Tampa Theft Lawyer
An Overview of Theft Crimes Defense
The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger has effectively represented hundreds of individuals that have been accused of theft, including burglary,
retail theft. Our
Tampa criminal defense attorney's experience ranges from accusations of shoplifting to theft allegations involving millions of dollars. In every case that we undertake representation, all efforts are made to have charges dismissed or to have the State Attorney file a "no information."
If theft charges are filed against our clients, we seek to minimize the impact of the allegations by:
- Seeking lesser charges such as having a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.
- Finding programs that allow charges to be dismissed.
- Seeking a disposition that does not include any incarceration.
- Avoiding felony and misdemeanor convictions.
- Sealing or expunging records.
- Preserving employment and professional relationships.
- Protecting driving privileges.
For more information about the results that The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger has obtained for our clients and to hear what our clients are saying about us, please contact us and we would be happy to provide this information.
Call us at (813) 501-2688 if you were arrested for theft.
Types of Theft Crimes in Florida
Below is a list of some of most common theft charges that we defend:
- Petit theft. Second degree misdemeanor. This includes shoplifting and other theft allegations of property valued under $300.
- Petit theft with prior theft conviction. First degree misdemeanor
- Felony petit theft. (requires two prior theft convictions) Third degree felony, level 1
- $300 to $5,000. Third degree felony, level 2
- $5,000 to $10,000. Third degree felony, level 3
- $10,000 to $20,000. Second degree felony, level 4
- $20,000 to $100,000. Second degree felony, level 6
- Over $100,000. First degree felony, level
- Grand theft motor vehicle, firearm, fire extinguisher, stop sign, or will. Third degree felony
- Theft over $100 and less that $300 from a residence or just outside the residence. Third degree felony
- Extortion. Second degree felony, level 6
- Defrauding an insurance company. Third degree felony, level 2
- Defrauding an innkeeper. Third degree felony, level 1
- Dealing in stolen property. Second degree felony, level 5
- Failure to redeliver a rental car. Third degree felony, level 2
- Failure to return leased property over $300. Third degree felony, level 1
Scheme to defraud.
- Less than $20,000. Third degree felony, level 3
- $20,000 to $50,000. Second degree felony, level 5
- Over $50,000. First degree felony, level 6
- Computer fraud. Second or third degree
- Exploitation of the elderly. First, second or third degree felony
- Theft of property by employee. Third degree felony, level one
- Aggravated white collar crime. First degree felony, level 9
Sentencing Guidelines for Theft
The maximum jail or prison for theft offenses is as follows:
- Second degree misdemeanor - 60 days in jail
- First degree misdemeanor - 1 year in jail
- Third degree felony - 5 years in prison
- Second degree felony - 15 years prison
- First degree felony - 30 years prison
The sentence recommended to the court is set by the Criminal Punishment Code. The Code contains offense severity ranking charts that set the number of points awarded for each statutory violation. The points are applied to the sentencing guideline score sheet to determine the sentence recommended to the court. Points are added for each pending charge and for each prior offense. Additional points are added for victim injury, committing offenses while under court supervision (while on bond or probation), and several other factors. If the total sentencing points are less than 44 points, then the recommended range for the court is probation up to the maximum jail allowed for the crime(s) pending before the court. So the maximum for one third degree felony would be five years in prison. If a person has over 44 points there is a formula applied to the number to obtain the lowest recommended sentence (total sentence points minus 28 and then multiplied by .75).
There the court can depart from the sentencing guidelines based upon a list of factors set forth in Florida Statute 921.0026. Some of the most common reasons for departure are as follows:
- The departure is the result of a plea agreement with the State Attorney.
- The defendant was an accomplice and minor participant.
- The need for payment of restitution to the victim outweighs the need for prison.
- The Defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder that is unrelated to substance abuse and the defendant is amenable to treatment.
- The victim was an initiator, willing participant, aggressor, or provoker of the incident.
- The offense was committed in an unsophisticated manner and was an isolated incident for which the defendant has shown remorse.
- The defendant is being sentenced as a youthful offender (must be under 21 at time of sentencing).
Experienced Theft Defense in Tampa
Not surprisingly, many individuals charged with theft crimes are not the television portrayal of hardened or professional thieves. In fact the crime of theft is often an impulsive act and commonly the result of taking advantage of an opportunity. Some thefts are committed because a person feels trapped and does not see any other way out of a desperate situation. Despite the lack of any real criminal intent or pre-meditated action the offense is still subject to harsh levels of prosecution and sentencing. Depending on the dollar amount of the theft and any past criminal history one can be looking at severe consequences.
Finding a criminal lawyer who really understands this area of legal practice is crucial to building a strong and effective defense. Attorney Timothy Hessinger has 15 years of experience as a former prosecutor at the State Attorney's Office, which gives our team a powerful working knowledge of how to build an effective defense. One hundred percent of our time is spent defending clients facing serious criminal allegations. Because our practice is limited to criminal defense, we are able hone our abilities, knowledge, and relationships to more effectively represent our clients. When The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger represents a client, no stone is left unturned.
Theft convictions can carry many penalties outside of fines and jail time. Often there are losses of social standing, professional licenses and employment opportunities. You will need experienced legal help and should contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer without delay.