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Floridians, as with most Americans – especially those living in the South, are notoriously very proud of their property and endeavor to protect it by law. While property crime might sound like a minor offense, it includes such severe crimes as arson and burglary, and has the staunch penalties to match.
Facing these property crime offenses can be an intimidating experience, and it may not end with just the criminal penalties. It is possible you may face a civil suit as well. Contracting with an experienced Gainesville criminal lawyer may be the key ingredient to a defense that will lead your property crime case to a favorable outcome such as a reduction or dismissal in Alachua County.
In a region known for its no trespassing signs and staunch protection of property like the Southern United States, a property crime charge is not to be taken lightly. If you have been arrested and charged with a property crime offense in Gainesville, Alachua County, or the surrounding areas like Ocala in Marion County and Lake City in Columbia County, the knowledgeable Florida property crime attorneys of Galigani Law Firm can put their nearly 50 years of combined experience to work for you.
Backed by Dean Galigani's Florida Bar Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law, Galigani Law Firm will do whatever it takes to fight the property crime charges against you. To schedule your free consultation with a Alachua County property crime lawyer, call (352) 375-0812 today.
In Florida, a property crime is just like it sounds – any criminal offense involving property that does not belong to the offender. This can include anything from damaging the property to being on the property without permission. Most property crimes and their penalties are spelled out in the Florida Statutes under chapters 806 and 810. It is recommended you contact an experienced Gainesville criminal defense lawyer if arrested on any of the following Alachua County property crimes:
What penalties you will face as a result of a property crime conviction in Florida depend largely on the offense and factors like how much damage was done and if there was risky of injury to others during the commission of the property crime. The severity of a vandalism or criminal mischief offense, for instance, depends on the dollar amount of damage done and if any aggravating circumstances where present while the property crime was being committed.
For $200 in damage or less, vandalism is a second-degree misdemeanor; for $200-$1000 in damage, a first-degree misdemeanor; for $1000 or more in damage, an interruption of a business operation or public service costing $1000 or more to restore, or an aggravating circumstance like those listed above, vandalism / criminal mischief is a third-degree felony.
For trespassing, if the structure or conveyance is unoccupied, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. Trespassing in an occupied structure or conveyance is a first-degree misdemeanor, and trespassing in a structure or conveyance in any scenario with a firearm is a third-degree felony. It is a first-degree misdemeanor to trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance, unless there are aggravating circumstances present, which would make it a third-degree felony.
Breaking and Entering, or burglary, is a third-degree felony when committed in an unoccupied conveyance or structure, and a second-degree felony when committed in an occupied conveyance or structure, or in a dwelling (such as a house or apartment) regardless of the status of occupancy. The aggravating circumstances for breaking and entering in Florida upgrade the offense to a first-degree felony. Arson involving damage to only a structure with no risk to other persons is a second-degree felony, while arson involving a dwelling or any place that is or could be occupied is a first-degree felony.
These property crimes have penalties according to what degree offense they are. Additionally, graffiti offenses under vandalism come with a $250, $500, or $1,000 fine depending on if it's your first, second, or third conviction. All Florida felonies, including property crimes, have sanctions like the loss of certain civil rights and ineligibility for specific government assistance. Contact an experienced Alachua County property crime defense attorney to fight any of the following penalties for your Gainesville property crime:
Normally, when we think on the act of trespassing, we imagine someone entering a private property without permission. What you might not know is that you can also be arrested for trespassing in a public area such as a school, library, or post office. Although these areas are open to the public, you could still be arrested for trespassing at certain times.
According to Florida Statute section 810.08, a person can be charged with trespassing if they refuse to leave a public building or area during closing hours. They can enter and remain in the public structure or area during normal working hours, but once it’s closed, they are no longer allowed to stay on the premises. Florida law also requires these public areas to advertise their open hours on the property by the appropriate signage.
Criminal mischief is the legal term in Florida for acts of vandalism. The crime is non-violent and often results in minimal damage. The majority of criminal mischief offenders are teens or young adults who are simply having a fun time and not thinking of the consequences. Despite these factors, you could still be arrested for criminal mischief if you’re over the age of 18.
Criminal mischief is an arrestable offense even though the act is non-violent and often can be fixed with some soap and water. If you’re found committing the crime, you could very well be booked and remain in jail until you secure a bail bond. The penalties for criminal mischief include up to 60 days in jail and probation for up to 6 months.
In an effort to track historical trends of crimes, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has collected information from departments across Florida. The program is referred to as Uniform Crime Reporting and offers statistics regarding Florida crimes over the years. Certain property crimes are included in those reports such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. The following are some property crime statistics for the state of Florida from 2015 to 2018.
Florida Statutes Chapter 806 - Arson and Criminal Mischief – The best way to understand the property crime charges against you is to consult with someone who has extensive legal knowledge, such as an experienced Alachua County criminal defense attorney. However, it is also possible to develop your own understanding of your arson or criminal mischief charges by reading the statutes yourself. This links to the index for the statutes governing arson and criminal mischief in the Florida code.
Florida Statutes Chapter 810 - Burglary and Criminal Trespass – Follow this link to the index for Chapter 810 of the Florida Statutes, which governs the offenses of burglary and criminal trespass. See for yourself important information regarding your property crime offense, including definitions for specific terms and what constitutes certain prima facie (or sufficient) evidence.
If you have been charged with a property crime such as arson, criminal mischief, burglary, or criminal trespass in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, or Union County, contact the experienced and knowledgeable property crime defense lawyers of Galigani Law Firm.
Founded on the principles of advocacy, compassion, and communication and backed by the Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial law skills of Dean Galigani, Galigani Law Firm will do whatever it takes to achieve your desired favorable outcome for your Gainesville property crime case. Your first consultation is free, so call (352) 375-0812 today to schedule yours.
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