There are numerous statutes and rulings that prevent criminal defendants from unjust convictions. For example, in many cases, a unanimous jury verdict is necessary to convict a person of a crime. When a single offense can be committed through alternative acts, though, unanimity is not necessary, as explained in a recent Florida ruling issued in a petit theft case. If you are accused of theft, it is in your best interest to meet with a Sarasota theft crime defense attorney about your rights.
Allegedly, in July 2021, the victim contacted the police to report a break-in at her apartment by the defendant. The two had a prior romantic relationship. The defendant was subsequently arrested and charged with six crimes, including petit theft. The petit theft charge pertained to the defendant allegedly obtaining or using the victim’s purse and/or wallet, intending to deprive her of the property.
Reportedly, during the trial, the victim testified that the defendant forcibly entered her apartment, demanding his phone and wallet. Despite her denial and attempts to show she didn’t possess his belongings, the defendant took her purse, containing the phone, wallet, and medication. The trial court instructed the jury to determine whether the defendant knowingly obtained the victim’s purse or wallet, and the jury found him guilty of petit theft, valuing the stolen property at less than $750. The defendant appealed.