In Florida, theft crimes are divided into petty theft and grand theft, based on the value of the property at issue. Grand theft is a serious felony charge that is brought when a prosecutor believes that someone has taken or used another party's highly valuable property or funds. Depending on the funds that have been misappropriated or taken, embezzlement may be charged as grand theft in Florida. Grand theft is a crime for which you can face potential prison time. If you are being investigated for this crime, you should consult a Clearwater grand theft lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we fight for the rights of the accused.Grand Theft Charges in Florida
Florida Statutes section 812.014 requires a prosecutor bringing a grand theft charge to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or tried to obtain another party's property, intending to deprive the owner of their right to the property or its benefits either temporarily or permanently. The prosecutor must allege that the property is worth at least $300 in order to bring the grand theft charge.
If you are convicted, the sentence will depend on the property or fund's value. Steeper penalties may be imposed if the property is alleged to be more valuable. Generally, a property's value is determined by looking at its market value at the time of the theft or the cost of replacing the property during a reasonable period of time after the theft. If a prosecutor cannot put forward competent evidence of value, the court may set a floor representing the minimum that the property is worth. A grand theft attorney can help Clearwater residents introduce evidence to dispute the prosecution’s valuation.
Third-degree grand theft is the least serious type of grand theft charge, but it is still a third-degree felony for which you can face a maximum of 5 years’ incarceration and a $5,000 fine. This charge is brought when the prosecutor believes that the property that you have taken is worth $300-$5,000. It is also a charge that may be brought if the property that you have taken is valued at $5,000- $10,000. This charge is also brought when certain items are taken, such as a car, a gun, a codicil or will, or a commercially farmed animal.
Second-degree grand theft is a very serious charge that is sentenced as a second-degree felony. You face a risk of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. This charge is brought when a prosecutor believes that the property that was taken was worth $20,000-$100,000. The prosecutor will also consider bringing this charge when the property that was taken was emergency equipment worth a minimum of $300, law enforcement equipment worth a minimum of $300, or cargo that was worth less than $50,000 (if certain other conditions are met).
First-degree grand theft is the most serious form of grand theft. You should consult a Clearwater grand theft attorney promptly if you are facing this type of charge. If you are convicted of first-degree grand theft, you face the real risk of up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. First-degree grand theft is charged if the prosecutor believes that the property taken was worth at least $100,000. It can also be charged if what was taken was cargo believed to be worth at least $50,000 within the stream of commerce. Certain conditions can also elevate a charge to first-degree grand theft. For example, if you use a motor vehicle to assist in perpetrating grand theft and thereby damage someone else's real property, you could face first-degree grand theft charges. For another example, if you cause damage to personal or real property in an amount more than $1,000, you could face first-degree grand theft charges.
There are various defenses that may be applicable depending on the situation, and it is important to consult a Clearwater criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The earlier that we get involved in your case, the greater is the likelihood that we will be able to develop a strong defense strategy. In some cases, it is possible to argue that you mistakenly believed that you had a right to use the property or that the property was actually jointly owned by you. Sometimes, we can argue that the value of the property as stated by the prosecutor is inflated, and we may be able to negotiate a petty theft plea.Hire an Experienced Grand Theft Lawyer in the Clearwater Area
Grand theft is a serious charge in Florida. It is critical to retain an attorney who understands which strategies are likely to work in your situation. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has been defending people accused of theft crimes, such as burglary or grand theft, since 1994. You can call us at 813-228- 7095 or contact us through our online form.