What is Grand Theft in Florida?

Theft is well understood by everyone to be the taking of something without the permission or consent of the owner. But Florida law breaks theft down into several categories; distinguishing between cases involving items of minimal value from property of substantial value, and to identify cases of violence or highly offensive conduct. 


This article provides a comprehensive overview of what grand theft entails in the state of Florida. We’ll explain the elements that constitute grand theft, how it’s classified, and the penalties it carries. If you have questions about any type of theft, or you are charged with a crime involving grand theft, the criminal defense lawyers at Stechschulte Nell in Tampa are ready to answer your questions and represent you throughout the legal process.  


Defining Grand Theft in Florida 


In Florida, grand theft is defined primarily as a theft of something valued over $750. However, if the property stolen is certain emergency medical equipment or was owned by a law enforcement agency, the property only needs to be valued at or above $300 to constitute grand theft. 


Here, grand theft is codified under Florida Statute 812.014. This statute outlines the essential elements that must be proven to establish the crime of grand theft: 


Unlawful Taking: The act of wrongfully acquiring or exercising control over another person’s property without their permission constitutes the unlawful taking element. This can involve physically removing the property or exerting control over it without authorization. 


Intent to Deprive: To be charged with grand theft, the perpetrator must possess the intent to deprive the owner of their property. Traditionally, conviction for theft required the state to prove the defendant intended to “permanently” deprive the owner of its value.  


However, Florida law makers expanded the crime to include people who intend to deprive the owner only temporarily of the property’s use or value. 


Property Valuation: The value of the stolen property is a crucial factor in determining whether a theft offense qualifies as grand theft. Florida law establishes different thresholds for different degrees of grand theft based on the value of the property. 




Degrees of Grand Theft and Penalties 


In Florida, grand theft is classified into three degrees: third-degree, second-degree, and first-degree grand theft. The classification depends on the value and nature of the stolen property. Let’s look at each of the different degrees of grand theft in Florida: 

First-Degree Grand Theft 


This is the most severe form of grand theft. It involves property valued at over $100,000, as well as the theft of specific items like emergency medical equipment or law enforcement equipment from an authorized emergency vehicle. 


But there are additional circumstances in which a theft of property valued under $100,000 can also be first-degree grand theft. For example, if a defendant caused more than $1,000 worth of damage to the victim’s property in the course of the theft, regardless of the item’s value, the state could bring 1st-degree grand theft charges.  


Another case in which the theft of property of any value might be charged as a 1st-degree felony is a theft during which the defendant used a motor vehicle as an instrument to commit the offense, other than just to get away. This would apply if someone used a car to smash a storefront window to gain access to the property.  


Potential Penalties – The most serious form of grand theft, classified as a felony of the first degree, can lead to a maximum of 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a fine not exceeding $10,000. 


Second-Degree Grand Theft


When the stolen property’s value is between $20,000 and $100,000, the offense is categorized as a second-degree grand theft. 


Potential Penalties – If convicted of second-degree grand theft, the offender faces a felony of the second degree and potential imprisonment for up to 15 years, 15 years of probation, and a fine not exceeding $10,000. 


Third-Degree Grand Theft 


This occurs when the stolen property’s value is between $750 and $20,000. It is important to note that certain types of property, such as motor vehicles, firearms, and certain controlled substances, can lead to third-degree grand theft charges regardless of their value. 


Potential Penalties – A third-degree grand theft offense carries a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a fine not exceeding $5,000. 


It’s essential to remember that the legal landscape is complex, and specific circumstances can lead to different case outcomes. A grand theft conviction can have lifelong negative effects on a defendant’s life, including the loss of employment opportunities, access to credit for a mortgage or a car, and even the ability to find a decent apartment to rent. 



Reliable Criminal Defense Lawyers for Your Grand Theft Charge 


In Florida, grand theft is a serious criminal offense that involves the unlawful taking of another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of its use or value either permanently or temporarily. The degree of the offense is usually determined by the value & nature of the stolen property. Penalties for grand theft range from years of harsh imprisonment to fines and years of probation, depending on the degree of the offense.  


If you or someone you know is facing such a charge, it is crucial to seek experienced legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the most appropriate guidance and effective criminal defense throughout the legal process. 


The criminal defense attorneys at Stechschulte Nell have been successfully defending theft cases of all types for many years. We are skilled and knowledgeable in Florida law and our board certification in criminal defense attests to our high professional standards. Contact us 24/7 or call 813-280-1244 for a case review, and potential defense strategies for your unique theft case.  

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