Property crimes in Florida span a range of illegal activities, including arson, trespassing, theft, and vandalism. Generally, the common principle to all the different activities is using or taking someone else’s property without their permission. Relatedly, you could have had permission, but it was revoked, and you continued to use that person’s property.
Understand that while some property crimes are only considered misdemeanors, especially for a first offense, if you are charged and convicted, even only just for paying a fine, you may have a criminal record. Be it a misdemeanor or felony, it’s best to avoid the problem in the first place.
Florida Property Crimes
Arson in Florida is a felony and involves burning property. The magnitude of the charges is proportional to the damage done, and harm done to anyone. Accidental fires are not arson unless negligence was a factor, and the fire was avoidable.
Willful, malicious property damage or destruction is criminal mischief (also known as vandalism), including placing graffiti. Again, the severity of the charges depends on the damage; also, whether or not the perpetrator has a prior history of such acts.
Theft and Burglary
Theft is unlawful taking of someone’s property; either petit theft or grand theft, the distinction in Florida is petit theft is under $300, and grand theft is over $300. Common examples are shoplifting or writing bad checks and can be either category, depending on the amount.
Burglary involves breaking and entering, besides the theft, and, you can commit burglary without theft if your intention for entering is some other reason.
Trespassing occurs when someone knowingly enters a property, like land or a building, without permission of the owner, or refuses to leave after told to.
Penalties depend on various factors, including whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony, which class of either type of crime, and the value of the property. Penalties include fines and jail time.
If you need assistance, please contact us at The Dunn Law Firm, 3100 Southgate Circle, Suite A, in Sarasota, 941-866-4352.