Any criminal convictions can have life-long consequences. A person convicted of a crime may suffer negative repercussions throughout life, including being denied certain jobs. In Florida, criminal charges are classified as either a felony offense or a misdemeanor charge. Generally, the major distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony is the maximum punishment you can receive if you are convicted. At common law, any crime punishable by less than a year imprisonment was considered a misdemeanor, while crimes punishable by more than a year were considered felonies. This distinction holds true under Florida law. A second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail. A third-degree felony—the least severe felony—carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. The maximum sentence for a second-degree felony is 15 years. A first-degree felony’s maximum sentence is 30 years. Even if you avoid jail time, some crimes can carry a permanent mark against you beyond just having a criminal history.
What Makes Theft Crime Charges Different
Certainly, some of the most severe criminal offenses are violent crimes like murder or armed robbery, which can carry even more severe sentences than a first-degree felony. But among the less serious crimes that involve property rights or property laws, theft offense convictions can be the most damaging because they involve deceptive and dishonest behavior. Even a conviction for common theft crimes like retail theft or shoplifting can end up haunting someone for the rest of their life.
Consequences of a Theft Crimes Charge
Like any conviction, once you receive a theft conviction, it will be a permanent part of your record. A conviction cannot be sealed or expunged. This can have devastating consequences on your employment and housing. A theft conviction can cause problems in your ability to obtain specific licenses that screen applicants for negative traits like stealing and dishonesty. Under the law, a theft crime conviction can even be grounds for someone to disbelieve your testimony in court. If you’re convicted of a theft crime, you will find that it can prevent you from holding any position of trust in both a personal and professional capacity. Although some criminal offenses, even very serious ones, can sometimes be explained in a job interview, it is tough to overlook a theft conviction.
Theft Crimes Defense in Miami-Dade County
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide valuable legal assistance if you’re facing theft charges. Your attorney may be able to resolve your case without having to go through a full criminal trial yet still avoid a conviction. Pretrial diversion programs exist for first-time offenders, enabling you to plead not guilty and have your case dismissed after completing the program. This can often be the best option in a petty theft case. If fighting your case in court is your best option, a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you present the best defense possible to increase the chances of the jury finding reasonable doubt. Regardless, your best course of action is to hire an experienced theft defense lawyer as soon as possible to avoid a black mark on your record and move on with your life.
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