Grand Theft / Petit Theft
In Florida, when a person is charged with theft, it can be a misdemeanor (less than $300 value) or a felony (over $300 value).
Grand Theft is a felony offense where a person is alleged to have taken something with a value of at least $300. The severity of the offense goes up as the value of the property taken increases. The following chart illustrates the different rankings of Grand Theft under Florida law:
|VALUE OF PROPERTY
||LEVEL OF OFFENSE
||Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison
||Second Degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison
||First Degree Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison
A number of other factors also play a role in the severity of the charges. These factors include the type of property taken (Grand Theft Motor Vehicle), whether or not there was damage caused (Grand Theft with Damage over $1,000), and the age of the property’s owner (Grand Theft from a Person 65 Years of Age or Older). These factors may increase the possible penalty faced.
Misdemeanor theft typically falls into two categories – Retail Theft and Petit Theft. Retail Theft is defined as taking property or merchandise from a merchant or store with the intent to deprive the merchant of that property. The severity of the offense of Retail Theft goes up depending on how many prior convictions for theft the person has. As a first offense, it is a Second Degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. A second offense can be charged as a First Degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. A third or subsequent offense can be charged as a felony. Petit Theft is defined as taking property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. This does not have to be a store or merchant. Again, the severity of the charges increase based upon whether or not the person has any prior theft convictions. The severity also increases with the value of the property, whether it is over or under $100. If the value exceeds $300, it can be charged as a felony offense.