Homestead Criminal Defense Lawyer
Homestead, the second oldest city in Miami-Dade County after the city of Miami, was incorporated in 1913. The name Homestead is attributed to the fact that the area was once opened to homesteading when the Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West was being built. A construction camp at the end of the line was once designated as “Homestead Country,” which was subsequently shortened to Homestead by engineers who mapped the area.
Homestead is currently home to more than 60,000 people as well as the Homestead-Miami Speedway which holds NASCAR races. The city of Homestead has undergone dramatic changes through the years, particularly since the area was ravaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. One of the most significant changes in Homestead has been rising crime rates.
Common Crimes in Homestead, Florida
Today, the overall crime rate of Homestead, which includes property crimes such as theft, is 56 percent higher than the rest of the state, and 66 percent higher than the national average. If you are facing criminal charges in Homestead, Florida, it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, located in Miami, is a leading criminal defense law firm serving clients in Homestead and throughout South Florida. Founding attorney Antonio Valiente began his legal career at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, where he served for over 6 years. As a public defender, he saw how individuals who have been charged with a crime are at a disadvantage against county and state prosecutors. He founded Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC on the principle that anyone who has been accused of a crime is entitled to the presumption of innocence as well as first-rate representation.
When you become a client of Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, our legal team will take the time to explain all of your rights and choose the best line of defense. Well-versed in the Florida Criminal Code, we routinely handle all types of criminal cases in Homestead, including theft crimes.
Theft Crimes in Homestead, Florida
Generally, theft is defined as knowingly obtaining, using, or attempting to use another person’s property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deny the owner of the property. Under Florida law, there are two classifications of theft based on the value of the property, petit theft and grand theft.
Petit theft (petty theft) involves property valued at less than $750. This offense can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for petit theft in Homestead can result in a jail sentence between 60 days and 1 year and fines up to $1,000. Grand theft, on the other hand, involves property valued above $750 and is charged as a felony. Penalties for grand theft are determined by the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.
Common types of theft crimes in Homestead include:
Shoplifting — Also known as “retail theft,” shoplifting occurs when someone takes any merchandise, property, money, or alters or removes a price tag, label or universal product code (UPC) from merchandize in a retail store. Shoplifting can be charged either as petit theft or grand theft depending on the value of the property.
Burglary — This offense occurs when a person enters or remains in a dwelling, structure or conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense. Burglary may be charged as a first, second, or third-degree felony. The penalties include imprisonment, probation, and fines.
Robbery — Also considered a violent crime, robbery involves the taking of money or property from another person’s possession through the use of force, violence, assault or putting the victim fear in fear of harm. If a weapon is used during the commission of a robbery, it is considered a first-degree felony, otherwise robbery is charged as second-degree felony.
Dealing in Stolen Property — It is also against the law to traffic or attempt to traffic in property that the defendant knew or should have known was stolen, or to initiate or organize a theft crime and traffic the property. Dealing in stolen property can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony.
Auto Theft — This involves knowingly taking or using another person’s motor vehicle with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle, Auto theft can be charged as first, second, or third-degree felony depending on the value of the vehicle.
Penalties for Theft in Homestead
The punishments for theft are based on the value of the stolen property and the nature of the crime. If the property is valued at less than $100, theft is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Theft is considered a second-degree felony, however, which could lead to a prison sentence of up to 15 years, if the property is valued at $5,000 and two people are involved in the crime. The penalties for theft increase for property valued at higher amounts and in cases that involve forcible taking, the use of a firearm, or gang activity.
Contact Our Homestead Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a theft crime in Homestead, you face an uncertain future. In addition to the loss of your freedom, there will be other consequences. If you are convicted of felony theft, you may also lose your driving privileges, as well as the right to vote or to own or carry a gun. The best way to protect your rights and your freedom is to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC.
We will conduct an extensive investigation, which includes obtaining and reviewing the police report, identifying and interviewing any witnesses, and carefully examining the evidence against you. Our legal team has a proven history of defending clients against theft charges and will work tirelessly to either have the charges dropped or to win an acquittal. Don’t fight theft charges in Homestead alone. Contact Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC today for a free evaluation of your case.