In the state of Florida, employee theft is generally considered a “white collar crime,” which means it is a crime committed by someone in a professional position or in a position of trust.
Unfortunately, because of stereotypes surrounding “white collar criminals,” judges and prosecutors tend to be harsh when it comes to dealing with cases of employee theft in Orlando. Those who are accused of employee theft, for example, may face more severe penalties than people who are simply accused of shoplifting. Further, diversionary programs that allow you to avoid a permanent record of your criminal conviction often are not available when you’ve been accused of employee theft. So it’s crucial to retain a knowledgeable attorney like the ones you will find at Katz & Phillips to help you achieve a desirable outcome.
The actual consequences that you may face when you’ve been accused of employee theft are going to vary depending on what you are charged with by law enforcement. There is no Florida law expressly making “employee theft” a crime distinct from other types of theft. As such, you may be charged under other criminal statutes including theft or larceny, grand larceny (the theft of items valued at $300 or more), and fraud. You may even be charged with operating or being part of an organized scheme to commit fraud, which can mean very serious penalties.
The amount of money that you stole and the method by which you stole it will play the biggest role in determining which of these charges you face. The value of the stolen goods is also determinative in assessing what your potential sentence might be if you are convicted. For example, taking property valued between $300 and $20,000 can result in being charged with grand larceny, as can taking property valued between $20,000 and $100,000. However, when the value of the theft is below $20,000, you’d be charged with a third-degree felony and face a maximum of five years incarceration. If you’ve stolen more than $20,000 worth of goods, on the other hand, you face second-degree felony charges and the maximum prison sentence goes up to fifteen years.
In addition to jail time, a conviction will likely include an order of restitution to repay the employer for the amount that was stolen. Not only that, but you’d face fines as well – up to $10,000 for a second-degree felony and $5,000 for a third-degree felony.
The consequences of a conviction can be life-changing. This is true not only because of potential fines and incarceration, but also because a criminal record for employee theft can make it difficult or impossible to get a job in the future. With the stakes so high, it is important to consult with an Orlando employee theft defense attorney who is experienced in this aspect of criminal law.
A Katz & Phillips lawyer can evaluate your case and help you to decide how to proceed. If the evidence against you is strong, for example, your attorney may be able to help negotiate a plea bargain to minimize the penalties. If you stole goods instead of money, your attorney also be able to assist in arguing for a lower valuation of the stolen items to reduce the charges you face.
Of course, an Orlando employee theft lawyer at Katz & Phillips can also try other tactics to help you avoid conviction altogether. For example, if the search that turned up the stolen property was illegal, the evidence may be thrown out due to a violation of your constitutional rights.
Whatever your situation, having an attorney will give you a chance to work toward getting the most positive outcome possible. Call the attorneys at Katz & Phillips today so we can get to work on your case and explore ways to make the criminal justice system work for you.