What is the Statute of Limitations on Grand Theft in Florida?

Florida law defines “grand theft” under Section 812.014(1)(a) and (b) as the act of knowingly obtaining or using, or simply trying to obtain, or use the property of another, intending to use it either temporarily or permanently. 

In other words, it is the act of stealing or attempting to take someone’s property without permission and depriving the use of it to the rightful owner, whether on a permanent or temporary basis. The term “grand” comes from the fact that the property in question must be more than worth $750. The term “grand theft auto” (while not strictly accurate to the law) is used as a method of conveying that the charge relates to the theft of a motor vehicle. 

To convict someone of the crime of grand theft, Florida state has to prove that the property was worth at least $750 and was taken for the purpose of:

  1. Depriving the original owner of using the property or getting a benefit from it, or
  2. Taking the property for personal use or giving it to another person with no entitlement to use this property.

Grand theft is a serious crime related to property, and the Florida criminal justice system imposes significant penalties when it comes to sentencing on this offense. So, if you or your loved one is being arrested for this crime, you must know all about it, starting with its statute of limitations.

The Statute of Limitations on Grand Theft

Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.035(10), the crime of grand theft, including grand theft auto, has a statute of limitations of five years. This time limit is an exception to the general statute of limitations otherwise applicable to most other criminal cases under section 775.15.

In other words, in order for the state to bring charges of grand theft against someone, it must be 5 years or less since the alleged theft occurred.

What are the Penalties Related to Grand Theft?

The penalties for grand theft depend on the type and the value of property stolen. 

Grand Theft: Third Degree

Grand theft is a third-degree felony if the property is:

  • The property valued between $750 to $20,000;
  • A will, codicil, or another instrument signifying the gift of immovable property;
  • Any commercially farmed animal;
  • Any fire extinguisher;
  • A firearm;
  • A motor vehicle;
  • More than 2000 citrus fruits;
  • Taken from a designated construction site identified by the posting of a sign as provided for in s. 810.09(2)(d);
  • A stop sign;
  • Any amount of a controlled substance as defined in s. 893.02.
  • Property valued between $100 to $750 that’s taken from any property.

The punishment for third-degree grand theft is up to 5 years of prison/probation and a $5,000 fine.

Grand Theft: Second Degree

Grand theft is a second-degree felony if the property is:

  1. Valued between $20,000 to $100,000;
  2. A cargo worth less than $50,000 has been stolen from a shipper loader’s platform.
  3. Emergency vehicle equipment valued at least $300 and stolen from an emergency vehicle.

As a second-degree felony, grand theft carries the punishment of up to 15 years of prison/probation and a $10,000 fine.

Grand Theft: First Degree

Grand Theft is a first-degree felony if the property stolen is: 

  1. Worth at least $100,000
  2. A law enforcement officer-deployed semi-trailer
  3. Cargo, worth less than $50,000, that has been stolen from a shipper loader’s platform.
  4. Stolen using a car and the theft has resulted in the damage of any real property.

First-degree grand theft is grounds for punishment of up to 30 years in prison.

Are You Facing Grand Theft Charges?

As you can see, grand theft charges carry heavy punishments. In order to beat them, you need the aid of a good criminal defense attorney in Clearwater. They can help you establish:

  1. A lack of intent.
  2. A lawful purpose behind taking the property.
  3. Proof that you acted under duress. 
  4. The property owner’s consent.
  5. A factual mistake.
  6. Mitigation evidence demonstrating extenuating circumstances, otherwise good character, remorse, or a desire to repay the victim. 

Contact us today for a free consultation. We can help!

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.