Fort Myers Burglary, Theft & Vandalism Defense Lawyers
Property crimes such as burglary, theft and vandalism include a range of misdemeanor and felony offenses that could lead to years in jail, expensive fines, restitution, forfeiture, and the host of negative consequences that stem from having a criminal record. At Foley & Wilson Law Firm, our legal team is dedicated to offering unmatched professional representation in criminal defense. Bolstered by over 45 years of legal experience in criminal law as both prosecutors and defense attorneys, we understand the intricacies of Florida’s criminal laws and are committed to guiding our clients through challenging times with dignity, respect, and unparalleled legal expertise. If you are facing charges for property crimes in southwest Florida, contact Foley & Wilson Law Firm for a free consultation with our team of skilled and experienced Fort Myers burglary, theft and vandalism defense lawyers.
Burglary, as outlined in Florida statutes Chapter 810 generally and Section 810.02 specifically, involves the unauthorized entry into a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein. For a conviction, the prosecution must prove:
- Unauthorized Entry or Remaining: The defendant entered the property without permission or remained in the property after that permission expired, such as staying in a store past closing time.
- Intent to Commit an Offense: There was an intention to commit a crime within the property at the time of entry or remaining. Note that burglary charges extend beyond the intent to commit a theft and include the intent to commit any crime within the dwelling or structure
Burglary in Florida is a felony offense, potentially leading to years in state prison if convicted. The severity of burglary charges in Florida can range from third-degree felonies to life felonies, depending on factors such as the type of property entered, whether the offender was armed, and whether the property was occupied at the time of the offense.
Persons charged with burglary in Fort Myers might have one or more of several defenses to raise in fighting the charges against them. Possible defenses include challenging the intent to commit a crime, demonstrating consent to enter the property, mistaken identity, or lack of evidence to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Theft, Robbery, and Related Crimes
Theft, as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 812, encompasses various offenses, including grand theft, petit theft, retail theft (shoplifting), and robbery. Grand theft and petit theft are defined in section 812.014. Theft is categorized as either grand theft or petit theft based on the value and nature of the property stolen. Grand theft involves property valued at more than $750, while petit theft involves property valued at $750 or less. Penalties for theft range from second-degree misdemeanors for petit theft to first-degree felonies for grand theft, depending on the property’s value and other circumstances.
Retail theft (shoplifting), found in section 812.015, involves the unauthorized taking of merchandise from a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the retailer of its possession, use, or benefit. Penalties vary based on the value of the merchandise stolen and can include both criminal and civil liabilities.
Robbery, an offense outlined in section 812.13, involves the taking of money or property from another person with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the person or owner of the money or property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. If convicted of robbery, penalties range from second-degree felonies to life felonies, depending on factors such as the use of a weapon and the degree of force used.
In cases involving theft, robbery, and related crimes, several defenses may be applicable depending on the circumstances of the case. A key defense often revolves around challenging the intent to commit theft or robbery, as proving intent is a crucial element for the prosecution. Other potential defenses include mistaken identity, where the accused was not the individual who committed the crime, or claiming rightful ownership or belief of rightful ownership of the property in question. In some instances, demonstrating the absence of force or coercion during the alleged robbery can be a critical factor.
Vandalism, or criminal mischief, is found in Florida Statutes 806.13. This crime involves the willful and malicious destruction or damage to the property of another. To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove the intentional and malicious nature of the act. Penalties vary based on the amount of damage caused and can range from second-degree misdemeanors to third-degree felonies. Possible defenses include lack of intent, accidental damage, ownership or rights to the property, or insufficient evidence to prove malicious intent.
Why Choose Foley & Wilson Law Firm for Your Defense?
Navigating the complexities of burglary, theft, and vandalism charges in Florida requires a deep understanding of the law and a strategic approach to defense. At Foley & Wilson Law Firm, we leverage our extensive experience and legal acumen to provide effective, personalized defense strategies for our clients. Our approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about ensuring your rights are protected and your story is heard.
Our seasoned legal team meticulously examines every aspect of the prosecution’s case to identify weaknesses and construct a robust defense strategy tailored to the specifics of each client’s situation. We believe in upholding the principle that every individual deserves a fair and vigorous defense, especially in complex cases involving accusations of theft, robbery, and related crimes.
Contact Foley & Wilson Law Firm for Help With Defense of Burglary, Theft or Vandalism Charges in Fort Myers
If you or a loved one are facing charges related to burglary, theft, or vandalism in Fort Myers, Florida, contact Foley & Wilson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can help defend your rights and future.