Theft in Florida is a general term that is used to classify the unauthorized taking or use of someone else’s property. Theft includes crimes such as larceny, stealing, misappropriate and conversion.
To be found guilty of theft, a prosecutor will have to prove that you intended to take or use someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of their property.
If you have been charged with a theft crime in Florida, criminal penalties may vary depending on the facts of your case. In Florida, there are two main types of theft crimes: grand theft and petit theft.
To be charged with grand theft in Florida, the prosecution must prove:
1. The stolen property was valued at $100,000 or more (maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000);
2. The property was valued between $20,000 and $99,000 (maximum of 15 years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines); or
3. The property was valued between $300 and $19,999, or it was a firearm, a motor vehicle, a commercially-farmed animal, a fire extinguisher, any amount of fruit consisting of 2,000 or more pieces, a stop sign, construction signs, or anhydrous ammonia (maximum five years in prison and a $5,000 fine).
To be charged with petit theft in Florida, the prosecution must prove:
1. The property was valued between $100 and $299 (maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine); or
2. The property was valued at less than $100 (maximum of 60 days in prison and a $500 fine).
A theft charge may be enhanced under certain circumstances. For example, you may face enhanced criminal penalties if you’ve been prosecuted for first-degree grand theft and you caused more than $1,000 in damage to the property involved.
If you have been charged with grand theft or petit theft in Florida, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend your rights in court. A criminal defense attorney can look at the facts of your case and develop a defense to reduce your penalties or even to negate one of the elements of the crime itself.