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Grand Theft

A "theft" in Florida occurs when someone temporarily or permanently deprives another person of their property, or attempts to appropriate the property of another person to their own use. Theft is a charge that exposes a defendant to a range of penalties from misdemeanors to first degree felonies. The difference in sentence depends on the amount of the items that were stolen and the events immediately after a theft. For example, if an individual stole 100,000.00 dollars or more, or damaged property (over 1,000.00) when committing the theft, an individual can be charged with a first degree felony. Thefts of more than 20,000.00 are second degree felonies and thefts of 300 dollars or more are third degree felonies. Anything less than 300 dollars is a misdemeanor.

It is important to handle each theft case delicately. Often those arrested for Grand Theft in Jacksonville Florida and the surrounding counties will be offered "time served" with such charges and the individual will be tempted to resolve the case quickly. Such a resolution however, can lead to a host of collateral problems. First, a conviction will leave that theft arrest on your record permanently and will leave you in a position where the case cannot be sealed or expunged. Secondly, certain types of theft can lead to the suspension of your driving privileges. Third, a conviction would be a crime of dishonesty and possibly a felony conviction, which would lead to having to disclose this to future employers for the rest of your life. These charges can have disastrous consequences and should not be taken likely. The aid of a skilled and experienced defense attorney is critical in order to resolve the case properly.

FLORIDA'S THEFT LAWS

812.014 Theft.

(1) 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.

(2)(a)1. If the property stolen is valued at $100,000 or more or is a semitrailer that was deployed by a law enforcement officer; or

2. If the property stolen is cargo valued at $50,000 or more that has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce from the shipper's loading platform to the consignee's receiving dock; or

3. If the offender commits any grand theft and:

a. In the course of committing the offense the offender uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense and thereby damages the real property of another; or

b. In the course of committing the offense the offender causes damage to the real or personal property of another in excess of $1,000, the offender commits grand theft in the first degree, punishable as a felony of the first degree, as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b)1. If the property stolen is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000;

2. The property stolen is cargo valued at less than $50,000 that has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce from the shipper's loading platform to the consignee's receiving dock;

3. The property stolen is emergency medical equipment, valued at $300 or more, that is taken from a facility licensed under chapter 395 or from an aircraft or vehicle permitted under chapter 401; or

4. The property stolen is law enforcement equipment, valued at $300 or more, that is taken from an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in s. 316.003, the offender commits grand theft in the second degree, punishable as a felony of the second degree, as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Emergency medical equipment means mechanical or electronic apparatus used to provide emergency services and care as defined in s. 395.002(9) or to treat medical emergencies. Law enforcement equipment means any property, device, or apparatus used by any law enforcement officer as defined in s. 943.10 in the officer's official business. However, if the property is stolen within a county that is subject to a state of emergency declared by the Governor under chapter 252, the theft is committed after the declaration of emergency is made, and the perpetration of the theft is facilitated by conditions arising from the emergency, the theft is a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this paragraph, the term "conditions arising from the emergency" means civil unrest, power outages, curfews, voluntary or mandatory evacuations, or a reduction in the presence of or response time for first responders or homeland security personnel. For purposes of sentencing under chapter 921, a felony offense that is reclassified under this paragraph is ranked one level above the ranking under s. 921.0022 or s. 921.0023 of the offense committed.

(c) It is grand theft of the third degree and a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property stolen is:

1. Valued at $300 or more, but less than $5,000.

2. Valued at $5,000 or more, but less than $10,000.

3. Valued at $10,000 or more, but less than $20,000.

4. A will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument.

5. A firearm.

6. A motor vehicle, except as provided in paragraph (a).

7. Any commercially farmed animal, including any animal of the equine, bovine, or swine class, or other grazing animal, and including aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility. If the property stolen is aquaculture species raised at a certified aquaculture facility, then a $10,000 fine shall be imposed.

8. Any fire extinguisher.

9. Any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit.

10. Taken from a designated construction site identified by the posting of a sign as provided for in s. 810.09(2)(d).

11. Any stop sign.

12. Anhydrous ammonia.

However, if the property is stolen within a county that is subject to a state of emergency declared by the Governor under chapter 252, the property is stolen after the declaration of emergency is made, and the perpetration of the theft is facilitated by conditions arising from the emergency, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property is valued at $5,000 or more, but less than $10,000, as provided under subparagraph 2., or if the property is valued at $10,000 or more, but less than $20,000, as provided under subparagraph 3. As used in this paragraph, the term "conditions arising from the emergency" means civil unrest, power outages, curfews, voluntary or mandatory evacuations, or a reduction in the presence of or the response time for first responders or homeland security personnel. For purposes of sentencing under chapter 921, a felony offense that is reclassified under this paragraph is ranked one level above the ranking under s. 921.0022 or s. 921.0023 of the offense committed.

(d) It is grand theft of the third degree and a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, and is taken from a dwelling as defined in s. 810.011(2) or from the unenclosed curtilage of a dwelling pursuant to s. 810.09(1).

(e) Except as provided in paragraph (d), if the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300, the offender commits petit theft of the first degree, punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree, as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(3)(a) Theft of any property not specified in subsection (2) is petit theft of the second degree and a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, and as provided in subsection (5), as applicable.

(b) A person who commits petit theft and who has previously been convicted of any theft commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(c) A person who commits petit theft and who has previously been convicted two or more times of any theft commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(d)1. Every judgment of guilty or not guilty of a petit theft shall be in writing, signed by the judge, and recorded by the clerk of the circuit court. The judge shall cause to be affixed to every such written judgment of guilty of petit theft, in open court and in the presence of such judge, the fingerprints of the defendant against whom such judgment is rendered. Such fingerprints shall be affixed beneath the judge's signature to such judgment. Beneath such fingerprints shall be appended a certificate to the following effect:

"I hereby certify that the above and foregoing fingerprints on this judgment are the fingerprints of the defendant, _____, and that they were placed thereon by said defendant in my presence, in open court, this the _____ day of _____, (year) ."


Such certificate shall be signed by the judge, whose signature thereto shall be followed by the word "Judge."

2. Any such written judgment of guilty of a petit theft, or a certified copy thereof, is admissible in evidence in the courts of this state as prima facie evidence that the fingerprints appearing thereon and certified by the judge are the fingerprints of the defendant against whom such judgment of guilty of a petit theft was rendered.

(4) Failure to comply with the terms of a lease when the lease is for a term of 1 year or longer shall not constitute a violation of this section unless demand for the return of the property leased has been made in writing and the lessee has failed to return the property within 7 days of his or her receipt of the demand for return of the property. A demand mailed by certified or registered mail, evidenced by return receipt, to the last known address of the lessee shall be deemed sufficient and equivalent to the demand having been received by the lessee, whether such demand shall be returned undelivered or not.

(5)(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle so as to cause it to leave the premises of an establishment at which gasoline offered for retail sale was dispensed into the fuel tank of such motor vehicle unless the payment of authorized charge for the gasoline dispensed has been made.

(b) In addition to the penalties prescribed in paragraph (3)(a), every judgment of guilty of a petit theft for property described in this subsection shall provide for the suspension of the convicted person's driver's license. The court shall forward the driver's license to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in accordance with s. 322.25.

1. The first suspension of a driver's license under this subsection shall be for a period of up to 6 months.

2. The second or subsequent suspension of a driver's license under this subsection shall be for a period of 1 year.

(6) A person who individually, or in concert with one or more other persons, coordinates the activities of one or more persons in committing theft under this section where the stolen property has a value in excess of $3,000 commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.--s. 4, ch. 77-342; s. 1, ch. 78-348; s. 1, ch. 79-124; s. 1, ch. 80-389; s. 1, ch. 82-164; s. 1, ch. 86-161; s. 1, ch. 87-376; s. 1, ch. 88-312; s. 8, ch. 90-92; s. 1, ch. 92-79; s. 9, ch. 95-184; s. 30, ch. 96-247; s. 3, ch. 96-260; s. 49, ch. 96-388; s. 1819, ch. 97-102; s. 102, ch. 99-3; s. 36, ch. 99-6; ss. 67, 79, ch. 99-248; s. 2, ch. 2001-115; s. 1, ch. 2003-15; s. 2, ch. 2004-341; s. 1, ch. 2006-51; s. 2, ch. 2007-115; s. 1, ch. 2007-177; s. 206, ch. 2007-230.

812.0145 Theft from persons 65 years of age or older; reclassification of offenses.

(1) A person who is convicted of theft of more than $1,000 from a person 65 years of age or older shall be ordered by the sentencing judge to make restitution to the victim of such offense and to perform up to 500 hours of community service work. Restitution and community service work shall be in addition to any fine or sentence which may be imposed and shall not be in lieu thereof.

(2) Whenever a person is charged with committing theft from a person 65 years of age or older, when he or she knows or has reason to believe that the victim was 65 years of age or older, the offense for which the person is charged shall be reclassified as follows:

(a) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the theft from a person 65 years of age or older is valued at $50,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the theft from a person 65 years of age or older is valued at $10,000 or more, but less than $50,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the theft from a person 65 years of age or older is valued at $300 or more, but less than $10,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2002-162.

Updated as of September 1, 2009 from http://www.flsenate.gov/

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