The difference between thefts, burglaries and the varying penalties in Clay County property crimes

The regular rundown of Clay County property crimes published in the Florida Times-Union can be an entertaining read of the things people steal. The most recent installment includes copper tubing from linked propane tanks at a Winn-Dixie, a backflow preventer from the water line of a business, a lawnmower and a motorcycle, the newspaper reported. The items are compiled by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and are pulled from reports from the victims, so they may have arrested people in some of the Clay County Theft Cases and not in others.

Punishments vary dramatically depending primarily on what the person is accused of stealing and where they allegedly stole it from. Theft is taking something that is out in the open: a bicycle from a parking lot, the copper tubing from the propane tanks. The punishment for theft is predominantly determined by the value of the property or the financial amount of any physical damage caused. Stealing something valued at less than $300 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail. But once that amount exceeds $300, the charge becomes a felony and the defendant is now looking at up to five years in state prison. Burglary to a conveyance is stealing from something that is not a building or a residence. The most common example is a vehicle. For example, the recent Clay County crimes report shows power and hand tools stolen from a dump truck and a purse taken from an unlocked vehicle. This Clay County Theft Crime is a third-degree felony, also punishable by up to five years in prison.

Burglary to a structure or dwelling is entering a building, business or home to take an item or items. In most instances, this is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The second-degree felony would also apply to a theft from a car – if there was someone in the car when the alleged theft occurred. Armed burglary is not only what would initially come to mind, someone walking into a home or business with a gun and stealing things from inside. In Clay County Theft Cases, armed burglary also applies when a person steals a gun. So someone can walk in unarmed, take a gun and thus become armed, and the armed burglary charge applies. Armed burglary is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Our Clay County Theft Attorney has represented people on all of the above charges, from minor thefts to armed burglaries – and everything in between. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney knows the ins and outs of each of the charges and the elements the state needs to prove each of them beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.