Property crimes are fairly common throughout the state of Florida and in the United States as a whole. While local news often reports on the crime and the arrest, it is also important to have a basic understanding of criminal procedure in case you ever find yourself charged with a crime by the government. What happens in court is more important than the initial arrest, as a person cannot be convicted or acquitted at the time of arrest. 

The Okaloosa County Sheriff is investigating a number of incidents where suspects went into fitness center parking lots, smashed car windows, and took items from inside.

Suspects burglarize multiple cars in Destin outside of gyms 

The first incident happened about a week before the final crime. A press release from local law enforcement detailed that the thieves initially smashed windows out of three cars and took purses from inside. This happened while all of the vehicle owners were inside of nearby Destin Health and Fitness center on Commons Boulevard. A second string of similar incidents took place the next day at the Orange Theory Fitness on Furling Lane. Other robberies that followed the same pattern were also reported in the following days. 

Photographs from multiple crime scenes show a Mitsubishi Eclipse Crossover vehicle, which could be connected to all of the robberies. The victims’ cars were photographed, and in all of the cases one window was totally smashed out on each car.  

This technique of quickly attempting to steal property from multiple cars at once is sometimes referred to as “smash and grab” by law enforcement. There may be multiple suspects involved, and local police are still in the process of investigating and trying to determine their identities. 

Criminal procedure

The state will attempt to identify the suspects, arrest them, and formally file charges related to theft and burglary of items in a motor vehicle. Burglary crimes are serious felonies which carry the possibility of multiple years in prison. 

After the defendants are formally charged at an arraignment, they will have a right to retain an attorney and make their defense case. The state is also required to issue formal notices regarding the trial date and any additional charges that may be added later. When the trial date arrives, the defendant can either take an offer from the state as part of a no contest plea deal which will end the case with a lesser form of punishment, or have a full trial with witnesses and evidence. Criminal defense attorneys often file motions before the trial date if any evidence was collected improperly and should be suppressed. 

Why is a defense necessary? 

While the public is not sympathetic towards this kind of crime, it is possible for law enforcement to make mistakes, or prosecutors to overlook certain details. The services of criminal defense lawyers are necessary to make sure that the state can prove all of the elements of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt, otherwise the defendant should be acquitted.  

Talk with local defense attorneys in north Florida

To get assistance from a Destin criminal defense lawyer, contact the professionals at ASG Legal. They can provide advice related to defending against the state’s charges.