The Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers at Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon have helped many good people with theft allegations. There are many options available to a person charged or accused of theft. Give our theft defense attorneys a call today to discuss your pending theft charge. If you have a no or minimal record, there may be options available to you like pretrial diversion or withholding of adjudication, which may allow you to get your record sealed or expunged. If you do have a prior record, there may still be many options available. Give us a call so we can discuss your individual case.
What is the difference between grand theft and petit theft?
Grand theft is a felony. Petit Theft is a misdemeanor. A theft becomes a grand theft, and thus a felony, if the value of the property taken was $300 or more. It is also a felony if the item alleged to have been stolen is a firearm, a will, a motor vehicle, a construction sign, and other specific items numerated by statute.
Police officers often arrest people for grand theft because a store gives the officer the retail price of the items taken. However, if any of the items were on sale or sold at a reduced price, it could reduce the amount to a misdemeanor amount. Also, many times, officers will estimate the value of property stolen. If it is close to the $300 threshold, the State may not be able to prove that the value of the stolen items is $300 or more.
What if this theft offense was a first offense?
If this was a first offense, you may be able to get your case diverted to a pretrial diversion program. A pretrial diversion program is basically front-ended probation, where the State Attorney’s Office agrees to drop the charges if you complete certain conditions. The conditions are set by the State Attorney’s Office. If you successfully complete a pretrial diversion program, you may be eligible to get your record expunged. Even if the State Attorney’s Office refuses to divert your case to a pretrial diversion program, you may still be able to obtain a withhold of adjudication from the judge. If you obtain a withhold of adjudication, you may be eligible to have your record sealed. Give our experienced criminal defense lawyers a call to discuss your theft case and whether you may be eligible for pretrial diversion and/or sealing or expunction.
What if I have prior theft convictions?
If you have prior theft convictions, it is important to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled theft cases in the past. Multiple theft convictions lead to enhanced sentencing for subsequent convictions. This means that even if you haven’t served a significant sentence in the past, those past convictions alone, could lead to a significant sentence for a pending theft conviction. Call our criminal lawyers to discuss your case and what we can do to help.
I was at a store and simply forgot about items that were in my cart when I walked out and was stopped by security. What should I do?
We get many calls from potential clients who have been issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) or were arrested for walking out of a store with items that they forgot were in their purse, or cart, or bag. There is rarely any investigation done as to whether the person intended to steal the item or whether it was a simple oversight. The State must prove that you intended to either temporarily or permanently deprive the store of that item. In many cases like this, the State will agree to a pretrial diversion program to take the risk of trial away from both the State and you. However, in cases where they will not refer you to a pretrial diversion program or where you decline the pretrial diversion program, your attorney would develop the defense that you did not have the intent to deprive the store of the items, because it was an honest mistake. If this situation is similar to yours, give our criminal defense attorneys a call so we can discuss your options.
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