TAMPA GRAND THEFT ATTORNEY
Work with an Experienced Former Prosecutor
As the name suggests, grand theft is a serious crime, and being convicted can negatively affect multiple aspects of a person’s life. If you steal someone else’s property, and it is valued at over $750, you could be charged with a felony and face a hefty fine, a lengthy prison sentence, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.
If you’re facing grand theft charges in Florida, Tampa theft crime attorney Andrew Buda is here to help. At Buda Law, we recognize the profound impact these charges can have on your life and are dedicated to fighting tirelessly for your case. We specialize in providing comprehensive defense strategies for those accused of grand theft and can craft a defense tailored to your unique situation.
Your journey towards justice starts here–call us at (813) 322-2832 to schedule a free initial consultation with Attorney Buda regarding your case.
What is Grand Theft in Florida?
Under Florida law, grand theft is the unlawful taking of any property valued at $750 or more, or the theft of certain forms of property, like motor vehicles or firearms. Theft charges are separated into grand theft and petty theft in Florida. Petty, or petit, theft is the unlawful taking of any property valued under $750, as long as it does not fall under certain specific categories. This normally includes crimes like shoplifting.
Unlike petty theft, grand theft is no minor crime. In Florida, grand theft is classified as a felony, and is separated into first, second, and third-degree grand theft. Each degree represents a more severe theft offense, and punishments for these crimes are made more severe to correspond with the severity of the theft.
Types of Grand Theft
There are three degrees of grand theft, with first-degree grand theft being the most severe crime and the one with the harshest punishment. Below are explanations of each degree of grand theft, as well as the value of the property that needs to be stolen in order for someone to be charged with these specific degrees of grand theft.
First-Degree Grand Theft
First-degree grand theft involves any property valued at $100,000 or more. It also includes any law enforcement semitrailer, as well as any interstate cargo valued at $50,000 or more.
Additionally, someone can be charged with first-degree grand theft if they cause significant property damage during the theft, or if a motor vehicle is used in the commission of the crime. It’s important to note that the car must be used as more than just a getaway vehicle, like being used as a battering ram. This crime is classified as a first-degree felony.
Second-Degree Grand Theft
Second-degree grand theft involves the theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000. It also includes any cargo valued at less than $50,000, any emergency medical equipment valued at $300 or more, or any law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more.
In certain circumstances, someone may also be charged with second-degree grand theft if they commit a theft offense during a riot or state of emergency. This crime is considered a second-degree felony.
Third-Degree Grand Theft
Third-degree grand theft encompasses the theft of any property valued between $750 and $20,000. It also covers the theft of certain specified items like firearms, motor vehicles, commercially farmed animals, fire extinguishers, citrus fruit, construction site equipment, stop signs, anhydrous ammonia, and controlled substances. All third-degree grand theft charges are considered to be third-degree felonies.
Grand Theft Auto
In Florida, grand theft is the theft of any motor vehicle, regardless of the vehicle’s worth, unless the vehicle or the theft falls under first or second-degree grand theft. For example, if the stolen vehicle were a police semitrailer, the crime would still be considered grand theft in the first degree. Under Florida law, grand theft auto is a third-degree felony.
Grand Theft Firearm
Grand theft firearm is any crime in which the stolen property is any kind of firearm, regardless of value. This crime is normally considered grand theft in the third degree. However, if the alleged offender has previously been convicted of grand theft firearm, the crime will elevate to second-degree grand theft.
Grand Theft of a Controlled Substance
Under Florida grand theft laws, grand theft of a controlled substance is a specific category of theft that deals with the illegal theft of certain regulated drugs. Controlled substances are prescription and non-prescription drugs that are regulated by law due to their potential for abuse and dependency.
This crime is a third-degree felony regardless of the quantity or value of the substances. However, it’s important to note that anyone found in possession of controlled substances can be charged with additional crimes, like drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute, and simple drug possession. These additional offenses can carry additional penalties.
Agricultural Grand Theft
As the name suggests, agricultural grand theft refers to the theft of certain types of agricultural property. The kinds of property protected by Florida law include commercially farmed animals, bee colonies belonging to a registered beekeeper, and aquaculture species that are being raised at a certified aquaculture facility.
The theft of these agricultural goods is classified as a third-degree felony, and anyone who commits agricultural grand theft can also be fined $10,000 for the theft. It’s important to note that this same statute outlaws the theft of certain amounts of citrus fruits, but the additional fine is not applied to the theft of fruit.
What are the Penalties for Grand Theft in Florida?
Grand theft in any form is a felony crime and is punishable by prison time and/or a fine. Below are the punishments for various felonies in Florida.
- First-degree felony: punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-degree felony: punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felony: punishable by up to five years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Unlike a misdemeanor, a felony grand theft charge can affect portions of your life for years after your conviction. Convicted felons can lose the right to vote, and may have trouble finding employment or housing.
Why You Need a Tampa Grand Theft Attorney
Grand theft charges can potentially carry severe legal consequences, which can have a lasting impact on your life. That’s why it’s so important that you contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will have an in-depth understanding of Florida criminal law, as well as the Florida criminal justice system.
With their expertise, criminal defense attorneys can dissect the prosecution’s case and build a strong defense against the charges. This can help their client’s punishments be reduced or even have the charges dropped altogether. Not only that, but they can also communicate with prosecutors outside of the courtroom to help secure a favorable plea bargain.
They provide their clients with more than just legal representation. Being accused of a crime can be a stressful time for anyone, and a good criminal defense attorney can provide their client guidance and support throughout the entire process. A dedicated grand theft attorney like Andrew Buda can be the key to a successful outcome.
Potential Defenses to Florida Grand Theft Charges
There are a number of different defenses that criminal defense attorneys may use in court. Below are some of the most common and successful defenses to a theft crime charge like grand theft.
- The defendant did not intend to take the property
- The defendant genuinely thought that the property was their own
- The property was given to the defendant by the rightful owner
- The property was rightfully acquired by the defendant (like through a purchase)
- The defendant never stole the property and was wrongfully accused
- The defendant was coerced into committing the crime by law enforcement (entrapment)
- The defendant’s rights were violated at some point in the criminal justice process
These defenses are only as good as the criminal defense attorney positing them. If you have been accused of a serious crime like grand theft, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney like Andrew Buda. As a former prosecuting attorney, he knows exactly what defenses work, as well as how prosecutors will push back against these defenses, putting him at an advantage in the courtroom.
Facing Grand Theft Charges? Call Florida Theft Crimes Attorney Andrew Buda at Buda Law Today
If you’re facing grand theft charges in Tampa or anywhere in Florida, the road to freedom can seem overwhelming. That’s where experienced lawyer Andrew Buda and the dedicated team at Buda Law come into the picture. With a deep understanding of Florida’s criminal justice system and a commitment to protecting your rights, Andrew Buda is here to provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
Andrew Buda’s expertise in handling property crimes like grand theft and petty theft makes him a seasoned advocate who understands both the stakes and the nuances of each theft case. Whether it’s challenging the evidence, negotiating with prosecutors, or representing you in court, Andrew’s goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for you.