A Florida couple and their adult son were recently arrested for theft of electricity and the cultivation of $1 million of marijuana found in multiple dwellings, according to NY Daily News. The three were charged with multiple marijuana offenses (police found 370 plants that weighed 539 pounds total) and grand theft of electricity for the theft of $21,402.70 in electricity. The three had allegedly hooked up an illegal power connection to the three growing facilities. If you have been charged with theft of electricity or another utility, you need legal representation at once from a reliable and trusted West Palm Beach lawyer.
Florida Theft of Utilities
When the purpose is to cause a loss or damage or to prevent registered electricity or gas to pass through a utility line, it is illegal for any person to willfully perform any of the following actions:
- Tamper with;
- Damage; or
- Knowingly allow damage to occur to a meter, pipe, wire, or any other apparatus that belongs to a utility line service, according to Florida statute 812.14.
Breaking the seal of a meter or altering its index, wasting or allowing electricity to be wasted, and connecting a wire to a utility are all examples of violations of this statute. And, by violating this statute, a person risks being penalized with theft, including grand theft. There are four categories of theft, as described below.
West Palm Beach Theft
Theft is knowingly depriving another of their rightful ownership, and the degree of offense depends on the value of the goods taken and the type of good. For example, theft of a firearm or motor vehicle is at least grand theft of the third degree, even if the value is less than $300.
- Petit theft occurs when the value of the goods taken was less than $300. Petit theft is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail;
- Grand theft of the third degree occurs when the value of the goods taken was between $300 and $20,000. Grand theft of the third degree is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000; and
- Grand theft of the second degree occurs when the value of the goods taken was between $5,000 and $10,000. Grand theft of the second degree is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000;
- Grand theft of the first degree occurs when the value of the goods taken was over $100,000. Grand theft of the first degree is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney Today
Theft of utilities is a very serious offense. If you have been charged with theft of any type, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm today for immediate legal assistance. We aggressively defend the rights of our clients.