Articles Posted in Property Crimes

The United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that has been historic in a case entitled the Miranda v. Arizona, in 1966Essentially, four cases made it to the United States Supreme Court with similar issues.  All cases involved interrogation by police in a closed room where the putative Defendant was cut off from the outside world.  In three of these cases, the Defendant signed statements that were admitted at trial and one of the cases involved oral statements admitted at trial.  Following the Miranda Case, whenever a person is taken into detention, that individual must be advised of their Fifth Amendment right against making any self-incriminating statements.  When the police question someone in custody, they must advise:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. Anything that you say can and will be used against you.

What is Petit Theft?

Petit Theft is defined in the Florida Statutes under F.S. 812.014(2)-(3)(c).  Where property that is involved in a theft is valued at less than $750, petit theft is usually the correct charge.

In order to prove the crime of Petit Theft, the following must be proven:

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is what Florida’s Speedy Trial Rules are based upon.  The right to a Speedy Trial is a fundamental right.  It is designed to eliminate incarceration for long periods of time when one is accused of a crime.  The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that persons charged with a crime will be brought to trial within 90 days of arrest where the crime charged is a misdemeanor and within 175 days where the crime charged is a felony. Rule 3.191(b) provides for a Defendant to demand a speedy trial in writing and when this occurs, he or she is entitled to trial within 50 days.  Under this rule, such a demand signifies that the Defendant is prepared to proceed to trial within 5 days.

What happens if the state fails to conduct a trial within the statutory time periods? 

Where the state fails too bring the accused to trial within the above referenced time periods, the Defendant is discharged (except for exceptions to the tolling of these time periods).

Is There a Warrant Issued in My Name?

There are numerous warrants issued for almost every type of crime that occurs in Florida.  The warrant system is used to apprehend criminals and those accused of a crime.  Despite the belief that warrants expire, they do not.  Additionally, warrants can be executed at anytime.  Just because you may not be located within the territory of the state that issued a warrant, you are not safe from exposure to arrest.  It is common for warrants to be issued for both felonies and misdemeanors in Florida.  A warrant will be active until it is served, the individual dies, or the judge recalls the warrant.  It is important to resolve a warrant promptly, so one does not have to deal with a multitude of problems unexpectedly.  Your arrest could result from the most minor traffic stop for a tailgate light.

The FDLE has a database which usually lists active warrants and may be found online at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/.  You can select “search wanted persons” and you will be taken to a search screen.

When Should You File a Post Conviction Relief Motion in Florida?

A motion for post conviction relief is a motion that is filed after an individual is convicted of a crime where the court is being asked to relieve a person from their conviction.  The following grounds may be used as the reason for filing:

  1. The sentence imposed was illegal or violates the Florida or United States Constitution.

What Are the Potential Costs?

When an individual is charged with theft or shoplifting in Florida, he or she faces potentially serious penalties.  This can affect one’s ability to secure a job because such a crime is classified as a crime of dishonesty.  This is significant even though a misdemeanor is typically considered relatively insignificant.  When a potential employer performs a background check and finds a conviction for such a crime in a candidate’s history, it may disqualify the candidate depending on the type of job.  The penalties for shoplifting or retail theft include jail, fines, civil penalties, restitution, court costs, and attorney’s fees.  In the event one is convicted a Grand Theft in Florida, they may be sentenced a prison.

How Does Florida Law Define Retail Theft?

Burglary in Florida is defined as entering a dwelling, structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter.

F.S. § 810.02(2) indicates that burglary is a felony of the first degree if the offender assaults or batters another person or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon.  It can also be a first-degree felony to use a motor vehicle as an instrument to assist in committing the offense and damaging the dwelling or structure or to cause damage in excess of $1,000.00.

BurglaryF.S. § 810.02(3) indicates that burglary is a felony of the second degree if, during the offense, the offender does not assault or batter a person and is not or does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive.  It will also be a second-degree felony if the offender enters or remains in a dwelling and there is or is not another person in the dwelling and the offender enters or remains.

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.

theftI 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.

While entering a convenience store parking lot, you accidentally bump another car while pulling into a parking space.  There is no one in the car.  You go in side the store and ask around to find the car’s owner.  However, you strike out.  The owner is nowhere around.  What do you do?  Florida law, under Florida Statute 316.063,  requires a driver in this situation to leave a note with the driver’s name, address, and registration number in a place on the damaged car that can easily be seen.  Afterwards, the accident should be reported to the police without unnecessary delay.  After doing the things that you required to do by law, you are free to leave.

Leaving the scene of an accident

Leaving the scene

Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida is not necessarily a crime.  under Florida Statute 316.063, but leaving without providing the information above can land you in hot water.  Not contacting the police as soon as possible can get you into trouble also.  Leaving the scene of an accident or a” hit and run” that involves only property damage is a simple misdemeanor and NOT  likely to get you jail time or anything like that, but it is too simple to avoid for you to be in trouble with the law.  Leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries is another story.  Just as there is a duty to provide certain information after a crash, there is also a duty to render aid to people injured in a crash.  Leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries is a felony offense that can be punishable by a prison sentence.

The second amendment is a staple in American constitutional law.  Gun rights lawyers and other second amendment advocates quote and cite it often.  After America fought and won its independence, our founding fathers knew that an armed militia was important to the survival of the new nation.  Nevertheless, there are those that still are weary of firearms and the destruction they can cause when not properly used or when guns fall into the wrong hands.

Gun3According to Jacksonville.com, a rash of stolen guns from unlocked cars has the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office concerned.  JSO noticed a spike in guns being stolen from cars.  In April, there were 69 guns stolen from cars; 41 of the guns stolen were taken from unlocked cars.  Guns can absolutely be useful for personal protection, but gun owners have a responsibility to keep them away from children and thieves.  Being careless enough to leave a gun in an unlocked car only gives ammunition to those who are adamantly against guns and wish to see more regulation.

Those that are anti-gun, can’t dispute the fact that guns save lives when used properly, just as guns take lives when used irresponsibly.  Take former CNN anchor Lynne Russell and her husband, former CNN reporter, Chuck de Caro for example.  The couple was recently accosted at gun point by a would-be robber when a gun was placed to Mrs. Russell’s stomach, and she was forced into her hotel room.  There was ultimately a shoot out between the would-be robber and de Caro, who was shot three times.  Return fire from de Caro hit and killed the would-be robber.

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