Theft-based crimes, such as car burglary in Jacksonville, are typically handled as serial crimes by police. That means that detectives often believe that a person who commits one crime is likely responsible for others.
Investigators typically assume that a person is responsible for a string of crimes if they make an arrest. Sometimes they have proof and sometimes, as Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers have seen, they have nothing but a desire to get old cases off the books.
For police departments, in general, making an arrest is good enough to clear out an old case and make their statistics look better. The fewer open cases they have, the better it makes the department look. But officers must have some proof to charge a person with a crime and it’s up to a lawyer to hold the state, once prosecutors get the case, to an even higher standard.
Police must have probable cause, which is a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed the crime, to make an arrest. It’s not much, but it still is a standard. Prosecutors must prove a case beyond all reasonable doubt, which is an even higher standard of proof.
So, charging a person with a string of crimes comes with some responsibility. A person can’t be a suspect simply based on an area of town, a type of burglary tool used or the “motive” behind hitting a certain type of house, car or business. But it happens.
In this case, two men — ages 18 and 22 — were arrested and charged with car burglaries in the San Marco area of Jacksonville. Police are saying that they found what they have deemed stolen property on the suspects and believe that the quantity means there may be other victims.
Police based these arrests on a witness who followed two men after they allegedly broke into the woman’s neighbor’s vehicle. After she followed them, she called 911 and told dispatchers where the men were turning. When police stopped them, they allegedly found CDs, sunglasses, a backpack and a GPS device.
From the woman’s description, it appears she saw men walking down the street, but didn’t see them break into a vehicle. She said she followed them because they looked suspicious and drove off after she spotted them.
There is a difference between car burglary and grand theft auto, however. Car burglary means to break into a vehicle and steal things from it, such as money, a laptop or other electronics. Grand theft of a vehicle means to break into the vehicle and actually take the vehicle.
Car burglary is typically filed as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, if no weapons are used and no one is inside the vehicle. Grand theft of a vehicle, depending on the value of the vehicle stolen, can be punished as either a third-degree, second-degree or first-degree felony.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
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