Grand Theft is defined under the Florida Statute 812.014 as taking someone else’s property valued at $750 or more. Grand theft charges are felony offenses. To mitigate the potential long-term consequences of a felony conviction, you should consider hiring an experienced Orlando grand theft attorney from Moses and Rooth.
Our lawyers have extensive courtroom experience. For nearly three decades, our lawyers have fought for justice in Orlando and other areas in central Florida. They could put you in the best possible position to avoid the pitfalls of a felony conviction.
Defining Theft Under Florida Statutes
Theft is defined by Florida Statutes 812.014 as:
- A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
- (A) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
- (B) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.
Grand Theft can be classified by three different degrees based on the value of the theft. A grand theft can be a third degree, a second degree or even a first-degree felony.
Third-Degree Felony Grand Theft
A theft is considered a felony of the third degree if:
- The property is valued at between $100 and $300 and the item was stolen from or around someone’s home (Florida Statute 812.014(2)(d))
- Or the property is valued at $750 but less than $20,000
Additionally, the theft of certain items can be cause to charge petty theft as a third-degree felony. These items include:
- Motor vehicles
- A commercially farmed animal
- A fire extinguisher
- More than 2000 pieces of citrus fruit
- Property from a construction site
- A stop sign
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Or a controlled substance
It’s also important to understand that you can be charged with a felony when committing a petit theft. A person who commits petit theft and who has previously been convicted two or more times of any theft commits a felony of the third degree. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in state prison, five (5) years’ probation and a $5,000 fine.
Second-Degree Felony Grand Theft
Second-degree felony grand theft is charged when the value of the stolen property is between $20,000 and $100,000.
It can also be charged when:
- The theft is of commercial cargo valued less than $50,000
- The theft is of medical equipment valued at $300 or more
- The theft is of law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more
A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison, 15 years of supervised probation and a $10,000 fine.
First-Degree Felony Grand Theft
If the property is valued at $100,000 or more, it is considered a first-degree felony. Additionally, first-degree felony grand theft can be charged when:
- The theft is of a semitrailer operated by a law enforcement officer
- The theft is of commercial cargo valued at $50,000 or more
- The defendant commits a grand theft, uses a motor vehicle and causes more than $1,000 in property damage
First-degree felonies can result in 30-year state prison, 30 years of probation and $10,000 fine.
Orlando Grand Theft Lawyer Explains the Collateral Consequences of a Grand Theft
In addition to the penalties discussed above, every judgment of guilty of a theft for property shall result in the suspension of the convicted person’s driver license. The Court is required to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of the theft related conviction and for the drivers license to be suspended. The Driver’s license penalties include:
- The first suspension of a driver license for theft shall be for a period of up to 6 months.
- The second or subsequent suspension of a driver license for theft shall be for a period of 1 year.
Felony convictions also carry other potentially life-altering consequences. A felony conviction for theft could jeopardize your immigration status. Moreover, people convicted of a crime involving theft may have trouble locating suitable employment, pursuing higher education, getting approved for a mortgage, or renting a nicer home.
Felony convictions also stay on your record. A grand theft conviction will surface every time someone performs a background check on you, even if several years have passed since your case ended.
Before determining the defenses in the case, the Attorneys at Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law will examine all the witness statements, police reports, Law enforcement body camera, surveillance video, pictures, and listen to 911 calls. Furthermore, we speak with all potential witnesses who may be able to assist in our defense of your case. Some of the defenses that we will consider for a Theft offense will include:
- Property value – The government must prove that the property had value and that the value was over the threshold required in the level of Grand theft.
- Co-ownership – Someone who is the co-owner of property such as marital property may not be convicted of theft.
- Abandonment – Someone who abandons and voluntarily relinquishes their attempt to take property of another
The government must prove you were the person who committed the crime alleged beyond a reasonable doubt. How might the prosecution do that? Depending on the evidence, they might try to show that you had the motive, means, and opportunity to steal the items. Perhaps the police conducted identification procedures that violated your due process rights? But maybe witnesses misidentified you, or maybe you have an alibi. These are critical issues to explore. A skilled Orlando grand theft attorney is in the best position to determine what defenses will work for you.
Proving the Value of Stolen Property
Valuation of property is an important issue in theft cases. The prosecutor bears the burden to prove every element of the crime of theft beyond a reasonable doubt—and the value of the property is an essential element of the crime. Therefore, the State must prove that the property stolen exceeds $750 to prove a grand theft charge against you. The State must prove that the value of the property stolen exceeded $20,000 to convict you of second-degree grand theft, and the value must exceed $100,000 for first-degree grand theft.
Of course, if the item stolen was cash, then the value is self-evident. But for all other property, the prosecutor will try to prove the value by introducing evidence of the following:
- The purchase price,
- The manner in which the owner used the item,
- The depreciation in value over the time owned, and
- The condition of the item when stolen.
For example, assume the prosecutor accuses you of stealing tires off of a car. Not only does the prosecutor have to prove that you were the person who took the items, but they also must prove that you wanted to permanently deprive the owner of the value and benefit of the property. The condition of the tires is important in this scenario. They wouldn’t be worth much if they were bald or had dry rot. You would face a petit theft charge if the prosecutor could not prove that the value of the tires when stolen exceeded $750.
Skillfully arguing to a jury that the government failed to prove the property valuation beyond a reasonable doubt could minimize your exposure to severe penalties.
How Long Does the Prosecutor Have to Bring Grand Theft Charges?
The police and prosecutor cannot wait forever to bring grand theft charges against you. According to Florida statutes, they only have three or four years to file charges. There are exceptions to this rule, and we can explore a defense based on a violation of the statute of limitations if it applies to your case.
Talk to an Orlando Grand Theft Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with grand theft, contact an Orlando grand theft attorney at Moses & Rooth immediately so that we can begin protecting your rights and preparing your defense. No matter what the charge — from petty theft or shoplifting to grand theft auto — you need a lawyer who can limit the consequences of your arrest. That could mean a dismissal of charges, a plea to lesser charges, or a not guilty verdict. An effective lawyer can also work for an alternative sentence or a shorter sentence.
Grand Theft Resources
Florida Statute 812.014 – Grand theft Statute
Florida Statute 812.014(5)(b) – Driver’s License Suspension for Theft Conviction
Florida Statute 772.11(1) – Civil Liability for Theft Offense
Course for Theft Online – Virtual Anti-Theft Class / Impulse Control Class
Florida Statute 777.04(5) – Abandonment