To find out more about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your West Palm Beach area property crime case, call 561.880.4300 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Information Center for Palm Beach County Property Crimes
- Definitions for Florida Theft of Property Crimes
- Definitions for Damage or Trespassing Property Crimes in Florida
- Penalties for Property Crimes Common to Central Florida
- Resources for Property Crimes in Florida
In Florida law, there are essentially two types of property crime. The first deals with offenses involving the theft of someone else’s property. The crimes from this category that affect the most people in Palm Beach County include auto theft and larceny (a general legal term for theft). Theft of property offenses are covered in Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes. How each type of offense is classed depends on the type and value of the property, as well as where and how it was stolen. Theft of property crimes in Florida include the following:
- Petit Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014 – In Florida, offenses of simple theft are labeled according to the value of the stolen property. Petit theft is charged for theft crimes involving. property valued at $100-$300. To commit petit theft, a person must knowingly obtain, use, or strive to obtain or use another’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of a right or benefit of the property and/or assign the property to his or her own use or the use of another unentitled person.
- Shoplifting/Retail Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.015 – In many cases, shoplifting is simply a case of petit theft. However, given certain circumstances, shoplifting is considered retail theft under Florida law. The definition of retail theft is the taking possession or carrying away of property, the alteration or removal of a label or price tag, the transfer of merchandise from one container to another, or the removal of a shopping cart with the intent to deprive the merchant of the item’s use, possession, benefit, or full retail value. Retail theft is a felony charge if the property is valued at $300 or more and the alleged offender:
- Individually or as part of a team coordinates the activities of one or more persons in committing the offense
- Commits theft from more than one location in 48 hours
- Works with one or more other individuals to distract store employees, police officers, security guards, or other key store personnel in order to carry out the offense
- Commits the offense by purchasing merchandise in the incorrect package, or by adding extra merchandise to the package being purchased
- Grand Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014 – Grand theft is the offense charged when the property allegedly stolen is of a higher value or of a particular type. If the value of the property stolen is $300 or more, it is considered grand theft. It is also grand theft to steal things like controlled substances, anhydrous ammonia, commercially-farmed animals, more than 2,000 citrus fruits, construction site property, interstate or intrastate cargo, law enforcement or emergency medical equipment, motor vehicles, firearms, fire extinguishers, and stop signs.
- Auto Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014(2)(c) or Fla. Stat. § 812.133 – Depending on the case, auto theft under Florida law is either a carjacking offense or a grand theft offense. Carjacking is when the motor vehicle is stolen temporarily or permanently, and the offender uses force, violence, or threat of imminent danger to the owner or driver to commit auto theft. Simple motor vehicle theft, commonly referred to as grand theft auto, without violence or threats of violence is a grand theft offense.
The second type of property crime offense involves when property is damaged and/or when a person trespasses on property. The most common type of this offense in Palm Beach County is burglary. The statutes governing these offenses are located in chapters 806 and 810 of the Florida Statutes. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach property crime attorney could be key to protecting your rights and your future if you are charged with any of the following offenses in Palm Beach County:
- Arson: Fla. Stat. § 806.01 – Any person who willfully and unlawfully, or during the commission of any felony, damages or causes to be damages an occupied structure or building, unoccupied structure or building, or any property of another person through the use of fire or explosives can be charged with arson.
- Vandalism: Fla. Stat. § 806.13 – Defined in the Florida Statutes as criminal mischief, a person commits vandalism when he or she willfully and maliciously damages any real, personal, or public property. Acts of criminal mischief and vandalism in Florida include placement of unauthorized graffiti. The penalties for this charge may increase if aggravating circumstances are found in the case, such as vandalism of a church or interruption of public services like utilities.
- Criminal Trespass: Fla. Stat. § 810.08 – When an unauthorized or unlicensed person enters or remains in any structure or on any land that is not a home or dwelling, it is considered criminal trespass. Even if the alleged offender was originally authorized or invited by the owner, lessee, or other authorized individual, if the alleged offender is asked to leave and then refuses to do so, it can be considered criminal trespass. It is considered sufficient warning to depart when a sign is displayed on premises that follows specific guidelines. Criminal trespass with a weapon and/or on school grounds are aggravating circumstances.
- Burglary: Fla. Stat. § 810.02 – The offense of burglary in Florida is generally when a person enters or remains in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance (i.e. a recreational vehicle) with the intent to commit an offense, such as theft, inside. How burglary is classed as an offense depends on many different circumstances in the case – such as if the property entered is a home and whether or not the structure was occupied.
Most property crimes are punishable by the misdemeanor and felony penalties set forth in Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082-775.084. Some property offenses like certain theft charges, however, also come with additional penalties specified by their individual statutes. Grand theft of fish from a certified fishery, for instance, comes with an additional $10,000 fine no matter the original class of the offense.
For the presumptive sentencing, a second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. A first-degree misdemeanor property crime carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a third-degree felony in Florida is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and 15 years in prison with a $10,000 fine for a second-degree felony.
First-degree felony property crimes carry a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, all Florida felonies come with consequences like the loss of certain civil rights and the disqualification from certain government aid. An experienced criminal attorney in West Palm Beach can fight against the consequences for any of the following, or other, property crimes in Palm Beach County:
Second-Degree Misdemeanor Property Crimes
- Petit theft (including shoplifting), up to $100 in property value
- Vandalism, up to $200 in damage
- Criminal trespass on a structure or conveyance
First-Degree Misdemeanor Property Crimes
- Petit theft (including shoplifting), $100-$300 in property value
- Vandalism, $200-$1,000 in damage
- Criminal trespass, not structure or conveyance
- Criminal trespass, occupied structure or conveyance
Third-Degree Felony Property Crimes
- Retail theft, up to $3,000 in property value
- Grand theft auto
- Grand theft, $300-$20,000 in property value
- Grand theft of certain property (stop signs, firearms, etc.)
- Vandalism, $1,000+ in damage
- Criminal trespass with a weapon
- Burglary of unoccupied structure
Second-Degree Felony Property Crimes
- Retail theft, $3,000+ in property value
- Grand theft, $20,000-$100,000 in property value
- Grand theft, emergency medical equipment
- Grand theft, law enforcement equipment
- Arson, unoccupied structure
- Burglary, home, dwelling, or occupied structure
First-Degree Felony Property Crimes
- Grand theft, $100,000+ in property value
- Arson, structure that is or could be occupied
- Armed burglary
Kleptomaniacs Anonymous – Formally known as Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous (CASA), this organization is dedicated to treating the root addiction involved in shoplifting, much like Alcoholics Anonymous treats alcoholism. Follow this link for more information and meeting locations as found on their website.
Florida Statutes Chapter 806 – Visit this link to view the exact legal language as it relates to your alleged property crime offense involving property damage or trespassing. Includes specific definitions regarding arson, vandalism, and graffiti.
Florida Statutes Chapter 810 – Theft of property offenses are governed by Chapter 810 of the Florida Statutes. Click on this link to explore the legal language related to your petit theft, grand theft, retail theft, shoplifting, or auto theft offense.
Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County – Created through the efforts of the Chiefs of Police Association and Crime Prevention Officers Association, Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, Inc. was founded as a civilian volunteer 501(3)(c) non-profit organization modeled after the original Crime Stoppers in Albuquerque, NM. Anonymous tippers can receive up to $1,000 if their tip leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property. Follow this link to visit their website.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Criminal Defense Attorney for Hernando County Property Crimes
If you have been arrested and charged on any misdemeanor or felony property crime offense anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Tequesta, or anywhere else in Palm Beach County, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A. as soon as possible after your arrest.
Andrew Stine is an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer with a militant, detailed approach in fighting to protect your rights and freedom from property crime conviction. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561.880.4300 today and schedule yours.