Jacksonville police arrested a 53-year-old woman whom they say tried to leave a Jacksonville Wal-Mart without paying for several packages of crab meat.
Greta Young was arrested for felony theft in Jacksonville last month and police found $120 worth of crab meat in her purse, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.
Ordinarily, because the value of the property is between $100 and $300, Young would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. A Jacksonville Theft Charge does not become a felony until the value of the property stolen is more than $300. However, there is a part of the law working against Young in this case. If someone has already been convicted twice of any type of Florida theft charge, the state can charge the person with felony petit theft, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.
Young has several prior theft charges on her record dating back to 1990, the newspaper reported. A Jacksonville theft crime is one of the crimes that can elevate to a felony based on a person’s record. Jacksonville DUI is another that can become a felony if a person has multiple convictions. These cases are a prime example of why it is critical to have a Jacksonville theft attorney on board, even if it seems like an insignificant event and there is no jail time at risk. Not every arrest results in a conviction. Many people will choose to simply plead guilty at first appearance court without consulting a lawyer and that conviction will be on their record forever. A Criminal Theft Lawyer in Jacksonville, for example, may have been able to get the state to agree to withhold adjudication if certain conditions were met, meaning the guilty plea may not appear on the person’s record. That would be extremely important in a case like Young’s where one plea could be the difference between a Florida misdemeanor and a felony. It may seem like the easiest and best way to handle a situation is to enter an immediate guilty plea and be done with it, but that could have serious consequences down the road.
There are also several diversion programs available for first-time offenders in Jacksonville theft cases and it is not typically a crime where prosecutors are expecting someone to agree to significant jail or prison time. Obviously, Young would not qualify for these programs and there does come a time where the state will try to send a message to a defendant who is repeatedly in the same type of trouble. I t remains to be seen if that will be the case for Young this time around.
Our Jacksonville theft lawyer has represented hundreds of clients facing theft charges – misdemeanors and felonies, first-time offenders and people with several theft convictions on their record. 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 Duval County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.