Petit vs. Grand Theft
Theft is defined under Florida Statutes §812.014 (2012) as the knowing taking of property that belongs to another with intentions to deprive the original owner of the benefits of ownership and take the property for personal use. From any angle, this is a crime that Florida takes 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.
Defending Petit & Grand Theft in Tampa
At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we know it is likely 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, that you were acting on good faith that you were the rightful owner, or any other number of defense strategies. We have personally handled 7,000+ criminal cases throughout our 20 years of collective legal experience.
If you are looking for an effective lawyer who will be able to step up and fight for your rights, consult with us today.
When the item taken 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.
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, as in grand theft auto; 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.
More "minor" thefts are typically classified as petit thefts.
However, just because it is called minor 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 a petit theft of the second-degree. This is considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor, which can be punishable with up to 6 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.
At Thomas & Paulk, we work with clients throughout Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas who are facing serious criminal charges related to both grand and petit theft. If you find yourself in this type of situation, we encourage you to contact us immediately so that we can help you.
Call (813) 321-7323 today to request a free consultation with our law firm.
In our latest video, we discuss common scenarios and expectations one may have in facing a criminal charge involving theft.
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