November 23, 2016
According to Florida statute (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014), a person commits the crime of theft when he or she knowingly obtains, uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently (a) deprive the person of a right to the property or benefit from the property, or (b) appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any other person not entitled to the property. While this statute is a general overview of what theft is, there are actually several different types of theft, some of which are more serious than others.
Types of Theft
- Grand Theft: The most serious theft crime in Florida is grand theft, which is a felony. Stealing something normally results in a charge of grand theft if the value of the stolen property is $300 or more. Additionally, some types of crimes are always treated as grand theft regardless of the value of the property, such as when the stolen property is a car or a gun. These types of thefts are known as grand theft auto and grand theft firearm.
- Petty Theft: A less serious charge than grand theft, petty theft is a misdemeanor that involves stealing items worth less than $300.
Penalties for Theft
The penalties for theft range from probation and fines to extended prison time, depending on the severity of the crime. The state of Florida recognizes three degrees of grand theft and two degrees of petty theft for sentencing purposes. For grand theft, a 1st-degree charge covers items valued $100,000 and over and can result in up to 30 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine. 2nd-degree grand theft covers items valued at $20,000-$99,999 and can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine. 3rd-degree grand theft covers stolen property valued at $300-$19,999 and can result in up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
The punishment for petty theft is somewhat different and depends upon prior offenses. For first offenses, the sentence can involve up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, while a second offense carries a one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Nevertheless, there are two degrees of petty theft: 1st-degree petty theft covers property that is valued between $100 and $299, while 2nd-degree theft involves stolen property valued at less than $100.