Penalties for Mail Theft in Florida
With the rise of online shopping, mail theft is becoming especially common throughout Florida. The incentive to steal parcels, mail, and even entire delivery trucks becomes even higher during the holiday season – when Floridians ship more high-value mail than at any other time. Defendants should be aware of the penalties for these offenses, and they should seek immediate legal representation after facing mail theft charges.
Mail Theft Is a Federal Offense
Many defendants in Florida might not be aware that mail theft is a federal crime. This is due to the nationwide, federal nature of the United States Postal Service. According to 18 U.S. Code § 1708, mail theft may involve the following acts:
- Stealing mail
- Obtaining letters by fraud
- Stealing mail bags
- Taking items out of letters
- Breaking into a mailbox
The maximum penalty for this offense is up to five years in prison. Fines are also possible.
Examples of Mail Theft in Florida
On December 7th of 2023, the Department of Justice reported that a defendant had been arrested in Florida for conspiracy to commit postal robbery, armed postal robbery, theft of a Postal Service Arrow Key, and using a firearm during a violent crime. Although this announcement came in December, the crime itself occurred long before the holiday season. This was a highly publicized theft ring that involved two other individuals. Due to the nature of this offense, the defendant faces well over a decade in prison.
Porch Piracy May Also Result in Serious Offenses
So-called “porch piracy” is another related offense in Florida that typically becomes more common during the holiday season. This offense involves defendants allegedly stealing parcels from porches. These parcels are often delivered by Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and similar companies.
While this might not result in federal charges, the consequences can be just as serious as mail theft. Florida is considering new legislation that would heighten penalties for porch piracy, and many other states have created similar laws within the past few years. Along with normal theft charges, it is possible to face trespassing charges for such offenses.
Penalties for Stealing Delivery Vans
Some defendants are tempted to steal entire delivery vans. These crimes are almost always associated with much more serious penalties. Many defendants face additional carjacking, robbery, and related offenses for stealing vans. On December 11th of 2023, a defendant stole an Amazon van in South Florida and sparked a high-speed pursuit on I-95. He was later charged with grand theft among a slew of other offenses.
Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Fort Myers criminal defense attorney, consider booking a consultation with the Foley & Wilson Law Firm. Stealing a piece of mail may be more serious than defendants realize, especially considering the heightened penalties associated with federal offenses. Interfering with the United States postal system in any way can lead to severe consequences. This stresses the need for effective legal representation – so get in touch today to discuss potential defense strategies.