Articles Posted in Theft

It’s hard for some folks to believe that non-violent, small-time, petty theft can land people in a Florida prison for years. But it happens all the time, both because of Florida’s low felony theft threshold and minimum mandatory penalties for those convicted of prior offenses.criminal defense lawyer

Two bills that had been advancing through the Florida legislature earlier this year sought to address it. Both, however, have since been defeated, meaning at least this year, the Sunshine State won’t be joining the ranks of a growing number of states that are increasing the dollar amount threshold for felony theft charges (the dollar amount at which a theft crime becomes a felony instead of a misdemeanor).

Lowest Felony Theft Threshold in the Country

In fact, Florida has the second-lowest felony theft threshold in the country – just $300, per F.S. 812.014. Someone may end up in prison for stealing even less than that if they have prior convictions or are on probation/parole. Other states, on average, have a felony theft threshold of somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500. Plus, many don’t have the punitive provision that Florida has, wherein the third petty theft is an automatic felony charge. Continue reading

Florida’s history is rich with pirate lore, but these days, as e-commerce has soared, most coast dwellers in the Sunshine State are more concerned with piracy on their front porches. An analysis by InsuranceQuotes.com reveals 26 million Americans (roughly 8 percent) had online-ordered packages swiped from their front steps in 2017. As Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys, it’s been our experience that alleged thieves in years past were rarely traced. That’s changing. Rather than alter their online shopping habits, consumers are committing themselves to tracking down those suspected of pilfering their packages.Fort Lauderdale theft defense attorney

Methods have included:

  • Installation of motion detectors – 34 percent
  • Installation of security systems – 30 percent
  • Installation of automatic timers – 25 percent
  • Equipping fake packages with a GPS tracker and personal camera and rigging it for a glitter-and-stink-bomb explosion – 1 former NASA engineer/ new YouTube Star.

And while those candid camera have been giving a lot of folks a good chuckle, our Fort Lauderdale package theft defense attorneys want to stress the truth of the matter, which is that the charges one can face for allegedly stealing a package from another’s porch are no laughing matter. Given the uptick in home surveillance use, there is an increased likelihood one will get caught, especially if this was a spree rather than a one-off, you have prior charges and/or are on probation. Continue reading

If you are arrested on possession of any type of grand theft, the state needs to show at least some evidence you knew the property was stolen, or else evidence you are unable to “satisfactorily explain” why you are in possession of property recently stolen. F.S. 812.022 states there is an inference that one in possession of recently-stolen property knew or should have known that property was stolen “unless satisfactorily explained.” Part of the job of a Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer in a grand theft case will be to show that if you are in possession of recently-stolen property, you did have a satisfactory explanation for it.Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer

The inference is one that is rebuttable, and it’s important your Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer do so because grand theft, as outlined in F.S. 812.014, is a felony charge. Theft of a motor vehicle, assuming it wasn’t damaged, is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Numerous variables can result in heightened penalties for Florida auto theft, but it’s a serious offense for anyone – including a juvenile.

Fort Lauderdale Defense Lawyer Challenges Inference of Guilt in Possession of Stolen Property Conviction

This issue arose on appeal a few years ago in a juvenile criminal case a few years ago before Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. In C.T. v. State of Florida, an adjudicatory hearing was held in late 2016 on the question of whether defendant juvenile knew or should have known the car hew was driving when he was pulled over by police was stolen. Continue reading

Many new types of fraud are either born or become big-time in Florida – South Florida in particular. A top agent for the Internal Revenue Service speculated it was a combination of factors: Beautiful weather and beaches a lot of people in general. Older folks – especially vulnerable to almost all kinds of fraud – often retire here. Florida also truly embodies the U.S. “melting pot,” with organized crime sprouting up from all ethnic groups. criminal defense lawyer Florida

The Federal Trade Commission reported earlier this year that Florida is the scam capitol of the country (based on both crime statistics and complaints made directly to the commission) with seniors the primary prey – at least in terms of dollars. Although there were more younger people who reported losing money to fraud, victims over 70 sustained higher median losses.

Whatever the reason, our Fort Lauderdale fraud attorneys know crimes of fraud, often referred to as “white collar crimes,” are often penalized severely, with defendants facing either state or federal charges, the distinction usually being the method of the scam, how much money it involved and whether it affected people in other states.  Continue reading

People in the U.S. have a number of Constitutional rights that ensure (among other things) due process as they go about their lives. One of those, as outlined in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. It has long been established that warrants are generally required to initiate a non-consensual search of one’s person or property. However, there is an automobile exception that allows warrantless searches if the vehicle is traveling on a public road and the law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of a crime. criminal defense attorney Fort Lauderdale

Now, in what’s being hailed a win for privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has just handed down an 8-1 decision holding police are not allowed to search the area around a private home absent a warrant – even if they believe they’ve seen stolen property on site. A motorcycle in a driveway was was started this particular case.

Officers at a county police agency in Virginia say they attempted to initiate a traffic stop of a motorcycle rider on two different occasions, but both times, the driver evaded. Police were able to learn from those encounters that the motorcycle in question was stolen. A suspect was identified, based on Facebook photos the suspect had posted of the motorcycle in question, which was parked at suspect’s girlfriend’s home. An officer went to that location, where a motorcycle was spotted – covered by a tarp – in the driveway. The officer – who did not have a warrant and was not invited onto the property – removed the tarp. Based on the information he gathered, he identified the bike as stolen and arrested the suspect – who claimed he purchased the motorcycle without a title. He was charged with receiving stolen property. Continue reading

A number of recent criminal cases in South Florida have involved counterfeit checks.theft defense

Florida Statute F.S. 817.60(6) deals specifically with forgery of credit cards. Violation of this statute is punishable under F.S. 817.67, which classifies it as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

A strong criminal defense is required in these cases.  Continue reading

Six teenagers, ages 14 to 16, are accused of breaking into a man’s Fort Pierce home, stealing a safe containing $200,000 in cash, as well as a Porsche and two handguns. When authorities questioned the boys about the alleged crimes, they reportedly admitted to the theft, and said they had spent the money on gold jewelry, gold teeth, and high and cars and cash gifts for themselves and their mothers.juvenile defense lawyer

Their arrests came at the close of an investigation that began after an April home break-in. Authorities say the homeowner returned to his residence to find his garage door open, and his $60,000 Porsche missing. When he went inside, he discovered his safe with $200,000 in cash – his life savings – and two firearms were missing. The teens reportedly left the vehicle at a local gas station, and while there, one of them pried open the safe and discovered the money, contained in plastic Ziploc bags, inside.

The teens reportedly blew threw the cash, buying gold, vehicles and other gifts. One teen said he had been robbed of the cash. One said he threw away the two guns in a garbage can outside a mall in Fort Lauderdale. When police found the stolen Porsche, they discovered the safe still inside – along with paperwork belonging to one of the teens. This led them to one of the suspects, which led to all of them. Fingerprints from the stolen vehicle were traced to each of the teens. Continue reading

In the State of Florida, criminal code Section 812.014 governs the laws pertaining to the crime of theft.  Theft is classified as either petit theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen.  It is then broken down in specific degrees of petit theft or grand theft based on the value of the property.

Broward Defense Lawyer For example, if you are accused of stealing any property that is valued at more than $300, it will be considered grand theft according to the law. However, this does not mean you will actually be charged with grand theft, as the prosecutors typically have discretion to charge even a grand theft a lesser included offense of petit theft. Continue reading

It wasn’t a good couple of days for Francis Keller. The 56-year-old was arrested for allegedly breaking into the U.S. Post Office where he worked for 30 years, and rifling through packages with plans to sell valuables he discovered in exchange for crack cocaine. A Boynton Beach police report indicated Keller had used an old security code to gain access to the building, on Seacrest Boulevard. He was reportedly intoxicated at the time. postoffice

He was booked into jail around 2:30 a.m. and was released about 12 hours later. By then, local news outlets had heard of the alleged offense and were working on stories detailing the work of the “Postal Grinch” for trying to steal packages containing gifts.

But Keller allegedly wasn’t finished. By the looks of a consecutive mug shot, he did have an opportunity to change clothes again. When he headed back out that night, he allegedly approached an employee at a drive-in to ask about a job. However, instead of continuing the conversation in that vein, he is accused of pulling a firearm from his waistband and demanding money. He then allegedly ran into the car parking lot, pointed a gun at the head of the driver and ordered him out of the vehicle.  Continue reading

Last year, a Pompano Beach man was convicted of a slew of burglary and robbery charges. He faced up to 60 years in prison. The judge deferred his sentence in lieu of probation. But then, he was stopped for driving without a license. He was hauled back into court and sentenced to the full 60 years in prison. Following widespread backlash, the Broward Circuit judge had a change of heart. Community leaders at a hearing promised to work with the 24-year-old defendant, Herbert Smith. They were going to help him find a job and keep him out of trouble. The judge agreed once again to suspend the 60-year prison term. The caveat was that any violation of that probation – no matter how minor – could result in that 60-year sentence being reinstated. police

Then just before Thanksgiving of this year, Smith was arrested, accused of a burglary that took place in September. He was identified as one of two men who broke into a home in Parkland and heisted $30,000 worth of jewelry. It didn’t look good for the defendant, especially because probation violations don’t have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, Smith got another break when prosecutors recently decided not to pursue the burglary charge or the probation violation. They dismissed both, finding there was not enough evidence to move forward.  Continue reading