Larceny, which is another word for theft, is one of the most common crimes committed in the state of Florida. Every theft crime in Florida falls in one of two categories: petit theft or grand theft. No theft charge should be taken lightly, but grand theft charges are far more serious than petit theft charges.
What constitutes the crime of grand theft in Florida? What penalties will you face if you are convicted of grand theft? How can a Tampa criminal defense attorney help you protect your freedom? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
How is Grand Theft Defined By Florida Law?
The law defines theft as the act of knowingly taking or using someone else’s property, either temporarily or permanently, with the intent to:
- Deprive the owner of the use or benefit of their property; or
- Use the property or allow someone else who is not authorized to use the property.
This is how theft is defined by the law in Florida. But what about grand theft? As previously mentioned, every theft crime is classified as either grand theft or petit theft. The way that a theft crime is classified will depend primarily on the value of the stolen property. Grand theft crimes are those that involve stolen property of a higher value.
There are three different degrees of grand theft in Florida: first degree grand theft, second degree grand theft, and third degree grand theft.
What Constitutes First Degree Grand Theft?
The most serious grand theft charge is first degree grand theft. A person commits the crime of first degree grand theft if:
- The value of the stolen property is $100,000 or more; or
- The property that was stolen is a semitrailer used by law enforcement; or
- The property that was stolen is cargo with a value of $50,000 or more; or
- You commit any degree of grand theft and cause more than $1,000 in property damage while doing so.
If your crime meets one or more of these conditions, you will face first degree grand theft charges.
What Constitutes Second Degree Grand Theft?
A person commits second degree grand theft if:
- The property that was stolen is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000.
- The property that was stolen is cargo with a value of less than $50,000.
- The property that was stolen is emergency medical or law enforcement equipment taken directly from an emergency medical or law enforcement vehicle and valued at over $300.
What Constitutes Third Degree Grand Theft?
Finally, there is third degree grand theft. A person can be charged with this degree of grand theft if:
- The property that was stolen is valued at $750 or more, but less than $20,000.
- The property that was stolen is a will, firearm, motor vehicle, farm animal, fire extinguisher, stop sign, controlled substance, or over 2,000 pieces of citrus fruit.
- The property was stolen from a construction site.
- The property was stolen from a private residence and is valued at $100 or more, but less than $750.
The value of the stolen property plays an important role in determining what charges you will face. But other factors, including the type of property stolen and where the property was stolen from can also impact your grand theft charges.
How Does Grand Theft Differ From Petit Theft?
In addition to these three degrees of grand theft, the law in Florida also recognizes two degrees of petit theft, which are first degree petit theft and second degree petit theft.
Both petit theft and grand theft crimes involve the act of illegally taking someone else’s property. But what makes petit theft different from grand theft is the value of the property that was stolen.
You can face first degree petit theft charges if the property that was stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $750. This crime is a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail.
You can face second degree petit theft charges if the property that was stolen is valued at less than $100. This crime is a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $500 in fines and six months in jail.
A petit theft charge could lead to felony charges for certain offenders. The law states that if you have been convicted of theft two or more times in the past, you could face third degree felony charges for committing petit theft.
What Are the Penalties For Grand Theft in Florida?
All three degrees of grand theft criminal offenses are classified as felony crimes in the state of Florida. This means you can face serious legal consequences if you are convicted of grand theft, regardless of the degree of the crime.
First degree grand theft is a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Second degree grand theft is a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Third degree grand theft is a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Seek Legal Representation From Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
You shouldn’t face grand larceny charges without a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. If you are charged with grand larceny, seek legal representation from the team of defense attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett as soon as possible. Since 1971, our team has been committed to helping the accused protect their rights and fight for their freedom. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge that it takes to reach the best possible outcome in your case.
Schedule a free consultation regarding your case by calling our law firm today.