Larceny is the unlawful taking of personal property from its rightful owner. In other words, larceny is theft. If you are charged with theft in Florida, you can face serious consequences if you are convicted. That’s why it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from a Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

Each state has its own laws regarding theft offenses. What are the theft laws in Florida? When can you be charged with this crime? What penalties will you face if you are convicted? Here is what you need to know:

How Does the Law Define Theft in Florida?

You can be charged with theft in the state of Florida if you knowingly obtain or use or try to obtain or use another person’s property with the intent to:

  • Deprive the rightful owner of the property.
  • Seize the property for your own use or for the use of another party that is not legally entitled to the property.

It doesn’t matter whether you plan on permanently keeping the stolen property or eventually giving it back to its rightful owner—it is considered theft either way.

How Are Theft Crimes Classified in Tampa?

Theft crimes are classified by the value and type of property that was stolen. If you are accused of theft, you may be charged with:

  • Grand Theft of the First Degree
  • Grand Theft of the Second Degree
  • Grand Theft of the Third Degree
  • Petit Theft of the First Degree
  • Petit Theft of the Second Degree

What is Grand Theft of the First Degree?

First-degree grand theft is the most serious theft charge in the state of Florida. You can face grand theft of the first degree charges if:

  • The stolen property was valued at more than $100,000, or
  • The property is a semitrailer used by law enforcement officers, or
  • The property is cargo that is valued at more than $50,000, or
  • You commit any type of grand theft and in the course of doing so, use a motor vehicle to cause more than $1,000 in property damage.

This crime is charged as a first degree felony. If you are charged with a first degree felony, you can face up to 30 years in prison in addition to substantial fines.

What is Grand Theft of the Second Degree?

You can face grand theft of the second degree charges if:

  • The value of the stolen property is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000.
  • The stolen property is cargo that is valued at less than $50,000.
  • The stolen property is emergency medical or law enforcement equipment with a value of over $300 that was taken from an emergency medical or law enforcement vehicle.

This crime is classified as a second degree felony. If you are convicted of this crime, you can face up to 15 years in prison as well as substantial fines.

What is Grand Theft of the Third Degree?

The third type of theft crime is grand theft of the third degree. You can face these charges if:

  • The value of the stolen is property is $750 or more, but less than $20,000.
  • The stolen property is a will, firearm, motor vehicle, farm animal, fire extinguisher, stop sign, controlled substance, or over 2,000 pieces of citrus fruit.
  • The stolen property was taken from a construction site.
  • The value of the stolen property is $100 or more, but less than $750 and the property was taken from a private residence.

Third degree grand theft is a third degree felony in the state of Florida. This crime can lead to serious penalties, including up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

What is Petit Theft of the First Degree?

Petit theft is not as serious as grand theft, but it can still lead to severe consequences. You can face petit theft of the first degree charges if:

  • The value of the stolen property is $100 or more, but less than $750, and the property was not taken from a private residence.

Unlike grand theft crimes, petit theft of the first degree is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this misdemeanor of the first degree crime, you can face up to one year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

What is Petit Theft of the Second Degree?

The least serious theft crime is petit theft of the second degree. You can face charges for this crime if:

  • The value of the stolen property is less than $100.

This crime is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines.

What is Theft From Persons 65 Years of Age or Older?

In Florida, the theft laws are different if the victim is 65 years of age or older. If you steal property valued at $50,000 or more from a victim who is at least 65 years of age, you will face first degree felony charges. You will face second degree felony charges if the value of the stolen property is $10,000 or more, but less than $50,000. If the value of the stolen property is $300 or more, but less than $10,000, the crime is a third degree felony.

Anyone who is convicted of this crime will be ordered to pay restitution to the victim as part of their sentence. In addition, the judge can order the offender to perform up to 500 hours of community service. These penalties will be imposed on top of other penalties, including jail time and legal fines.

Seek Legal Representation As Soon As Possible

If you are accused of committing any type of theft in Tampa, do not hesitate to seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett. There is a lot on the line in a theft criminal case, which is why you will need an attorney’s help to fight your charges and protect your freedom.