Theft occurs in all kinds of ways. Shoplifting, burglary, embezzlement and armed robbery are all different kinds of theft. While the circumstances of theft crimes vary from case to case, what unifies them is that they are crimes intended to deprive someone of their rightful property.
Florida takes such crimes seriously, with the theft of items worth as little as $750 leaving someone vulnerable to felony charges rather than a misdemeanor petty theft offense. The greater the overall value of the items stolen, the more serious the charges and the higher the penalties involved.
However, it’s important to understand that grand theft can also occur because of the nature of the items stolen, not just the value of the items.
Certain assets carry bigger penalties for theft
Beyond the price of the items involved, the kind of items stolen or the location of the theft can have a major impact on the charges. For example, those who steal emergency medical equipment from a medical facility, aircraft or vehicle worth just $300 could face grand theft charges. Law enforcement equipment worth $300 or more is subject to the same rules.
Enhanced penalties and lower value limits for upgraded charges also apply to cargo stolen while in transit. Stealing someone’s last will or other testamentary instrument is a third-degree grand theft felony, as is the theft of a firearm.
People who steal vehicles in certain situations, fire extinguishers from buildings, controlled substances, anhydrous ammonia, municipal stop signs or even more than 2,000 pieces of citrus fruit can wind up facing grand theft charges.
There are always ways to challenge the narrative around a theft crime
Police officers and prosecutors want to make people look like they had bad intentions when they committed a property crime. You may have a perfectly reasonable explanation for what happened.
Perhaps you took a fire extinguisher from a neighboring business without permission because there was a fire at your place of employment or a vehicle engulfed in flames outside. Maybe you took emergency medical equipment from an ambulance because the paramedics were trying to treat someone else and you thought the situation was a true emergency.
Exploring the circumstances around your arrest can help you challenge the narrative that you intended to commit a serious property crime. The more you understand Florida theft laws, the easier it will be for you to defend yourself.