Panama City Criminal Defense Attorneys
Consequences of a Theft Crime Conviction
The criminal offense of theft carries not only the potential criminal law sanctions of jail, fines, restitution and probation, but also the stigma associated with having a theft , “a crime of dishonesty” on your criminal record. Having a theft on your criminal record can affect everything from your career and educational opportunities, to whether a landlord will refuse a rental contract. Early intervention may make the difference on whether a theft charge will be prosecuted. This is especially true in a theft case. Panama City criminal defense lawyer Rusty Shepard handles theft allegations both pre-charge, and after the charges haves been filed in court.
Mr. Shepard, a former prosecutor who has handled over 5,000 cases over the course of his career, regularly works to help clients navigate the criminal justice system with a goal of avoiding criminal prosecution.
Panama City Theft Crime Report
The criminal offense of theft is very common both in the Panama City area and statewide. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that, acts of larceny occurred once every minute in 2011, a burglary was committed every three minutes, and a car was stolen every thirteen minutes. There were 5,472 larceny offenses in Bay County last year, a figure which includes crimes such as grand theft, shoplifting, stealing bicycles, theft from buildings and theft of auto parts, and the most common type of theft was theft from a motor vehicle (a.k.a. grand theft auto). Burglary was also widespread, with a total of 1,646 offenses in the Panama City area. FDLE estimates the value of goods stolen in Bay County in 2011 alone to be $7,833,766.
Theft Crime Defense Strategies
There are many ways to fight charges of theft but the key is to get started as soon as possible after the arrest. If the case is still under investigation and you are wanted for questioning regarding a theft, it is important to remember that the state will be required to prove the charge against you and that you are presumed innocent. The single easiest way for the state to prove the charge is for the accused to make a statement that can either be proven false or lead to a confession. Prior to questioning, it is highly recommended that you confer with a lawyer who will advise you on the “pros” and “cons” of giving a statement given the particular set of circumstances surrounding the case.
Many theft cases are successfully defended by showing the accused had reason to believe that he or she had been given permission to take the item, or that the accused was wrongfully identified as a suspect. Often, even if the state is able to prove the charge, there may be ways to avoid a criminal prosecution (through pre-trial intervention, “PTI”). Contact Shepard Law for a free, confidential consultation 24/7 to review your circumstances surrounding your case and learn more about your legal options.