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 Even remaining on premises after permission to remain “has been withdrawn” can constitute a burglary.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 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 a consultation.


Mr. Yates is a past-President of the Orange County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. He previously served as Chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 9th Judicial Circuit. 

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  • When I met Tad Yates, I was frantic, scared and misinformed about the legalities of my case. He quickly reassured me that everything was going to be alright and started at once preparing my defense. Every time I needed to speak with him, he was there to give advice and inform me the status of my case. As a result of his hard work, he managed to get my case dismissed and this blemish off my record. If you’re thinking of hiring or consulting with Mr. Yates, your in great hands.

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  • Tad is an excellent attorney. Due to a momentary lapse in judgement, I was put in a bad position and could not be more grateful that I hired Tad. From the moment I met Tad, I knew that I was in great hands! Tad explained to me all possible outcomes of the case and really helped put my mind at ease. In the end, I wound up with a very positive outcome and I owe it all to him. Tad was always available when I needed to speak with him and I couldn’t be happier that I hired him. Without the help and guidance of Tad, I’m not sure where I would be today. Tad is not only an amazing attorney, but an all-around great person!

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  • I do not have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with this attorney was. He works very hard to obtain the best results for his clients. I could not have asked for better services. I had exceptional fast results, I highly recommend this attorney. Thank you again, Tad Yates.

  • After consulting with several different highly recommended lawyers, I decided to hire Tad. It was a decision that would truly effect my life in a very profound way. Tad never promised results, he did however layout his experience and give me his word he would put all his effort into my case. I felt that was the honesty I deserved. He was sincere, honest, and reliable. Every time we attended court he seemed to hold a very good relationship with all the court's people. My case with Tad lasted about 9 months. There were many times I wanted to break down, not knowing what the results would ultimately be; however Tad always personalized my case and would constantly provide me with assurance of his efforts. He was always extremely accessible. This gave me a lot of peace. The results of my case ended up being extremely satisfying. I was looking at losing everything, for good. I now have my peace, my freedom, and I am currently very successful. Even after my case, Tad kept tabs with me and ensured I was doing as I should. There is a handful of people God put in my life of whom helped me get to the next level, there is no denying Tad is one of them.

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  • Tad came highly recommended. Set up a consultation and after meeting him, hired him immediately. Tad is extremely knowledgeable, efficient and truly cares. He was always available to speak and support during a very difficult situation. Although he has many clients, he always made us feel important and took the time necessary to ensure our questions were answered and that we were comfortable with strategy and next steps. He ultimately achieved the desired result and we are forever grateful.

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  • When I met Tad Yates, I was frantic, scared and misinformed about the legalities of my case. He quickly reassured me that everything was going to be alright and started at once preparing my defense. Every time I needed to speak with him, he was there to give advice and inform me the status of my case. As a result of his hard work, he managed to get my case dismissed and this blemish off my record. If you’re thinking of hiring or consulting with Mr. Yates, your in great hands.- A.

    I was referred to Tad by a friend of the family. They told me what he did for them and assured me that he would do the same for me. He exceeded my expectations from start to finish. He used his knowledge of the law, professionalism and relationship skills to have my case completely dropped. No plea deals what so ever. He never once doubted me however he did explain exactly what we had to overcome. If you find yourself in a situation that could impact you for the rest of your life, whether you did anything wrong or not I would encourage you to give him a call.

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Ratings & Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0

    Tad and Kathy are wonderful. They've helped me tremendously and I cannot thank them enough. Best lawyer in Orlando.

    — Brenden McDaniels

  • 5.0/5.0

    Tad yates is an amazing person and lawyer! He helped me and my family so much and i couldn't be more thankful! I have never met such a caring, kind, focused, genuine soul actually trying to get justice and fight for you and your freedom and...
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    — Lizzie Haniff

  • 5.0/5.0

    I've know Tad Yates since 2002 and he is a top notch Criminal Defense attorney. This is the guy I would call if my kids or mom got in trouble. A UF Gator and a well respected member of the the Central Florida bar. His office manager is a...
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    — Jay Anthony

  • 5.0/5.0

    Will always Fight for you. He is straight up and honest

    — Barb Starling

  • 5.0/5.0

    Mr. Yates is one of our community's most experienced and respected attorneys. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking help with their legal matter.

    — Thomas Feiter