Man charged in Clay County burglary for taking items from a car while owner had his back turned

Police arrested a man accused of taking a wallet and cellphone out of a car while the driver was renting a movie from an outdoor kiosk. Christopher Tate turned himself in after seeing his picture on the news in connection with the crime, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Tate is now charged with Florida burglary from an unoccupied structure and grand theft. Both charges are third degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in state prison, so Tate could be looking at up to 10 years in prison.

In Clay County Theft Cases, taking something valued at less than $300 is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a year in the county jail. The crime becomes a felony at $300 and then exposes the defendant to up to five years in state prison. In this Clay County Theft Case, the phone Tate is accused of taking was valued at $600, which made the case a felony. The other charge Tate is facing in this Clay County Theft Case is burglary. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there’s an important distinction to be made in between a robbery and burglary in Clay County Theft Cases. A burglary is taking something from a building or a car. In most Clay County Theft Cases, burglary is a third-degree felony. It can become a second-degree felony if the suspect is accused of going into a home with people inside, or if the person has a weapon on his or her person.

A robbery is a Clay County Theft Crime where someone is accused of taking something directly from another person by using or threatening violence to force the victim to hand over the money or other property. Robbery is viewed much more seriously by the court in Clay County Theft Cases. At the bare minimum, robbery is a second-degree felony. If the defendant has a weapon, the crime is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If the defendant is accused of showing the weapon in the course of the robbery, he or she could be sentenced to up to life in state prison. Burglaries and robberies are both serious Clay County Theft Crimes, but they are not treated equally by the court system. Our Clay County Theft Attorney is experienced in defending both types of crimes and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville 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.