When Theft Becomes Grand Theft
Written by Moses & Rooth on April 2, 2015
Being arrested for theft may constitute a bad day, but the day becomes much worse if the charge is for grand theft. Ultimately, the severity of punishment for a felony grand theft is substantially worse than being convicted for petit theft. If you have been charged with grand theft or petit theft, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law.
Under Florida statute 812.04, a person commits theft if the person knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
- Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or
- Appropriate the property to the person’s own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.
If the property stolen has a value less than $300 then the theft is a petit theft and not a grand theft. A first offense petit theft is a misdemeanor of the second degree. For a first offense of petit theft the punishment is up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. A second offense of petit theft is a first-degree misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year and fines up to $1,000. If a third offense of petit theft is committed the severity of the punishment increases greatly and the charge becomes a third-degree felony instead of a misdemeanor. A third-degree felony can carry up to a five-year prison sentence and fines up to $5,000.
Grand Theft of the First Degree
Under Florida statute 812.14, grand theft can be a first-degree felony carrying a prison sentence up to 30 years and fines up to $10,000. To be convicted of grand theft in the first degree a person must commit a theft involving:
- Property valued at $100,000 or more;
- A semitrailer deployed by law enforcement;
- Cargo valuing $50,000 or more that entered interstate or intrastate commerce;
- A grand theft where the offender uses a motor vehicle (other than the getaway vehicle) to assist in committing the offense and causes damage to the real property of another; or
- Grand theft that involves $1,000 or more of property damages.
Grand Theft of the Second Degree
Grand theft of the second degree is a second-degree felony carrying a prison sentence up to 15 years and up to $10,000 in fines. Grand theft of the second degree must involve:
- Property valued between $20,000 and $100,000;
- Cargo valued at less than $50,000 that entered interstate or intrastate commerce;
- Emergency medical equipment valued at $300 or more stolen from a licensed facility; or
- Law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more stolen from an authorized emergency vehicle.
Grand Theft of the Third Degree
Grand theft of the third degree is a third-degree felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Grand theft of the third degree must involve:
- Property valued between $300 and $20,000; or
- Will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument;
- Motor vehicle;
- Fire extinguisher;
- Stop sign;
- Certain animals;
- Anhydrous ammonia; or
- A controlled substance.
Being convicted of a grand theft rather than a theft could mean the difference between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction. A trained defense attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or plead your case down to a lesser charge. If you have been arrested for a theft or a grand theft, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth for help.