Petit vs. Grand Theft Crimes

Theft is defined under Florida Statutes §812.014 (2012) as the knowing taking of property that belongs to another with intentions to both deprive the original owner of the benefits of ownership, as well as take the property for personal use. From any angle, this is a crime that the state of Florida takes very seriously. It is important to note that this is a crime that Florida has classified into two major categories. We explain the two types of theft crimes below. If you have further questions, give our Tampa criminal lawyers a call.

Grand Theft

When the item taken during the theft crime is considered to be particularly valuable, it is generally categorized as grand theft. Some ways that first degree grand theft can occur include when the defendant is accused of taking property valued at $100,000 or more or taking shipping cargo valued at $50,000 or more. It may also be charged for committing a grand theft while using a motor vehicle as an instrument other than as a getaway or committing a theft that results in damage to real or personal property more than $3,000.

This is considered a first degree felony, punishable with the following:

  • Imprisonment not exceeding 30 years; and
  • Monetary fine not exceeding $10,000.

This is the severest form of grand theft. It, however, is not the only level. Grand theft of the second degree can be charged should the defendant be accused of taking property that is valued between $100,000 and $20,000, shipping cargo valued less than $50,000 or emergency medical equipment valued more than $300 from a licensed facility. It can also be charged for the taking of law enforcement equipment from an authorized emergency vehicle that is valued at more than $300.

This is a second degree felony, punishable with the following:

  • Imprisonment not exceeding 15 years; and
  • Monetary fine not exceeding $10,000.

The lowest degree is grand theft of the third degree. This is still an extremely serious crime which can be charged when the property that was taken was valued between $300 and $20,000; was a will, codicil or testamentary instrument; was a firearm of any kind; a motor vehicle; or a commercially farmed animal. It can also include the theft of fire extinguishers, 2,000 or more pieces of citrus fruit, the theft from any designated construction site, a stop sign, anhydrous ammonia, or a controlled substance defined under F.S. §893.02.

This is a third degree felony, punishable with the following:

  • Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years; and
  • Monetary fine not exceeding $5,000.

Petit Theft

More "minor" thefts are typically classified as petit thefts. This, however, does not mean that they are not serious. The penalties for these crimes are still serious and deserve aggressive defense. Per Florida Statutes, a petit theft of the first degree occurs when the property taken is valued between $100 and $300 or if the defendant has a prior theft conviction on their criminal record.

This is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable with the following:

  • Imprisonment not exceeding a year; and
  • Monetary fine not exceeding $1,000.

If the item is valued at less $100, it is considered to be a petit theft of the second degree. This is considered to be a second degree misdemeanor, which can be punishable with up to six months in jail and a fine that does not exceed $500. Due to these penalties, it is extremely important that you contact our firm as soon as possible for help in protecting your rights against an unjust conviction. You can trust we will fight for you.

Defending Petit & Grand Theft Charges in Tampa

At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we know that when you have been criminally charged, it is likely that you are stressed and unsure about the future. We want you to know that you are not without hope. There are defenses that can be utilized on your behalf. For example, we could argue that the property was "valueless," that you were a co-owner, were acting on good faith that you were the rightful owner or any other number of defense strategies. We have personally handled more than 7,000 criminal cases throughout our 20 years of collective legal experience. If you are looking for an effective defense lawyer who will be able to step up and fight for your rights, consult with us today.

We can fight for you.

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