I recently came across a story where a woman was arrested for stealing a car that Florida law recognizes as, in essence, half hers. After a verbal altercation with her husband, the woman left in the family car, which was registered in her husband’s name. The husband reported the car stolen. When the police found the women with the car a few days later, she was arrested for grand theft auto. Even after she explained that it was her husband’s car that had been purchased during the marriage, and that she was a listed driver on the insurance card, she was still arrested. If you’re anything like I am, you’re a little bothered to hear this story. I suppose there is a silver lining here. The woman reportedly only spent a few days in jail before posting bail, and the case was ultimately dropped.
I asked my nine year old son to tell me what he thought theft was. He said that it’s when you take something without permission. I then asked if he wasn’t allowed to use his laptop for some reason, but took it anyway, would that be stealing? He replied, “It’s not stealing if it’s already yours.” From the mouths of babes. Any Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer could easily tell you that theft takes place when a person knowingly obtains or uses the property of another and intends to permanently or temporarily deprive the person of the use of their own property. The key phrase is property of another. Section 61.075, Florida Statute makes property purchased during a marriage, whether solely in the husband’s or wife’s name or jointly, marital property. This means it belongs to the both parties of the marriage.
If you or a loved one are in need of legal representation, call the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys at the law office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today. We can help.