According to Chapter 812.014 of the Florida Statutes, a person commits theft if they knowingly use or possess (or plan to use or possess) someone else’s property either temporarily or permanently while depriving them of the right it or a benefit of it, or allow themselves or others to use the property when they are not entitled to use it. Theft can include a number of criminal acts, from knowingly misappropriating funds from a bank account you control to stealing internet access from a neighbor. If you or a loved one have been charged with theft, contact a criminal defense attorney to ensure you’re represented adequately. Below, we discuss the various theft charges in Florida and the penalties if convicted.
Petit Theft is the least severe theft charge. The degree and severity of Petit Theft charges are based on the stolen item’s value. The levels of petit theft are:
The stolen item is valued at over $100 but less than $750.
The stolen item is valued at less than $100.
If the stolen property is valued over $750, you may be charged with Grand Theft. Grand Theft charges have steeper penalties and more severe consequences than Petit Theft.
First-degree Grand Theft is the most severe theft charge in Florida. You can be charged with first-degree Grand Theft if the stolen item’s value is $100,000 or more. You could also face these charges if the property stolen was a semi-trailer used by law enforcement or a car was used to commit the crime (not a getaway car). Vessels carrying more than $50,000 worth of stolen property are also charged with first-degree Grand Theft.
When the property’s value is between $20,000 – $100,000, you could face a second-degree Grand Theft charge. Vehicles carrying stolen cargo valued less than $50,000 would be considered second-degree Grand Theft. Second-degree Grand Theft is also charged if the property stolen was medical or law enforcement equipment valued at more than $300.
The least severe Grand Theft charge is when an item is stolen and valued between $750 and $20,000.
Theft that occurs during a riot (as defined by Florida Statute 870.01), commonly referred to as Looting, has harsher penalties than regular Petit or Grand Theft charges. You could be charged with Looting if you steal an item in a county that is under a state of emergency.
Penalties for Theft in Florida
Second-degree Petit Theft charges are the least severe of all theft charges in Florida. Those convicted of second-degree Petit Theft will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a $500 fine. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for up to six months. First-degree Petit Theft, the more severe petit theft charge, is a misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail or probation, a $1,000 fine, and a driver’s license suspension.
Grand Theft charges are felonies. Third-degree Grant Theft charges carry a sentence of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Second-degree Grand Theft charges mean you could face up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. First-degree Grand Theft charges are the most severe theft charges in Florida. If convicted, you could face life in prison with a sentence of up to 30 years and a $10,000 fine.
There are more severe sentences for theft under particular circumstances. If you are a habitual or repeat offender, you could face a longer prison sentence if you commit felony Grand Theft. For Petit Theft, habitual theft charges are enhanced, turning what would have been a second-degree charge into a first-degree charge. If you are charged with Petit Theft more than twice, your sentence will become a third-degree felony. Enhanced penalties also apply if the victim is over 65 years old, even if it was your first offense. You could also be ordered to perform 500 hours of community service.
Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? Contact Alison M. Lopes
If you are charged with a theft crime, it is vital that you consult with a criminal defense attorney to understand your legal options. Contact the law offices of Alison M. Lopes at 407-442-2724 for a consultation to discuss your case. We will fight for your rights and ensure you are well-represented.