| Read Time: 4 minutes | Theft
What Constitutes Grand Theft in Florida

The theft crimes in Florida are distinguished by the type and value of the stolen items. Grand theft is when someone steals property valued above a specific amount. The penalties for this crime can range from hefty fines to imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the theft.

Understanding what constitutes this offense is vital, especially if you or someone you know is confronted with charges. Below, we provide a clear definition and explanation of what constitutes grand theft in Florida, along with potential consequences and examples of the offense, unpacking the legalities.

What is Considered Grand Theft?

Florida Statute 812.014(2)(c) defines grand theft as the unlawful taking or using of property valued at $750 or more. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

  • Taking or Using Property. This includes physically stealing an item, using someone else’s property without permission, or withholding borrowed property with the intent to keep it.
  • Unlawful Taking. Borrowing something and neglecting to return it wouldn’t be grand theft if the initial borrowing was lawful. The property must have been acquired unlawfully.
  • Specific Intent. The prosecution must prove you intended to permanently deprive the property owner. Borrowing with the genuine intention of returning it later wouldn’t qualify.
  • Value of the Property. The stolen property must meet the value threshold for the charge to stick. The value can be determined by factors such as the original purchase price, the fair market value, or the replacement cost.

Keep in mind that this definition covers a wide range of actions. 

It’s important to note that theft can include both tangible and intangible items, such as physical goods, intellectual property, or services.

How Much is Considered Grand Theft?

The value of the stolen property is the key factor differentiating grand theft from petit theft. In Florida, anything worth $750 or more falls under grand theft. However, there are exceptions with lower thresholds:

  • Stealing Law Enforcement Equipment. Taking law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more from an authorized emergency vehicle constitutes grand theft.
  • Property Damage During Theft. Causing property damage exceeding $1,000 while committing the theft elevates it to grand theft in the first degree.
  • Stealing controlled Substances, motor vehicles, or firearms. Regardless of value, stealing controlled substances or firearms is grand theft.

Committing multiple thefts within a specific period can also result in a grand theft charge. Stealing a motor vehicle is considered grand theft, regardless of its value. These exceptions highlight the severity of certain theft offenses in the state. It is essential to seek advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding the details of your case.

What Qualifies as Grand Theft in Florida

To illustrate, here are some real-life scenarios that could be considered grand theft examples in Florida:

  • Stealing a bicycle valued at $800 from a parking rack.
  • Embezzling thousands of dollars from an employer.
  • Shoplifting merchandise worth over $750 from a department store.
  • Writing a bad check for an amount exceeding $750, knowing there are insufficient funds.
  • Taking a rental car and abandoning it without the intention of returning it.
  • Stealing a laptop valued at $875 from a coffee shop.
  • Shoplifting designer clothing that totals more than $750
  • Breaking into a car and stealing a GPS device and other valuables with a combined value that exceeds $750.
  • Taking a friend’s motorcycle for a joyride without permission and damaging the motorcycle in an accident, with the damages exceeding $1,000.

These examples illustrate the diverse range of items and situations that may result in a grand theft charge in Florida. Every case is unique, so seeking legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances is crucial. 

Potential Consequences of a Grand Theft Charge

In Florida, the threshold amount determining whether theft constitutes grand theft varies depending on the property’s nature. The law distinguishes between different degrees of grand theft based on the value of the property stolen and any additional aggravating factors. Here’s a breakdown of potential penalties:

  • Grand Theft in the Third Degree for property valued between $750 and $19,999 carries a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.
  • Grand theft in the second degree for property valued between $20,000 and $99,999 carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
  • Grand theft in the first degree for property valued at $100,000 or more carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

In addition to incarceration, you can face fines of up to $10,000 and be required to pay restitution. It’s important to note that these are just the maximum potential penalties. For instance, certain types of property like firearms, vehicles, and controlled substances may have designated thresholds that prompt grand theft charges, irrespective of their monetary worth.

In specific cases, factors like having a clean criminal record or unique situations could influence the severity of the punishment for grand theft. A skilled attorney can work to negotiate a more favorable outcome in your case.

Why Do You Need an Attorney? 

A skilled criminal defense attorney can assist you in various ways, such as explaining complex legal terms, gathering evidence for your case, and representing you in court proceedings. Failing to act promptly and seek advice from a seasoned attorney experienced in handling grand theft cases in Florida can result in missed opportunities for a strong defense and potential negative outcomes in your legal proceedings.

Don’t Let a Grand Theft Charge Steal Your Freedom. Protect Your Rights with Moses and Rooth.

Facing a grand theft charge can profoundly impact your life, underscoring the necessity of seeking legal help. If you or someone you know is facing such an accusation, seeking legal representation from an experienced attorney is crucial. 

Moses and Rooth specialize in criminal defense and have expertise in dealing with the complexities of Florida’s grand theft laws. As former prosecutors, we have a demonstrated history of effectively defending our clients against these charges. Our committed team will work relentlessly to safeguard your rights and strive for the most favorable outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

You don’t have to fight grand theft charges by yourself. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our expertise can offer the guidance and defense strategy essential for navigating these serious charges effectively.

Author Photo

Jay R. Rooth

Jay is an experienced and dedicated attorney. Whether you need help with a DUI or a more serious felony, Jay is ready to fight for you. Not only is Jay highly regarded by his peers, he’s also strongly recommended by his clients. Jay obtained his Law degree from Barry University Law School. Jay is a active member of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, the Federalist Society, Florida Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association, the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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