What is Grand Theft?
In Florida, grand theft is any willful and illegal taking of $300 or more of money or property. Grand theft is considered a felony, and penalties range from probation to prison.
If you’ve been charged with grand theft in Miami, you could face several years in prison depending on your arrest record. Read more about the prison terms below. In the event you have been charged with grand theft, it is important that you have a competent grand theft attorney by your side throughout the process – beginning as quickly after your arrest as possible. Be proactive and get in touch with a criminal attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Grand theft charges addressed earlier on have a better chance at being dismissed or other favorable resolutions.
What is the Definition of Grand Theft?
Section 812.014, Florida Statutes, defines Grand Theft as the following:
- A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
(b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.
- The value of the property is $300 or more.
What are the Penalties for Grand Theft?
Just what are the penalties for grand theft in Miami? You can imagine they are pretty high, and they’re even higher if you steal more than $5,000 or $10,000 or steal a gun, car, a commercially farmed animal, and a whole list of other items.
In short, grand theft begins as a third-degree felony, and grand theft in the third-degree has penalties of up to five years in prison or five years of probation and a fine of $5,000. This charge is not something to be taken lightly. If you’ve been charged with grand theft, it’s imperative you reach out to a Miami grand theft lawyer. A criminal defense attorney in Miami can help you with your case and ensure you get the best results possible. In fact, your attorney might even get the case dismissed altogether.
If you are accused of stealing more than $20,000 worth of property, charges can escalate to grand theft in the second-degree or grand theft in the first-degree, depending on the value of the property taken. Grand theft in the second-degree is when the property stolen is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000. Grand theft in the first-degree is when the property is valued at $100,000 or more. Grand theft in the second-degree carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation. Grand theft in the first-degree carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The bottom line is that grand theft allegations in Miami are a serious ordeal. You can potentially find yourself in a lot of trouble. If you’ve been charged with grand theft, it’s important you contact an experienced Miami grand theft attorney.
The defendant must have taken the property with the intent to steal. Because grand theft is a “specific intent” crime, the defendant must have knowingly stolen the property. A court can’t find you guilty of grand theft if the State can’t prove that you intended to steal the property. Depending on the facts of your case, we aim to prove that you did not intend to take the property of another person.
What Are the Defenses to Grand Theft?
There are a handful of defenses to grand theft in Florida. Let’s take a look at some of the more common defenses to grand theft in Miami.
- No Intent – A charge of grand theft requires that the Defendant intended to steal. So, if the defendant thought they owned the property, had a right to the property, or had some ownership in the property, that can serve as a good defense to the charge.
- Useful Purpose – If a defendant took the property for a lawful purpose, or believed they had a lawful purpose to the property, then it is a defense to grand theft.
- Duress or Necessity – If a defendant acted out of duress or necessity, it is a lawful defense to grand theft.
- Consent – If the defendant was given consent to the property, then it is a defense against grand theft.
- Mistake – If the defendant took the property believing it was their own property, then there is no intent to steal.
Determining Valuation of Stolen Property
Proof of value is necessary to get a conviction for grand theft. Value is basically the market value of the property at the time and location where the offense occurred. So, the crime of grand theft requires that proof of the value be proven by the State.
It is not always sufficient to show a purchase receipt for when the property was originally purchased if the property stolen is old. The value is determined at what the property is worth when it was stolen.
Speculation by the victim is also insufficient to make a determination of value.
Contact a Miami Grand Theft Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with grand theft – whether it is in the first-degree or third-degree – it is imperative you get in touch with an attorney today. You don’t want to spend years in jail just because you did not take your grand theft allegation seriously. So, don’t waste time and get in touch with a Miami grand theft attorney today.