Grand Theft

Grand theft is a felony offense that can cost you in the form of court fees, victim restitution, prison time, lost job opportunities, your right to a serve on a jury, right to vote, and right to protect yourself with a firearm. Grand theft in Florida applies to stolen items that are $300 or greater in value, a minor amount when the consequences are so severe.  Theft does not involve violence, as with robbery, but simply the taking or using of property that is not yours and depriving the owner of its use.

To prove your guilt in a grand theft offense in Florida, the prosecutors must show you stole the goods and had the intent to deprive another person of the item in question. If you unknowingly received stolen property or were able to show you were taking back your own property, the charges will be dismissed.

West Palm Beach Grand Theft Lawyer

Attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell were previously adversaries on opposite sides of the courtroom. Their years of experience come together in your defense. Grand theft can range from allegedly stolen goods of $300 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you have been implicated or charged with grand theft in Florida, call us to review your case.

We see clients across Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties, and each one has a different set of circumstances. When you call Meltzer & Bell, P.A., you are getting the commitment from either Lawrence Meltzer or Steven Bell to personally oversee your case and any strategy and defense developed on your behalf. Call us today at (561) 283-3259 to schedule a free consultation where we will plan the next steps forward for your defense.


Grand Theft Information Center


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Definition of Theft Under Florida Law

Theft in Florida is defined under Fla. Stat. 812.014. The levels of punishment for theft increase according to the fair market value of the stolen property. For example, penalties begin with a misdemeanor for a petit theft of property valued under $300 to a first degree felony of property valued into the hundreds of thousands.

In any theft case, the offender may be found guilty if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with the intent to deprive them of it or appropriate it.


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Grand Theft in the Third Degree

A grand theft of the third degree is applied for theft of property valued between $300 and $20,000. It also applies to theft of certain items, regardless of value, including:

  • A firearm
  • A motor vehicle
  • Any commercially farmed animal
  • A bee colony of a registered beekeeper
  • An aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility
  • A will or other testamentary instrument
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Property stolen from a marked construction site
  • A stop sign
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Any amount of a controlled substance

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Grand Theft in the Second Degree

For property valued between $20,000 or more and less than $100,000, a grand theft in the second degree will be sought. Specifically related to cargo shipping over the roadways, if a truck driver or other person transporting any amount of cargo less than $50,000 in value does not arrive to deliver the goods to the rightful consignee (receiver), the offender will be charged with a grand theft in the second degree.

Florida law also defines theft of emergency medical equipment valued over $300 stolen from an emergency medical facility or vehicle as a grand theft in the second degree. Theft of law enforcement equipment valued above $300 and removed from an emergency vehicle is a grand theft in the second degree.


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Grand Theft in the First Degree

Stolen goods valued above $100,000 will result in a charge for grand theft in the first degree. Additionally, stolen cargo that is appropriated between the shipper’s loading dock and the consignee’s receiving dock, valued at over $50,000, is a grand theft in the first degree.

A grand theft committed in Florida while using a motor vehicle in the agency of the act, except solely as a getaway vehicle, and that also causes damage to the property of another will be charged as a grand theft of the first degree

If, by any means, the offender causes damage in an amount greater than $1,000 to a person or person’s property, the charge will be grand theft of the first degree.


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Grand Theft During a State of Emergency

In order to curb looting during natural disasters and emergencies, any act of theft committed during a state of emergency will be charged as the next greater penalty. In other words, a grand theft in the second degree is considered grand theft in the first degree if committed during a state of emergency as declared by the Governor and if the crime was facilitated by the general civil unrest of an emergency.


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Penalties for Grand Theft in Florida

A grand theft conviction in Florida can subject you to many years in prison depending on the value of the property in question. If the amount in question is minimal, a plea deal may be reached to avoid prison and instead require a probationary period and restitution to the victim.

Felony convictions in Florida remain on the offender’s record for life. There is a lifetime ban on possessing a firearm, voting, serving on a jury, holding public office, and obtaining certain state licenses. Obtaining federal or state aid is also hindered by a felony conviction.

Offense

Penalty

Maximum Prison Sentence

Maximum Fine

Petit theft

Misdemeanor of the first degree

1 year

$1,000

Grand theft in the third degree

Third degree felony

5 years

$5,000

Grand theft in the second degree

Second degree felony

15 years

$10,000

Grand theft in the first degree

First degree felony

30 years

$10,000


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Defenses to Grand Theft in Florida

As Fla. Stat. 812.014 notes, a person commits theft if they knowingly obtain or use the property of another with intent to deprive the other person or appropriate their property. If you have received stolen goods, you did not knowingly obtain another person’s property in order to deprive them. You had acted with a good faith belief you had a right to ownership or possession.

This also applies when you can adequately explain that you believed the property had been taken from you and you were taking your rightful ownership back. It may also apply if you believe you are getting property back on behalf of another person. In some cases, the property owner can be shown to have consented to the use of their property, in which case no crime occurred.

If you are caught with allegedly stolen property, how does the state prove you stole the items? Outside of physically witnessing the theft, prosecutors use implicating circumstances such as the time between the theft and your being found in possession of the goods.

As the consequences can be extremely harsh, Meltzer & Bell, P.A. will work each day to provide a favorable outcome for your case. A case that is satisfactorily resolved before trial can save you time, money, and stress. With extensive trial experience, both Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are prepared to take your case to trial if needed.


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Finding a Defense Team for Your Palm Beach County Grand Theft Case

The sooner your case is in our hands, the more time we can prepare your defense or resolve and put away the issue earlier. Call (561) 283-3259 today if you have been arrested or charged with grand theft in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Belle Glade, Juno Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, or Greenacres.

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  • I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!

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  • Mr. Steven Bell, Words cant explain how thankful I am for you and your firm. I was facing felony charges and even looking at doing 5 years in jail! Not only did you fight for me, you got my case dismissed and dropped. For that, I don't have words to say “thank you” you were always kind and believed in me. You looked for every opportunity and you won! Thank you for being my guardian angel in disguise and steering me in the right direction. You are forever my “too go guy” thank you soooo much!

    A.L.
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