Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property Attorney in Tampa, FL
If you are facing charges of stealing lost or abandoned property, it may be the result of a simple misunderstanding of the law in Florida. Even so, penalties for a theft conviction can be serious, so it is important that you obtain representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any statements or decisions regarding your case.
If you or a loved one are facing theft of lost or abandoned property charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa theft of lost or abandoned property criminal defense lawyer, today.
Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property: Generally in Tampa, FL
Theft in Florida is defined as obtaining or using another person’s property with intent to deprive the person of it. It is also theft to obtain or use another person’s property with intent to appropriate it for your use or the use of a third person who is not entitled to it. The first definition does not apply to theft of lost or abandoned property, since the person who takes it by definition does not know anything about its original owner. But the second definition does apply, since the person taking the property is not entitled to it. “Finders keepers” is not the law in Florida: If you find lost or abandoned property of any value, you are required by law to report it to police. When you do, you can make a claim on the property in case its rightful owner cannot be found. To do this you must pay a deposit to cover the cost of finding the owner; if the owner is found, he must repay you. Keeping found property and failing to report it is considered a criminal act of theft in Florida. The penalties depend on the type of property and its value.
Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property: Grand Theft in Tampa, FL
Grand theft is the more serious type of theft and carries the more serious penalties. As a general rule, grand theft includes theft of anything worth $300 or more. Theft of lost or abandoned property worth $100,000 or more is first-degree grand theft, a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison. A minimum sentence of 21 months applies to this offense. Theft of lost or abandoned property valued at between $20,000 and $100,000 is second-degree grand theft, a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years. Theft of lost or abandoned property worth between $300 and $20,000 is third-degree grand theft, as is theft of lost or abandoned automobiles and firearms. This is a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years.
Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property: Petit Theft in Tampa, FL
Petit theft is the less serious, misdemeanor form of theft in Florida. As a general rule, theft of lost or abandoned property worth less than $300 is classified as petit theft. Theft of lost or abandoned property valued at between $100 and $300 is considered first-degree petit theft. This is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Second-degree petit theft, meanwhile, includes theft of lost or abandoned property worth less than $100. This is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by as many as 60 days in jail. In addition to jail, probation and fines, penalties for petit theft can include driver’s license suspension. A judge may impose a six-month suspension for a first-time petit theft conviction. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, a one-year suspension is mandatory.