Theft is the crime of taking someone else’s property without their permission. In other words, stealing. Being charged with theft in Florida can be more serious than in most other states. That’s because Florida’s felony theft threshold is among the lowest in the country, meaning that theft charges go from being a misdemeanor to a felony if what’s been stolen is worth more than $750. As a result, there are hundreds of people serving prison terms in Florida for petty theft. That’s why you need to talk with an experienced and aggressive Orlando criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Florida law provides a number of harsh penalties for specific theft charges. For the purpose of issuing arrest warrants, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement classifies most types of theft as Larceny, including:
- Theft from Motor Vehicle
- Grand Theft Auto
- Credit Card Theft
- Identity Theft
- Robbery/Armed Robbery
- Fraud (theft by deception)
What is the penalty for shoplifting in Florida? Many people “view shoplifting as a high reward, low-risk” act, according to a recent study. But getting arrested for shoplifting (Retail Theft) can get you in a lot of trouble and make life difficult down the road. How much trouble depends on your record and the value of the lifted merchandise. You may face fines, probation or even jail time.
Having a skilled and aggressive shoplifting defense lawyer can help your chances of avoiding jail altogether and is your best chance to put the whole episode behind you as quickly as possible.
If it’s your first offense and you have a clean record, you may be eligible for a Pretrial Diversion Program. Your lawyer may be able to get the case dismissed and have your record sealed or expunged. If, on the other hand, you are charged with being part of a retail theft ring, you may face prison time. Either way, the best way to get through it with the best possible outcome is with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
Theft from a vehicle
Theft from a vehicle is basically burglary, with much the same types of charges and penalties.
Petty Theft Charges
Shoplifting, for example, is generally charged as Petit Theft. If the value of the stolen goods is $100 or less, the crime is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If the value was more than $100 but less than $750, it’s
first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Felony petit theft (petty theft with 2 prior convictions) is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Grand Theft Charges
Shoplifting — or stealing anything from anywhere — that’s worth more than $750 is considered Grand Theft. Stealing certain items, such as guns or cars, is automatically considered to be Grand Theft.
- If the value of the stolen goods is between $750 and $20,000, the charges become a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. (Stealing a gun — Theft of a firearm — is automatically a third-degree felony.)
- If the stolen items are worth between $20,000 and $99,000 it’s a second-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine up to $10,000.
- If the property stolen is valued at more than $100,000 the charge becomes a first- degree felony which can lead to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Grand Theft Auto
If you get arrested for stealing a car in Florida, you’ll be charged with Grand Theft Auto – a felony. As with all theft charges in Florida, the pricier the goods, the heavier the penalty.
The vehicle most stolen in Florida, for example, is the 2006 Ford pickup. Since an ‘06 Ford pickup is worth less than $20,000, the charge will likely be a third-degree felony, which can mean up to five years in prison, plus probation and a fine up to $5,000.
You’d likely be facing a second-degree felony with a possible 15-year prison stretch for stealing a car worth between $20,000 and $100,000. Stealing a car or anything else worth more than $100,000 is a first-degree felony that comes with a maximum of 30 years in prison, plus fines and probation.
Carjacking is automatically a first-degree felony and the penalties can be enhanced if the crime involved violence or weapons.
Defense Against Theft Charges
If you’ve been charged with theft in Florida, you’ll want the best criminal defense attorney you can get. An experienced and aggressive Florida theft defense lawyer will fight to protect your rights by challenging the state’s case at every turn.
According to the law, the police have to follow certain rules when conducting an investigation. But many times, police make procedural errors when taking statements and collecting evidence. If discovered in time, these police procedural errors may help your defense attorney get charges reduced or even dropped. If the theft charges against
you do go to court, an aggressive defense lawyer will work hard to make sure you get the best defense possible.
If you find yourself looking for an attorney who will work to give you the best defense against charges of theft in Florida, consider the skilled and aggressive Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at Rivas Law. Call 407-349-4211 so we can work through your legal problems and you can get on with your life.