Knowingly taking, using, or attempting to obtain the property of another without an entitled use of the property, or depriving another person’s right to, or benefit from, property is known as theft in Florida. There are many types of theft — classified by the value of the alleged stolen property, the type of the property that was taken, or even how or where the property was taken from.
Being charged and convicted of theft crimes can be serious and penalties can range from probation to jail or prison time, along with significant fines and possible loss of civil rights.
Lawyer for Grand Theft
What is Grand Theft?
Grand theft is the most serious theft charge in the state of Florida. There are three levels of grand theft that are classified by the value or type of the alleged stolen property:
Third-Degree Grand Theft
Grand theft in the third degree is a third-degree felony if the property stolen is:
- Valued at $300 or more, but less than $20,000; or is
- A firearm (gun or rifle);
- A motor vehicle;
- A commercially farmed animal, bee colony or aquaculture species;
- A fire extinguisher;
- Taken from a designated construction site;
- A stop sign;
- 2,000 or more pieces of citrus fruit
Second-Degree Grand Theft
Grand theft in the second degree is a second-degree felony if the property stolen is:
- Valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000; or is
- Cargo valued at less that $50,000 that has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce;
- Emergency medical equipment, valued at $300 or more, taken from a hospital or other licensed facility, or from an aircraft or vehicle used for medical transportation;
- Law enforcement equipment, valued at $300 or more, taken from an authorized emergency vehicle
First-Degree Grand Theft
Grand theft in the first degree is a first-degree felony if the property stolen is:
- Valued at $100,00 or more; or is
- A semitrailer deployed by a law enforcement officer;
- Cargo valued at $50,000 or more that has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce;
- If the offender commits any grand theft and uses a motor vehicle as an instrument in committing the offense and damages property; or
- If the offender commits any grand theft and causes damage to property that exceeds $1,000
What Can Happen if I Am Convicted of Grand Theft in Florida?
All levels of Grand Theft can carry a penalty of jail time, a significant fine, and an arrest record with conviction that may be on your criminal record for a lifetime.
- Third-Degree Grand Theft: This is a third-degree felony on your record that holds a penalty of up to five (5) years in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine.
- Second-Degree Grand Theft: A second-degree felony on your record and a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- First-Degree Grand Theft: A first-degree felony on your record with a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
A felony conviction in Florida also results in a loss of civil rights—you will not be able to vote, hold public office, sit on a jury, or possess a firearm. It can also have enormous consequences on your future if you are an immigrant on a visa.
What is Petit Theft in Florida?
Petit theft (pronounced as “petty theft”) is similar to grand theft in that property is taken unlawfully from another without an entitled use of it — depriving someone the right to, or the benefit from, that property. The classification of petit theft comes from the value of the alleged stolen property:
- Petit theft of the first degree is a first-degree misdemeanor when the stolen property is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300.
- Petit theft of the second degree is a second-degree misdemeanor when the value of the property is less than $100.
What Are the Penalties for Petit Theft in Florida?
Petit (Petty) theft in Florida, even for a first-time offender (first offense), may result in jail time, fines, and suspension of driver’s license.
- Petit Theft of the Second Degree: This is a second-degree misdemeanor on your record that carries up to 60 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
- Petit Theft of the First Degree: This is a first-degree misdemeanor on your record that carries up to a year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
- Civil Penalties: Depending on the circumstances, a person convicted of misdemeanor theft in Florida may be subject to suspension of their driver’s license for up to one year, as well as monetary damage (up to three times the value of the property or $200, whichever is greater) and reimbursement of the victim’s attorneys’ fees and court costs.
A petit theft conviction can result in a permanent criminal record that may prevent future employment, professional licensing, or even acceptance into college.
Prior Theft Convictions
A person with a prior theft conviction who commits a petit theft offense will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
A person who commits petit theft with two or more prior theft convictions can be charged with a third-degree felony, and face serious penalties — up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. This could result in having a permanent criminal record as a convicted felon and losing one’s civil rights.