Grand and Petit Theft in Florida: Understanding the Differences
You probably understand the basic description of theft to be taking something that does not belong to you, but the definition of theft offenses under Florida law includes numerous details and subtleties. There are fundamental differences based upon the underlying circumstances, such as violence toward the victim, where the criminal activity took place, and whether it involved a dangerous weapon. However, one of the key distinctions among these crimes involves petit versus grand theft and – despite misconceptions that arise from a popular video game – it does not matter if the targeted property is an automobile.
The one thing theft offenses have in common is that they carry extremely harsh penalties if you are convicted. You stand a better chance of obtaining a favorable outcome when you retain a South Florida theft crimes defense attorney to represent you, though you might benefit from reviewing some basic information.
Overview of Florida’s Theft Crimes Laws: The best way to understand theft offenses is to break down the language of the statute. You could be arrested for theft if you knowingly obtain the property of another with an intent to deprive the owner of it OR appropriate it for your use or the use of someone else. Note that:
- Theft charges apply even if you only take property temporarily.
- Theft is a crime of specific intent, so you must have meant to misappropriate the property. You might have defense if you inadvertently walked out of a store with a box of bottled water on the bottom shelf of your cart.
Key Factors in Comparing Petit and Grand Theft in Florida: In addition to the basic definition of theft, there are some special considerations when comparing petit and grand theft. The value of the stolen property is the primary factor, since it affects the type of theft crime, punishment, and other issues.
Property Under $750 is Petit Theft: There are two subsets of petit theft that also depend upon the dollar value of the item.
- Second Degree Petit Theft involves property worth less than $100, a Second Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Taking property valued up to $750 is First Degree Theft, a First Degree Misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000.
Grand Theft for Property Exceeding $750: You could be arrested for grand theft for property exceeding $750, but the amounts are also broken down to determine the nature of the charges. The most serious grand theft charge involves $100,000 or more, which is a First Degree Felony.
Speak to a Broward County Florida Theft Offenses Lawyer Right Away
A conviction for petit or grand theft charges can have long-term consequences, which is why it is essential to take advantage of all opportunities to fight the allegations. You might have a defense, and there are always strategies to work out a plea agreement or expose weaknesses in the evidence against you. For more information, please contact Fort Lauderdale theft attorney Kevin J. Kulik to set up a consultation at our offices.