Degrees of Grand Theft

In the State of Florida, any theft over $300 is considered to be grand theft. Anything under $300 is typically considered to be petit theft, which is a misdemeanor. The value is important because it sets the degree of the crime. The value is established based on the fair market value of the item, at the time it was taken.

Understanding What Constitutes Grand Theft Third-Degree

Under Florida law, grand theft third-degree consists of the following:

It is grand theft of the third degree and a felony of the third degree, punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison if the property stolen is:

  1. Valued at $300 or more, but less than $5,000.
  2. Valued at $5,000 or more, but less than $10,000.
  3. Valued at $10,000 or more, but less than $20,000.
  4. A will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument.
  5. A firearm.
  6. A motor vehicle, except as provided in paragraph.

Anytime a car is stolen, the charge is grand theft of a vehicle (also known as grand theft auto). Grand theft auto is always a third-degree felony. Grand theft of a firearm is also a third-degree felony. If the gun is taken from inside of somebody's home, however, the charge could be escalated to armed burglary. Armed burglary is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

Taking an item worth anywhere from $20,000 all the way to $100,000, the charge is grand theft second-degree. Grand theft second-degree is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

For anything above $100,000, the charge is grand theft first-degree. This crime is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Grand theft is usually third-degree grand theft because most felony-level theft crimes are retail thefts, or shoplifting. If you steal some items from CVS, you are probably going to be charged with petit theft because pharmacies rarely carry items expensive enough to constitute $300 or more. If the combined value of the stolen items is $300 or more, you can certainly be charged with grand theft.

What happens if I am accused of grand theft?

For first-time offenders, Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is typically an option, provided your criminal defense lawyer is able to negotiate such a resolution. If the alleged theft occurred against a person, not a retail store, then the alleged victim will have to okay PTI. If the alleged victim does not approve of PTI, you will not get it. This goes for both Miami-Dade County and Broward County. Restitution is almost always part of a grand theft plea, unless the allegedly stolen items were returned and were not harmed or devalued.

For grand theft second-degree and grand theft first-degree, PTI is not always an option due to the high amount of restitution that may be owed, or the egregious nature of the theft. Of course, a prosecutor is going to view the embezzlement of $300,000 in funds differently than the taking of a $350 purse from a shop at a mall. For high-level grand theft cases, prosecutors may be seeking jail or prison time.

Grand theft is also not always charged by itself. If may accompany burglary charges, or dealing in stolen property if it is alleged that the accused person tried to sell the stolen items. If you try to sell stolen items to a pawn shop, you may be charged with false verification to a pawnbroker. If you are accused of intentionally passing a bad check, you may be charged with uttering a forged instrument, as well as grand theft.

Reliable Representation from a Former Prosecutor

When I was a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, I handled hundreds, if not thousands, of grand theft cases. This vital experience has allowed me the insight necessary to put together solid case defenses for my clients. There is no case too complicated for me to handle, even grand theft third-degree accusations. Allow me to investigate your case from top to bottom and find the evidence that you need to receive the positive end result you desire.

As a South Florida criminal defense attorney, I defend clients in Miami-Dade and Broward charged with all types of theft and theft-related charges. If you have a grand theft charge pending, please call me to discuss how to best proceed in your defense. I make myself available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when you call (305) 542-9491. Payment plans are available.

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