Theft, Robbery & Burglary
The charge of theft comes in various forms, often dictated by the amount allegedly stolen. For example, if someone goes to Target and shoplifts items worth over $750 then it is a felony, called Grand Theft, and if the amount is less than $750 the charge is Petit Theft. If the amount is between $750 and $19,999 then the Grand Theft charge is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison; if the amount is $20,000 - $99,999 then the charge elevates to a 2nd degree felony and the maximum punishment raises to 15 years in prison. Likewise, if the alleged amount taken was $100,000 or more then it is a 1st degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
In a prosecution of theft charges, the State must prove that the Defendant obtained or attempted to obtain something of value, without permission, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the victim of the item(s). While most theft charges are shoplifting allegations, there are certainly instances of theft allegations that take place between 2 individuals. This can create a defense that the suspect did not have the intent to deprive the alleged victim of the items taken because he or she reasonably believed the items belonged to him or her. Another defense is that the Defendant did in fact have permission to obtain the items. In either instance, attorney Mark Lowry would use these arguments either to convince the prosecutor to drop the case, or before a jury to obtain a not guilty verdict.
Robbery charges require the State to prove the elements listed above for Theft, but as well the added element that in obtaining the item(s), the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear occurred. The most common Robbery charges brought to court are Robbery by Sudden Snatching, a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years; Robbery without a weapon, a 2nd degree felony punishable by up to 15 years; and Armed Robbery, a 1st degree felony with varying penalties depending on the weapon used. If the weapon charged is a firearm, then the maximum penalty is life in prison, and may trigger the 10-20-Life law requiring a mandatory minimum prison sentence. If the weapon is a knife or other deadly weapon, then it is a 1st degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Many times a defense strategy in defending Robbery charges is challenging how the officers seized the evidence after the suspect is arrested, filing a motion to suppress the evidence found, arguing officers violated the suspect’s 4th Amendment Right against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the items were found with the suspect, then reasonable doubt can be argued that the Defendant was not the one who took them.
Burglary is the unlawful entry into either a structure (business/store), conveyance (vehicle) or dwelling (home), with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglary of a structure or conveyance are both 3rd degree felonies punishable by up to 5 years prison, whereas Burglary of a dwelling is a 2nd degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. These degrees and severity of punishments are enhanced when a firearm is involved, bringing all 3 charges up to a 1st degree felony punishable by life (PBL) in prison, and may as well trigger the 10-20-Life statute requiring mandatory minimum prison sentences. Even if the Defendant entered the place unarmed but subsequently armed himself within the location, it becomes a PBL felony. The most common defense for Burglary charges is that the Defendant did not have the intent to commit a crime within the location. For example, if someone unlawfully enters a home to secretly place flowers on their loved one’s bed, this could not be charged as a Burglary because there was no intent to commit a crime. While a trespass charge could be warranted if the homeowner was not amused, there is certainly reasonable doubt as to whether the person entered with the intent to commit a crime.
Attorney Mark Lowry has the experience, knowledge and skill to properly defend these charges. After practicing as a prosecutor and defense attorney for over 16 years all over Florida, Mr. Lowry will give you the time and attention your case needs to achieve the best possible result. Should your case require a jury trial then Mark Lowry is ready and able to defend with aggression and skill as he has throughout his career. Contact Mr. Lowry for a free, no cost consultation to understand what he can do for you and help you better understand your charges.