Theft is a crime that is defined in Florida Statute 812.014. Theft covers an array of offenses, including petit theft and grand theft. In theft cases, one of the biggest factors used to determine the degree of the offense is the value of the property that was stolen. The value of the property will determine if the offense is a classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.Grand Theft vs. Petit Theft
The term “theft” can carry numerous images. Maybe you think of a teenager taking a video game from Walmart; or maybe you think of a masked criminal sneaking away from a vehicle, the car’s radio tucked under his or her arm. While both images portray theft, there is a key difference between them: one is likely a misdemeanor, the other is likely a felony.
What determines this? In most cases, the value of the property stolen will determine if the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. If we stick with our teenager analogy, we can guess that he or she will be charge with a misdemeanor, since the value of the game will be less than $100. The teenager will face a maximum of 60 days in jail, probation, and a fine. But what about the person who stole the car radio? If the radio is valued at $300 or more, then this person will face a felony charge of Grand Theft.
Like all crimes, Grand Theft is defined by the Florida Statutes. Grand Theft is part of statute 812.014 for Theft. Generally, a person commits theft when he or she knowingly obtains to use, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another person with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right or benefit from the property; or, to use the property of another when they are not entitled to use of the property. To move from theft to Grand Theft, the value of the property must be more than $300 [Fl. Stat. 812.014(2)(c)]. What is most interesting is that the person who stole the item does not have to profit from the item. Take for example someone who steals a bike for their teenage child during Christmas. While the parent may never enjoy riding the bike, they can still be charged with theft. The State only has to prove that the person took the item.Facing a Felony Charge
If you are accused of Grand Theft, you are facing a felony charge. Grand theft is a third degree felony, and is punishable by up to 5 years in jail, 5 years of probation, and a fine of $5,000. If the property taken is values at $300, the maximum fine alone is 16 times higher than the value of the property. But the amount alone does not determine the degree of the offense: the type of property taken can result in a higher degree.
If the property taken is emergency medical equipment taken from an emergency medical facility or vehicle, or if the property taken is law enforcement equipment taken from an emergency vehicle, the charge moves from a third degree felony to a first degree felony. A first degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in jail, 30 years of probation, and a fine of $10,000.The Thompson Law Approach
Having worked as a criminal defense attorney in DeLand, Florida for over ten years, Attorney Matt Thompson has dealt with his fair share of theft charges. Matt Thompson has dealt with people who are accused of stealing merchandise, vehicles, air conditioners, and even a dog. Knowing all of this, you can see how there is a lot at stake if you’ve been accused of Grand Theft. With all of this at stake, you want an attorney who is experienced and gets results. At Thompson Law, we know that no two cases are identical, so we begin each case by speaking directly to you. We will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your defense is built with solid foundations, and with your particular circumstances in mind. When it comes to high-stake charges like Grand Theft, attorney Matt Thompson has the knowledge to be an aggressive advocate against the State. While not every case will go to trial, Thompson Law prepares every case as though it will. As a former prosecutor, Matt Thompson knows what weaknesses to look for, and how to best present those weakness to a judge or jury. This means that we begin attacking the State’s evidence the moment you begin working with us. The sooner Thompson Law, P.A. can start advocating for you, the more likely it is that we can get you the results you need. If you are facing a serious charge, call us today for your free case evaluation.