Florida has the lowest threshold for felony theft in the Southeastern United States. If an individual steals something valued over $750, it is considered felony grand theft, which means Floridians need to be extremely cautious when coming into possession of something that doesn’t belong to them. To be clear, $750 doesn’t get you very much these days, but that doesn’t mean the punishment for grand theft is any less severe.
You can be charged with felony grand theft in Florida for stealing a television, car parts, a fancy cardigan, a pair of designer jeans, and just about anything in-between. Punishment can be severe, including hefty fines, incarceration, and more, so you can’t afford to make a mistake. If you’ve been accused of stealing property valued at more than $750, consult a grand theft defense attorney in St. Petersburg from Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan to see what you can do to have your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
Types of Felony Grand Theft
According to the 2019 Florida Statutes, the term theft is defined as the action in which a person “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 [or] (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.” When the stolen property is valued at more than $750, theft is automatically upgraded to grand theft, which falls into three categories:
- 3rd Degree Grand Theft: Stolen property valued between $750 and $20,000
- 2nd Degree Grand Theft: Stolen property valued between $20,000 and $100,000
- 1st Degree Grand Theft: Stolen property valued at $100,000 or more
Penalties for grand theft are predicated on the value and type of property stolen. The maximum punishment for third degree grand theft is five years in prison or five years of probation and a $5,000 fine. Second degree grand theft carries heftier punishments, including up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation and a $10,000 fine. First degree grand theft convictions are the most serious. If you are charged with grand theft in the first degree, you could receive a prison sentence of up to 30 years along with a fine of $10,000.
It’s also worth noting that “felonization” can occur as a result of a prior theft conviction. In other words, an individual with a criminal history of theft doesn’t necessarily have to steal over $750 worth of property to be subjected to the severe penalties of a grand theft offense. This typically occurs in cases where an individual has already been convicted of theft two or more times.
How a Grand Theft Attorney in St. Petersburg Can Help You With Your Charges
Grand theft is a serious crime with hefty consequences. If you are charged with grand theft, you need to act quickly if you want to give your grand theft defense attorney in St. Petersburg the time required to put together a defense that can help you get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
At Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, our attorneys have utilized an array of defenses to help our clients overcome their charges, including:
- Deep Dive of Case Facts and Circumstances: Was the reported value of the stolen property accurate? Did the State Attorney’s Office follow the proper procedures when gathering the facts about your case and determining your charge? We can determine whether the facts and circumstances of your case are accurate and take advantage of any missing or vague information.
- Evaluation of Police Investigation Lawfulness: Was evidence obtained legally? Is it admissible in court? An errant law enforcement officer could be the key to getting your charges dropped.
- Early Intervention: By making a timely appeal to the State Attorney’s Office, we may be able to get your charges dropped or reduced.
- Pre-Trial Intervention Program: Completing certain “diversionary” programs can be used to get your charges dismissed.
- Demonstration of Mitigating Evidence: Are you qualified to receive a “withhold of adjudication?” This allows you to circumvent a felony conviction. Best of all, you have no legal obligation to state that you were convicted of grand theft.
- Seal or Expunge Records: Do you have a prior record? Depending on your criminal history, a grand theft attorney in St. Petersburg may be able to seal or expunge the records associated with your grand theft arrest.
Grand theft is a serious crime with harsh penalties in the State of Florida. If you were to cross the state line to Georgia and Alabama, you wouldn’t be charged with grand theft unless the value of stolen property was $1,500 or more; but in Florida, all it takes is half of that amount to land you in felony court. If you or someone you know has been charged with grand theft, the only way to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed is by working with an experienced grand theft defense attorney St. Petersburg.
For a free consultation with a grand theft attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan at (727) 578-0303 today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.