Understanding the Different Types of Theft Charges in Florida

Florida law has five primary theft charges across two categories: Grand Theft and Petty Theft. The exact charge that an individual accused of theft will face is based on the value of the stolen property and numerous other applicable factors. For example, the type of item that was stolen can make a difference and repeat offenders may face harsher penalties.

Legal Definition of Theft in Florida

Florida Statutes Title XLVI, Chapter 812 clearly define the legal usage of the word ‘theft.’ An individual can be charged with theft if they meet at least one of the three criteria:
  1. Knowingly obtaining or using the property of another without their permission.
  2. Showing intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the rightful owner of their right to the property or any benefits associated with ownership.
  3. Appropriating someone else’s property for the purposes of using it, or allowing another person to use it, without the owner’s permission.

Petty Theft

First Degree Petty Theft – To be charged with First Degree Petty Theft, the value of the stolen property must be between $100 and $299. The maximum penalty allowed by law is up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
Second Degree Petty Theft – This is the smallest of all the theft charges. Second Degree Petty Theft applies to stolen property with a value below $100. The maximum penalty for this charge is up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of $500.

Grand Theft

First Degree Grand Theft – This is the harshest theft charge in Florida. It is typically reserved for stolen property valued above $100,000. If someone is convicted of First Degree Grand Theft, they could serve up to 30 years in prison and/or be responsible for fines of up to $10,000.
Second Degree Grand Theft – Grand Theft in the Second Degree applies to stolen property with a value between $20,000 and $99,999. The maximum penalty is up to 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.
Third Degree Grand Theft – In most cases, the Third Degree Grand Theft charge is used when the stolen property’s value is between $300 and $19,999. The penalty is up to five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. There are a few exceptions to the monetary value rule for this charge. Even if the property is valued below $300, this charge may be used when someone is accused of stealing any of the following eight items:
  1. A motor vehicle
  2. A firearm
  3. A fire extinguisher
  4. A commercially farmed animal
  5. A stop sign
  6. A construction sign
  7. Citrus fruit totaling 2,000 or more pieces
  8. Anhydrous ammonia

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