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Criminal Law: Theft in Florida Defined

In Florida, a person commits theft by knowingly taking or using, or attempting to take or use, someone else's property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive them of a right to or benefit from the property, or appropriating the property for their own (or someone else's) use. (Fla. Stat. Section 812.014). There are varying degrees that may be charged criminally, depending on the value or the item itself.

Petit Theft

If the value of the item taken is less than $100, you can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or $500 fine. If the value is between $100 and $300, it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or $1000 fine,

However, if you have been previously convicted of any theft, the state may charge you this time around with a first degree misdemeanor, even if the value of the amount is less than $100.

Grand Theft

Grand Theft of the third-degree is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5000 fine. You can be charged with this if the property taken is: valued between $300 and $20,000, a will, a firearm, a motor vehicle, any commercially farmed animal, a fire extinguisher, 2000 or more piece of citrus fruit, materials taken from a construction site, stop sign, anhydrous ammonia, or any amount of controlled substance.

In addition, if you have been previously convicted of theft two or more times in the past, the state may charge your theft as a third-degree Felony Petit Theft.

A Grand Theft of the second degree is when the property taken is: valued between $20,000 and $100,000, cargo valued at less than $50,000, emergency medical equipment valued at $300 or more, or law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more. It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine.

Lastly, Grand Theft of the first degree is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine. You can be charged with a first degree Grand Theft if the value of the amount you stole is valued at more than $100,000, a semitrailer deployed by law enforcement, cargo valued at $50,000 or more, or if during the commission of a grand theft a motor vehicle is used as an instrumentality or causes damage in excess of $1000 to property.

Remember, you have the right to remain silent when accused by anyone of a criminal act. Do not speak to anyone except an attorney about the facts of your case. Call us for a free consultation.

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