Grand Theft

Grand Theft is a very common charge in the State of Florida and is frequently filed by the Broward’s State Attorney’s Office. Grand Theft is a serious offense and is a third degree felony in the State of Florida.

A conviction for Grand Theft carries very serious consequences. They can include jail time, probation, restitution, fines, and court costs. However, the most devastating consequence of a conviction of Grand Theft is a permanent criminal record for a crime of dishonesty.

Attorney, Dave Simmons, at the Law Offices of Dave L. Simmons, P.A. understands the gravity of the situation when an individual is charged with this very serious offense. As an experienced Fort Lauderdale Grand Theft Attorney, Dave Simmons will evaluate the case and will look to every option with the mind set of having the case dismissed or the charges reduced to a lesser offense.

The crime of Grand Theft is defined under F.S. 812.014 as the unlawful taking of property valued at $300.00 or more with the intent to deprive the owner of their right to the property.

Elements of Grand Theft

To prove Grand Theft in a trial setting, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used or endeavored to obtain the property of another;
  • The defendant did so with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim of their right to the property or any benefit from the property; or appropriate the property of the victim to their own use or the use of any person not entitled to it;
  • The property was valued at $300.00 or more.

Penalties for Grand Theft

In Florida, Grand Theft penalties are predicated upon value and type of property in question.

Grand Theft in the Third Degree: Property valued at $300 or more

Grand Theft in the Third Degree is punishable by up to 5 years Florida State Prison; up to 5 years reporting probation; and a $5000 fine.

Grand Theft in the Second Degree: Property valued at $20,000 or more but less than 100,000.

Grand Theft in the Second Degree is punishable by up to 15 years Florida State Prison; up to 15 years of reporting probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Grand Theft in the First Degree: Property valued at $100,000 or more

Grand Theft in the Third Degree is punishable by up to 30 years Florida State prison; up to 30 years reporting probation, and $10,000.00 fine.

It is also important to note that pursuant to F. S. 775.08435 the court may not withhold adjudication of guilt as a sentence for:

  • Any capital, life, or first degree felony offense
  • A second degree felony offense unless:
    1. The state attorney requests in writing that adjudication be withheld; or
    2. The Court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified based on the circumstances or factors in accordance with those set forth in F.S. 921.0026.

Moreover, Grand Theft is considered a crime of dishonesty and can have the following social and economic consequences:

  • A permanent criminal history of a “crime of dishonesty”
  • Loss of current employment and future opportunities
  • Loss of academic scholarships
  • Potential denial for applications for U.S. Green Cards and U. S. Citizenship
  • Loss of the ability to lease an apartment
  • Loss or Driver’s License

Defenses to Grand Theft

Defenses to Grand Theft in a “Retail Theft” setting are similar to the defenses to the charge of Petit Theft. An experienced Fort Lauderdale Grand Theft Lawyer will seek out any pretrial motions including motions to suppress evidence due to unlawful search and seizure and will look to see if any of the following can be raised as effective defenses:

  • Customers mistakenly leaving the store distracted with merchandise
  • Customer forgetting about items places in the cart (Cases of Bottled Water in Cart)
  • Exiting the store for purposes other than to steal as to retrieve a wallet or purse
  • Only a momentary and brief deprivation of property
  • Being set up by a co-defendant
  • Poor video quality resulting in a factual dispute

Other Defenses include:

  • Lack of intent: the defendant had a good faith basis of ownership of the property or a joint ownership of the property.
  • Mistake of Fact: defendant believes that the property taken actually belonged to him/her
  • Obtaining or using for a lawful purpose: the defendant had a legal right to take or dispose of the property.
  • Theft out of necessity or duress
  • Consent: defendant believed that he/she had consent of the owner to take the property.

Valuation of Property Defense

Proof of the value of the property is a necessary element by the State to sustain a conviction and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have been charged with Grand Theft in Broward County or throughout South Florida, contact Fort Lauderdale Grand Theft Attorney, Dave Simmons, at the Law Offices of Dave L. Simmons, P.A. at (954) 765-3540.

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