In Florida, the value and/or type of the stolen property determines what charges a person will face. The theft of low-value items typically results in petit theft charges, while theft of property valued at $750 or more, or items that fall into certain protected categories, is considered grand theft.
Grand Theft of the Third Degree
Third-degree grand theft generally refers to property valued at $750 or more but less than $20,000. However, grand theft in the third degree can also apply to property valued between $100 and $750 if it was taken from in or around someone’s home.
There is no dollar amount required if the stolen property falls into one of the following categories:
- Controlled substances
- Motor vehicles
- Commercially farmed animals
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Property taken from a construction site
- More than 2,000 individual pieces of citrus fruit
- An installed fire extinguisher
- Stop sign
Grand theft of the third degree is a felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
Grand Theft of the Second Degree
Grand theft of the second degree typically refers to property valued between $20,000 and $100,000. Other scenarios that can lead to this type of charge include:
- Theft of emergency medical or law enforcement equipment with a value of $300 or more
- Property valued between $5,000 and $20,000 stolen during a declared state of emergency or a riot
- Cargo with a value of under $50,000 which has entered interstate or intrastate commerce
Grand theft of the second degree is a felony that carries a sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Grand Theft of the First Degree
Grand theft of the first degree is the most serious type of theft charge under Florida law. It requires the theft of property valued at $100,000 or more or one of the following:
- Cargo valued at more than $50,000 which has entered interstate or intrastate commerce
- Any grand theft that causes over $1,000 worth of property damage
- A semitrailer deployed by a law enforcement officer
- Any grand theft using a motor vehicle as an instrument of the crime (excluding the getaway car)
Additionally, any grand theft of the second degree that occurs during a declared state of emergency or riot can be upgraded to grand theft of the first degree if these conditions facilitated the theft.
Grand theft of the first degree is a felony that carries a sentence of up to 30 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Potential for Enhanced Penalties
Florida law provides enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. For a third offense, the maximum prison sentence doubles for a second- or third-degree grand theft. First-degree grand theft can then lead to a life sentence.
There are also enhanced penalties for grand theft involving a victim age 65 or older. Charges are upgraded, and a convicted person can be made to pay restitution to the victim and perform community service.
You may be facing additional charges if a firearm was used during the crime or if the victim was injured.
Building the Strongest Possible Defense
Whenever you are facing felony criminal charges related to robbery or theft, it is vital that you contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story, investigate the facts of your case, evaluate the evidence against you, and determine which defense might be applicable. For example, your attorney might argue that you had a good reason to believe you had a legal interest in the property and thus had no criminal intent. Or, you may be able to submit evidence showing that the value of the property is not high enough to support the charges against you.
George Reres Law is dedicated to helping Florida residents accused of serious crimes achieve the best possible result for their cases. Call us at (954) 523-3811 or fill out our contact form to request a confidential consultation.