The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office took six people into custody. They are suspected of committing various crimes in Duval and St. John’s County FL. This article will relay information about the thefts and burglaries that these people are accused of committing and the Florida criminal laws that apply. This is just information. If you have been arrested or are suspected of committing burglary or theft in Jacksonville or the surrounding towns, you should speak to a Jacksonville criminal lawyer about your case in particular. Your case has different facts, circumstances, and defenses, so your Jacksonville criminal attorney would be the best person to assess your case.
Action News of Jacksonville released a story yesterday about a car-burglary ring that began an in Duval County and spread to St. Johns County. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office believes that the “Jacksonville suspects have committed a variety of crimes in St. Johns County in the last week.” The news article read as follows:
“Shoar said a carload of people from Jacksonville traveled to St. Augustine Beach Tuesday in a stolen car, which was recovered by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Another vehicle entered the same gated community where a previous crime had been reported and was spotted by a deputy, who ran the tags and discovered that the car had been reported stolen in Jacksonville, Chief Robert Hardwick said. The officer captured four suspects after a short chase. Other officers from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office captured two other suspects. The four suspects in the car confessed to stealing the car and the burglaries, Hardwick said. Hardwick said five of the six suspects are in custody. The sixth person was released. Four men and a woman confessed to numerous other car burglaries, house burglaries and an auto theft ring out of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach, authorities said.”
According to the article, it appears that the suspects are facing several criminal charges. For starters, there is the stolen car. If the car was stolen from Jacksonville, the grand theft auto charge will be filed in Duval County. If that theft occurred in St. Augustine, the grand theft auto charge will be filed in St. Johns County. Florida Statute Section 812.014(c)(6) is the law that prohibits grand theft of an automobile. The Florida grand theft auto law states, “It is grand theft of the third degree and a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property stolen is…. A motor vehicle….” As a third-degree felony, grand theft auto is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The Jacksonville news article also states that suspects confessed to house burglaries and car burglaries. The Florida burglary law is Section 810.02 which defines burglary as:
1. Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
2. Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
a. Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
b. After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
c. To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony, as defined in s. 776.08.
In most criminal cases, burglary to a motor vehicle is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The article mentioned “house burglaries” which is considered burglary to a dwelling. If the house is unoccupied, this is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in Florida State Prison. If the house was occupied at the time of the burglary, it is a first-degree felony which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The suspects may have defenses to the crimes they are accused of committing. There are several co-defendants. While one defendant may have committed several burglaries or thefts, the other may have only committed one. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office claims to have received confessions from five people. Were these confessions obtained in compliance with the law? Did the police violate the defendants’ Miranda rights? These are just a few of the many questions that the defendants’ criminal defense attorneys will have.
Another issue to pay attention to is that the defendant’s are accused of committing crimes in both St. Johns and Duval County. This means that they are not necessarily going to receive jail time credit in Duval County for the time that they have served in St. Johns County.