FLORIDA THEFT CRIME ATTORNEYS

Get Relentless Defense for Your Theft Crimes

Florida §812.014 defines theft as an act where a person knowingly obtains or uses the property of another to deny the other person access to their belongings or to wrongfully use the property to their own advantage. The severity of the charge can vary depending on the property stolen. If you were charged with a theft crime, it is important to seek qualified legal counsel who will aggressively defend your rights. 

At Musca Law, our experienced Florida theft crime attorneys are ready to handle your case. We have 150+ years of combined experience obtaining positive judgments on behalf of our clients.

Understanding Theft Crimes 

As listed in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014(1), a culprit commits an act of theft if he/she willingly takes or attempts to take or use any piece of property that does not belong to him/her, with the intention of: 

  • Keeping the victim from wielding rights to that piece of property. 
  • Using the piece of property for his/her use or for the use of any individual who does not maintain legal ownership over this property. 

Classifications and Consequences of Florida Theft Charges

Florida laws distinguish theft crimes as either petit or grand theft. The value of the stolen property usually determines the gravity of the crime. Read below to understand varying degrees of theft crimes in Florida. 

Petit Theft

  • Petit Theft of the Second Degree – Also known as “petty theft,” petit theft of the second degree is the lowest offense. You can be charged if the property stolen was less than $100. Potential punishment includes no more than 60 days in jail and no more than a $500 fine.
  • Petit Theft of the First Degree – If the stolen property was worth more than $100 but less than $300, the crime will be considered petit theft of the first degree. This is punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, a person can face up to one-year jail time and up to a $1,000 fine.

 

Grand Theft

  • Grand Theft of the Third Degree – A third-degree grand theft charge can consist of differently valued property. Offenses can include stealing wills, firearms, a motor vehicle, a stop sign, and more. If convicted, a person can face up to 5 years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Grand Theft of the Second Degree – Grand theft of the second degree is considered a second-degree felony in Florida. Some offenses include stealing property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, emergency equipment valued at $300 or more, and cargo valued less than $50,000. Those convicted can face up to 15 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
  • Grand Theft of the First Degree – This is the most serious theft offense in Florida. Some offenses include stealing property valued at more than $100,000, theft utilizing a vehicle that causes more than $1,000 in property and real estate damage, and stealing cargo worth more than $50,000. The sentence for such a crime can include a fine of no more than $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 30 years.

 

Stealing Property from Victims Who Are 65 Years or More 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0145(1), any person who attempts to steal a piece of property valued at $1,000 (or more) from a victim who is 65 years of age or older shall be ordered (by a Florida Court) to make restitution for damages to the property and complete at least 500 hours of work in a community service program. Keep in mind that this punishment will accompany any fines or sentences that have already been set in place. 

Under Chapter 812.0145(1)(a-d), if a person is charged with stealing property from a person who is at least 65 years of age and is fully knowledgeable of the victim’s age, he/she will potentially face one of the following forms of punishment: 

  • If the funds or property estimate to $50,000 or higher, the culprit will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or jail time that is no longer than 30 years. 
  • If the funds or property estimate to at least $10,000 and no greater than $50,000, the culprit will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or jail time that is no longer than 15 years. 
  • If the funds or property estimate to at least $300 but not greater than $10,000, the culprit will be charged a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or jail time that is no longer than 5 years. 

Possessing Altered/Edited Property 

Under Title XLVI, Chapter 812.016 of the Florida Statutes categorizes possession of altered property as a form of theft or robbery in the State of Florida. Under this code, any person (a property dealer) who is fully aware that identifying features (e.g. labels, codes) on property that he/she is maintaining control over had been removed will charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or jail time that does not exceed 1 year. 

Trafficking Stolen Property 

Keep in mind that the term “trafficking” refers to the sale, transference, and/or distribution of property or the purchasing of stolen property with the intention to sell these items. 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019 (1), any person who willingly and intentionally deals in property that he/she knew was stolen will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or jail time that does not exceed 15 years. 

Likewise, Chapter 812.019(2) states that any person who plans the theft of property and traffics this property will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or jail time that does not exceed 30 years. 

Using the Internet to Traffic Stolen Property 

In a similar light, Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0195 clearly dictates that any person who uses the Internet to post offerings for or attempt to sell any kind of property that he/she knows is stolen will be punished in one of two ways: 

  • Chapter 812.0195(1): If the property retains a value of less than $300, the culprit will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500 and/or prison time that does not exceed 60 days. 
  • Chapter 812.0195(2): If the property retains a value of $300 or more, the culprit will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 5 years. 

Stealing and Selling Private Information/Products Owned by a Business or Corporation 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.081(2), any person who willingly and intentionally steals a trade secret from a business/corporation or attempts to steal that trade secret with an intention to sell this item for personal gain (with an attempt to copy this product) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or jail time that does not exceed 5 years. 

Keep in mind that, if the person attempted to return these trade secrets or had intentions to return these objects, this information cannot be used as a means of defense. 

Paying Supplemental Fines for Theft and Damages

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.032 dictates that any person who is convicted of stealing or attempting to steal property or inflicted damage or injuries on the property and/or victim will also face additional charges (besides those attached to original charges). Overall, the court will order the culprit to pay a fine that is not higher than 2 times the gross value obtained or destroyed as well as a payment for investigation and prosecution. 

Determining a Valid Case for Theft 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 812.014, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 14.1, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Willingly, intentionally, and illegally took or attempted to take/use any form of property owned by the victim. 
  • Had every intention of taking the property from the victim to keep him/her from wielding any authority and ownership over it. 
  • Used the property to his/her advantage. 

If the jury determines the culprit is guilty of theft, the members of the court must also determine (without any shred of doubt) that:

  • During the course of the theft, the culprit had used a motor vehicle (not simply as a getaway vehicle) as part of the process of committing the crime. 
  • Inflicted more than $1,000-worth of damages on the property. 

Determining a Valid Case for Trafficking Stolen Property 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 812.019(1), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 14.2, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Made an effort to traffic the stolen property. 
  • Was fully aware that the property was stolen or should have known this fact. 

Determining a Valid Case for Dealing Stolen Property 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 812.019(2), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 14.3, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Originated, organized, and supervised the process of stealing property. 
  • Took part in trafficking the stolen property. 

Determining a Valid Case for Stealing Merchandise from a Store 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 812.015(8), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 14.4, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Carried away items (store merchandise), changed/removed labels from the product, transferred these items from one carrying device to another, and/or took a shopping cart from the premises of a store. 
  • Intentionally took the items in an attempt to keep these items from the merchant. 

In the event that the jury determines the former factors, the court must also prove (without any shred of doubt), as pertinent to the case in question, that: 

  • The defendant singularly (or in a group) supervised all activities surrounding this theft. 
  • The defendant stole items from multiple locations in a period of 48 hours. 
  • The defendant worked with additional people to create a distraction for the merchant in an attempt to steal the items in question. 
  • The defendant purchased a box or other container that had materials not intended for sale in this box. 
  • The merchandise retained a value of $300 or higher. 

Determining a Valid Case for Dealing Stolen Property 

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 825.103, instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 14.9, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that: 

  • The victim was an elderly man/woman (and/or disabled).
  • The defendant stole the victim’s property or made an attempt to steal this property or funds. 
  • The defendant stole this property in an intentional and willing attempt to momentarily/permanently keep the property/funds from the victim to deprive him/her from ownership rights and use it for any personal gains. 

Grounds for Defense in a Theft Case in Florida 

A defendant has grounds for defense if he/she honestly believed he/she had the legal right to maintain ownership over the purportedly stolen property. 

If the court is completely unsure of whether or not the defendant was fully aware that (even in a situation where this individual was mistaken) he or she did not have the right to maintain ownership over this property, the court may not find this individual guilty of theft crimes. 

Need a Florida Theft Crime Lawyer? Call (888) 484-5057

If you were charged with a theft crime in Florida, time is not on your side. The prosecution is already building their case. If convicted, not only can you face heavy fines and a long imprisonment, but also the charge goes on your permanent record. It can ruin your future plans including school, employment, child custody, and more. If you have been convicted of a theft crime, it is important that you reach out to our team of Florida criminal defense attorneys. We can examine your situation during a free case review and inform you of your options. We can advocate on your behalf and can make sure your rights are protected. 

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