Property crimes are one of the most commonly charged and convicted offenses across every precinct in the United States. This is largely due to the false belief that doing something like shoplifting a small item or painting graffiti on a building is not a serious offense. However, Americans are proud of their property and endeavor to protect it – therefore, the penalties for property crime are very real and very serious.
Unfortunately, the attempt to lessen the number of property crimes has also led to people who have made an honest mistake being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. No matter the circumstances of your theft or property offense, an experienced criminal lawyer serving Hernando County and the surrounding areas can fight to protect your rights and to keep a conviction for the offense off your criminal record.
Brooksville Property Crime Defense Attorney
The allure of many theft and property crimes in the Brooksville area is the seeming and deceptive harmlessness of the act and the subsequent charges. However, this illusion disappears ones the cuffs are around your wrists. An arrest for a property crime in Hernando County, Citrus County, Sumter County, or the surrounding areas can be an intimidating experience, but there is no need to go it alone. Ashley Aulls has over 15 years of experience defending alleged offenders like you, and knows what it takes to fight off property crime or theft charges while defending your rights.
With a family history of successful legal professionals, Ashley Aulls knows that it takes open communication with and education of the client to create a solid defense, and Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. was founded on those principles. To schedule your consultation with Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. and find out what Ashley Aulls can do for your case, call (352) 593-4115 today.
Hernando County Property Crime Information Center
- Common Property Crime Offenses in Florida
- Penalties for Florida Property Crimes
- Resources for Property Crimes in Florida
A property crime offense in Florida is exactly like it sounds – a crime that has to do with the real or personal property of another, such as objects of value, land, or even homes and buildings. With over 35 property crimes for every 1,000 residents in Florida, these crime types represent a large number of arrests every year, even in the more peaceful, quiet neighborhoods in Hernando, Sumter, and Citrus Counties.
Some of the more common instances of property crime in these counties deal with theft of property. Theft offenses differ according to the type of property stolen, where it was stolen, and the value of the stolen property. Theft offenses in Florida are governed by Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes, and include:
- Shoplifting: Fla. Stat. § 812.015 – Shoplifting can be a petit theft offense or an offense known as "retail theft" in Florida code. A person commits shoplifting or retail theft if, with the intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value, he or she takes possession or carries away merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; alters or removes a label, universal product code, or price tag; transfers merchandise from one container to another; or removes a shopping cart. The value of the property and the circumstances of the offense are important in distinguishing petit theft shoplifting and retail theft.
- Petit Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014 – Petit theft is the offense charged for items of lesser financial value. A person commits petit theft under Florida law if he or she knowingly obtains, uses, or strives to obtain or use the property of another temporarily or permanently with the intent to do one or both of the following:
- Deprive the person/owner or a right to or benefit from the property
- Appropriate the property to the alleged offender's own use or the use of any other person not entitled to the property
- Grand Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014 – Grand theft is a more punitive offense than petit theft, and involves the value of the property allegedly stolen or certain specific types of property. What class felony of grand theft a defendant is charged with also depends on the property type and/or the value. If the value of the property is $300 or more, it is a grand theft offense. Additionally, the theft of any of the following types of property is also grand theft:
- Controlled substances, like prescription drugs
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Commercially-farmed animal, like cows and horses
- Citrus fruit in excess of 2,000 individual fruits
- Property from a construction site
- Cargo from interstate or intrastate commerce operations
- Semi-trailer deployed by law-enforcement officer
- Law enforcement equipment
- Emergency medical equipment
- Motor vehicle
- Fire extinguisher
- Stop sign
- Will, as in Last Will and Testament, or related documents
- Auto Theft: Fla. Stat. § 812.014(2)(c) or Fla. Stat. § 812.133 – Auto theft can be one of two offenses depending on the circumstances of the case. Auto theft is carjacking when an offender takes a motor vehicle in order to deprive the person/owner of custody, whether temporarily or permanently, and uses force, violence, or causes significant fear to that person/owner in commission of the offense. Auto theft is simple motor vehicle theft, or grand theft auto, when an offender commits simple theft of a motor vehicle without causing or threatening harm to anyone. An example of grand theft auto would be the theft of an unsupervised car parked on the street.
The other types of property offenses in Florida can deal with individual possessions, but most often deal with property that is land, a building, a house, or another type of dwelling aside from a house. These offenses frequently deal with damage to property or the presence of unwanted persons. Chapters 806 and 810 govern these property offenses, which include:
- Vandalism: Fla. Stat. § 806.13 – Known as criminal mischief in the Florida Statutes, vandalism is when a person willfully and maliciously injures or damages any means of real, personal, or public property, including placement of graffiti. Special circumstances of criminal mischief or vandalism include vandalism to a place of worship or the interruption of utility and other related public services.
- Arson: Fla. Stat. § 806.01 – The act of arson is defined as any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, damages or causes to be damaged an occupied or unoccupied structure or dwelling, or any other property of another or of the alleged offender by fire or an explosion.
- Criminal Trespass: Fla. Stat. § 810.08 – The offense of criminal trespass is when an unauthorized person enters or remains on any premises or structure, excluding a home or dwelling. This includes if the person was originally authorized or invited, but was warned to depart by the owner, lessee, or other authorized person and then refused to do so. Criminal trespass can occur with or without a weapon, and it is a specific offense to trespass on school grounds. A warning to depart includes a sign that follows specific legal guidelines.
- Burglary: Fla. Stat. § 810.02 – In Florida, the offense of burglary involves several different classes of offenses that depend on whether the place entered is a home/dwelling or not, whether it is occupied, and whether there are specific circumstances. Generally, burglary is when a person enters or remains without permission in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense inside.
Unless the statute governing the offense specifies otherwise or adds mandatory minimums or additional sanctions, all misdemeanors and felonies in Florida law are punished according to Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082-775.084. This includes the property offenses listed above. These statutes indicate the maximum punishments for a second-degree misdemeanor as 60 days in jail and a fine of $500, and a first-degree misdemeanor as a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
A third-degree felony is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines, while the maximum for a second-degree felony is 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A person facing a first-degree felony property crime conviction is punishable by a maximum of 30 years or life in prison and a fine of $10,000. Examples of property crimes and their class of offense include the following:
- Petit theft, other amounts
- Criminal mischief / vandalism, $200 in damage or less
- Criminal trespass, structure or conveyance
- Petit theft, value of $100-$300 – including some shoplifting offenses
- Criminal mischief / vandalism, $200.01-$999.99 in damage
- Criminal trespass, occupied structure or conveyance
- Criminal trespass, other than structure or conveyance
- Retail theft meeting specific statutory requirements
- Auto theft, as in grand theft auto
- Theft, value of $300-$19,999.99
- Theft of stop sign, firearm, anhydrous ammonia, etc.
- Criminal mischief / vandalism, $1,000 or more in damage
- Armed criminal trespass, structure or conveyance
- Burglary, unoccupied structure or conveyance
- Retail theft, value of $3,000 or more
- Theft of cargo, valued less than $50,000
- Theft, value of $20,000-$99,999.99
- Theft, $300 or more of emergency medical equipment
- Theft, $300 or more of law enforcement equipment
- Arson of structure
- Burglary of a home/dwelling
- Burglary of an occupied structure or conveyance
- Burglary of a structure or conveyance, theft of controlled substance intended
- Theft, value of $100,000 or more
- Theft of cargo, value of $50,000 or more
- Theft with more than $1,000 in property damage
- Arson, occupied structure
- Arson, structure that should or would be occupied
- Burglary with assault or battery
- Armed burglary
- Burglary, more than $1,000 in damage
Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous (CASA) - Founded in Michigan in 1992, CASA is an organization dedicated to treating the root addiction of shoplifting and kleptomania. Follow this link to visit their homepage.
Florida Auto Theft Intelligence Unit – FATIU was created to assist theft investigators and other law enforcement officers in resolving Florida's auto theft problem. Visit their site to learn about initiatives and contact current board members.
Chapter 806, Florida Statutes – Chapter 806 of the Florida Statutes addresses arson and criminal mischief offenses, including vandalism and graffiti. Click this link to explore the full statutory definitions and penalties for these offenses.
Chapter 810, Florida Statutes Burglary and trespass offenses are addressed by Chapter 810 of the Florida Statutes. Follow this link to learn important definitions for related legal terms like structure, conveyance, and dwelling, as well as other statute-specific information.
Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. | Property Crime Lawyer in Hernando County
If you have been arrested and charged with a theft crime or another property crime offense in Brooksville, North Weeki Wachee, High Point, Hernando Beach, Hill 'n Dale, Inverness Highlands, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, Bushnell, or the surrounding areas in Hernando County, Citrus County, or Sumter County, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls. He will use his 15 years of experience defending cases like yours to your advantage. To schedule your consultation with Ashley M. Aulls, P.A., call (352) 593-4115 today.