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Proven Trial Lawyer Fights Burglary and Theft Charges in Orlando

Determined defense of your rights in misdemeanor and felony prosecutions

regularly assists clients who have been accused of serious crimes that. Among the most serious criminal offenses are theft and burglary, which carry prison time, still fines and restitution requirements. For more than 25 years, The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. has provided highly professional and effective representation to clients facing such charges. You can have confidence in his ability to protect your rights and deliver the best results possible.

What constitutes burglary under Florida law?

Burglary is the act of entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime. Although the motive is often theft, a burglar may be on the premises for any criminal purpose. Even remaining on premises after permission to remain “has been withdrawn” can constitute a burglary.

The criminal degree of a burglary depends upon the presence of aggravating factors. Burglary is a:

  • first degree felony when, in the course of its commission, a defendant commits assault or battery, is armed, uses a motor vehicle (other than as a getaway car) or causes damage to the dwelling in excess of $1,000.
  • second degree felony when another person is present in the structure, dwelling or conveyance that is burglarized.
  • third degree felony where no aggravating factors are present.

Defenses to burglary include being on a premises with permission and lack of intention to commit a crime. If the prosecution cannot prove the elements, they may reduce charges to breaking and entering or trespassing, or agree to dismiss charges. Note that burglary of a federal building is charged as a federal crime.

Theft crimes in the state of Florida

Florida Statutes §812.014 defines theft as knowingly obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent either to:

  • deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or
  • appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

This is more complicated than simply taking something that’s not yours. A defendant must know the property belongs to someone else and must intend to deprive the rightful owner of the property.

In Florida, theft crimes are divided into two main categories depending on the value of the property, the nature of the property, the identity of the victim and other circumstances:

  • Petty theft — Generally, this means stealing something worth less than $300. Examples are small-scale shoplifting and theft of services, such as “dining and dashing” and subway turnstile jumping. These offenses are classified as second degree misdemeanors, which can result in up to 60 days in jail for a first offense. A second offense can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • Grand theft — The threshold for grand theft is $300 worth of stolen property, but stealing certain types of property, such as a fire extinguisher, can be grand theft regardless of its value. The crime is of the second degree for theft of at least $20,000 and of the first degree for theft of at least $100,000. The penalties range from up to five years in prison for third degree to up to 30 years in prison for the first degree.

Theft may take many forms: robbery, larceny, embezzlement, fraud and failure to make a required return of property. However, there are defenses available in many cases, often turning on the lack of intent to wrongfully deprive an owner of his or her property.

Contact a capable defense attorney in Orlando for a free consultation

Mr. Yates has deep experience providing robust criminal defense against a wide range of theft charges. For the skilled counsel your case requires, call The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. at 407-608-7777 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.