Fort Lauderdale Theft and Robbery Attorney

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Have you been arrested and charged with robbery or theft in Fort Lauderdale? Law enforcement and prosecutors treat theft and robbery offenses seriously, and the penalties associated with a conviction can be severe. You need dedicated legal counsel to level the playing field and help you stand up for your interests when facing the criminal justice system.

Contact Phillips | Tadros, P.A., today for an initial case evaluation to discuss how a Fort Lauderdale theft crime attorney will fight to protect your rights.

Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer After a Theft or Robbery Charge

A conviction for theft or robbery can significantly affect your freedom and future. A criminal record involving theft or robbery can follow you long after you’ve served your sentence. You need a robbery attorney from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., to help you pursue the best possible outcome given the circumstances of your case.

Our firm has over 50 years of combined legal experience. We’ve built a reputation for providing effective legal counsel, diligent trial preparation, and personalized attention in every case. We know the stress you may feel from facing severe criminal charges. Our attorneys provide responsive communication throughout your case. You can always reach us to get updates on the progress of your case and answers to your questions as they arise.

What Are the Differences Between Theft and Robbery in Florida?

Under Florida law, robbery occurs when a person takes money or other property from someone else with the intent to deprive that person of their money or property through the use of force, violence, assault, or by putting them in fear of violence or injury. The state defines the crime of theft as depriving a person of the right to or benefit of their property or appropriating someone else’s property for one’s use when not entitled to use the property.

One of the main differences between theft and robbery includes the use of force or the threat of force to take the property from its lawful owner or custodian. Robbery requires the use or threat of force, whereas a person can commit theft without using force against the owner or custodian of the property. Thus, although both theft and robbery involve taking money or property, robbery also involves a crime against a person.

In Florida, a person can also commit “robbery by sudden snatching.” Robbery by sudden snatching occurs when an offender takes money or property from a person, and the person becomes aware of the taking as it’s happening. A robbery by sudden snatching offense does not require the state to prove that the offender used force beyond that necessary to obtain possession of the money or property, that the victim offered resistance, or that the victim suffered injuries.

What Are Common Examples of Theft and Robbery in Florida?

 In Florida, various types of criminal activity fall within the broader categories of robbery and theft. Common examples of theft and robbery crimes include:

  • Larceny
  • Shoplifting
  • Pickpocketing
  • Carjacking
  • Burglary
  • Vehicular theft
  • Identity theft
  • Embezzlement
  • Theft of services
  • Theft by deception
  • Extortion

What Are the Florida Laws and Degrees of Theft and Robbery?

Under Florida criminal law, the degrees of theft and robbery offenses will depend on several factors. These include the value of the money or property taken, the type of property stolen, where the offender took the property from, and whether the offender has prior theft or robbery convictions.

Under the theft statute, first-degree grand theft involves:

  • Stealing property worth $100,000 or more
  • Stealing a semitrailer deployed by law enforcement
  • Stealing cargo worth $50,000 or more that has entered the stream of commerce
  • Committing any grand theft using a motor vehicle other than as a getaway vehicle and damaging another party’s real property
  • Causing $1,000 or more in damage to another party’s property

Second-degree grand theft occurs when a person:

  • Steals property or money worth $20,000 or more but less than $100,000
  • Steals cargo worth less than $50,000 that has entered the stream of commerce
  • Steals emergency medical equipment worth $300 or more from a medical facility, ambulance, or air ambulance
  • Steals equipment worth $300 or more from a law enforcement department vehicle

A person commits third-degree grand theft when they:

  • Steals property worth $750 or more but less than $20,000
  • Steals a will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument
  • Steals a firearm, motor vehicle, farm animal, fire extinguisher, citrus fruit (2,000 individual pieces or more), stop sign, or controlled substance
  • Steals property worth $100 or more but less than $750 when taken from a dwelling or the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling

The degrees of robbery offenses under Florida law largely depend on whether the offender carried a weapon and the type of weapon they had:

  • Carrying a firearm or another deadly weapon is a first-degree felony
  • Carrying a non-deadly weapon is a first-degree felony
  • Carrying no weapon is a second-degree felony

Committing robbery by sudden snatching while carrying a firearm or deadly weapon constitutes a second-degree felony. The offense constitutes a third-degree felony when the offender has no firearm or deadly weapon during the robbery.

What Are the Differences Between Petit Theft and Grand Theft?

The significant differences between grand theft and petit theft primarily involve the value of the stolen money or property. Petit theft offenses typically involve property valued at less than $750, whereas grand theft offenses involve property valued at $750 or more. However, various aggravating circumstances can raise a petit theft offense to a grand theft offense, such as:

  • Stealing property from a dwelling
  • Stealing a firearm after having previously committed grand theft of a firearm
  • Committing a third or subsequent theft offense

What Are the Penalties Involved with Theft and Robbery Offenses?

Penalties for a theft conviction include:

  • First-Degree Grand Theft – Up to 30 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Grand Theft – Up to 15 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third-Degree Grand Theft – Up to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $5,000.
  • First-Degree Petit Theft – Up to one year in jail and a potential fine of up to $1,000.
  • Second-Degree Petit Theft: Up to 60 days in jail and a potential fine of up to $500.

Penalties for a robbery conviction in Florida include:

  • First-Degree Robbery Involving a Firearm or Deadly Weapon – A prison term not to exceed life imprisonment
  • First-Degree Robbery Involving a Non-Deadly Weapon – Up to 30 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Robbery – Up to 15 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.

Courts can also impose restitution as part of a theft or robbery conviction sentence. Restitution requires an offender to reimburse a victim for financial losses they sustained due to theft or robbery. A court may order a defendant to pay restitution to a victim if the offense damaged or destroyed the stolen property or if the defendant transferred possession of the property and cannot return it.

What Are Common Defenses in Theft and Robbery Cases?

A defendant facing a theft or robbery charge may have various defenses that can reduce the grading of the charge or result in the dismissal of the case upon a showing of innocence. Common defenses used to fight theft and robbery charges include:

  • Challenging the calculation of the value of the stolen property or money, which can help reduce the grading of a theft offense
  • Arguing that you had the right to ownership or possession of the subject property; in a robbery case, you may also have to raise a defense of property claim if you used force or the threat of force to claim property you believed belonged to you
  • Claiming that you had permission from the property’s owner or custodian to take or use the property, which can negate the intent element of a theft or robbery charge
  • Arguing that you did not have possession of a weapon, which can reduce the grading of a robbery charge
  • Arguing that you did not use force or threat of force to take the property, which can reduce a robbery charge to robbery by sudden snatching
  • Intoxication, which can support a claim that you mistakenly took property and lacked the required criminal intent under the theft or robbery statute
  • Alibi, which requires you to present evidence that you were somewhere else when the alleged theft or robbery occurred
  • Challenging a victim’s or eyewitness’s identification
  • Honest mistake, which may occur when you inadvertently take merchandise from a store without paying for it

Defense strategies in theft and robbery cases may also involve filing motions to exclude statements and evidence obtained by investigators in violation of your civil and constitutional rights. For example, suppose police question you without advising you of your Miranda rights or search your home or vehicle without obtaining a search warrant. In that case, the trial court may exclude that evidence and potentially reduce or dismiss your charges.