As Florida cleans up from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, a number of individuals have to answer to charges of looting. State attorneys have filed charges of looting during a natural disaster against 10 individuals for one incident alone. Others face unrelated looting charges throughout the state.
Law enforcement officials say that approximately 10 people broke into Simon’s Sportswear located at Sunrise Boulevard and Powerline Road in Fort Lauderdale. They say that the group broke out a window in order to gain access to the building. From there, they walked out of the store carrying armloads of stolen shoes. A local news station caught the thefts on camera. The group also allegedly looted at a Footlocker and nearby Cash American pawn store. There’s no word on what the group may have taken from that store.
All of the individuals involved may need a Fort Lauderdale theft attorney in order to defend against the charges. The individuals charged are both juveniles and adults. All of the people charged have the right to a theft criminal defense lawyer. The individuals charged may also face charges of burglary. Juveniles may also face a curfew violation.
Even without occurring during a natural disaster, a burglary is a serious felony. Even without a criminal record of any kind, an individual can receive time in prison for the offense. The accused individuals have the right to representation from an experienced Fort Lauderdale looting defense attorney at a trial.
Defendants facing a charge of burglary or looting during a natural disaster have a number of defenses available to them. One of law enforcement’s challenges in a case like looting is identification of the defendant. It’s up to law enforcement to positively identify the person responsible for looting. That may be an issue in the chaos of the aftermath of a hurricane.
They must also prove that you intended to keep the stolen items, and that it wasn’t a misunderstanding. Finally, they have to show that you didn’t have a good reason to take the items. For example, if you take water, you may have a necessity or justification defense if you need the water to survive.
When you’re facing burglary, theft or looting charges, you can work with your Fort Lauderdale looting defense attorney to evaluate the charges against you. If you have viable defenses you can take your case to trial, or you can pursue a plea offer to a reduced charge. If you or someone you know have been in a similar legal situation contact Hassett & Associates, P.A. at 954-791-3939.