Florida Statute §705.102(1) states that a person must return or report to law enforcement agencies if he/she finds any lost property. If he/she fails to do so or return the property when demanded, it will be considered as theft of abandoned or lost property.
Moreover, this law is equally applicable to valuable and less valuable items. Valuable items may include laptops, cell phones, electronic devices, etc. and invaluable may include bicycles, hubcaps, etc.
Penalties for Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property
A person will be penalized for this crime depending on the value of the lost item found.
Petit Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property
If the total worth of the property found is below $300, it will be categorized as petit theft, and the convicted person will be penalized according to the legal punishments related to petit theft.
Grand Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property
If the total worth of the property found is greater than$300, it will be categorized as grand theft, and the convicted person will be penalized according to the legal punishments related to grand theft.
Defenses to Theft of Lost or Abandoned Property
Lawfully Claimed Property
A person finds a lost or abandoned property, and he/she reports or submits that property to a law enforcement agency. Also, he/she deposits enough money to that law enforcement agency to cover up expenses related to public notification, storage, or transportation. If nobody comes forward to claim the property, then that person will be given legal rights to own that property even if someone claims that property after this procedure.
According to the laws of Florida, a person can only be convicted if he/she is involved in the theft of a property. Now, it is important to understand that property means anything that has a market or monetary value. If the value of the stolen property is not ascertainable, it cannot be considered as property. For example, if you throw something in garbage or road, it means that the item has no value anymore, and if someone picks it up, he/she cannot be held guilty for doing that.
Voluntary abandonment can be used as a defense in a theft. It means that you were attempting a theft, and you intentionally abandoned the theft due to some circumstances you encountered during the theft.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Larry Avallone
If you have been charged or arrested in the Daytona Beach area, contact Larry Avallone, who is an expert Criminal Defense Lawyer in Volusia County. My initial consultation is completely free. I am ready to provide legal advice regarding the next steps in your case.