Under Florida law, the crime of grand theft is defined as the unlawful taking of another person’s property with a value of at least $750. If the stolen property is a motor vehicle, the accused would be charged with grand theft auto. If convicted of the crime, there are penalties such as time in jail and fines.
Our experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer can represent you to secure the best possible outcome.
Crime of Grand Theft Auto
In Florida, to be charged with the crime of grand theft auto, certain conditions of theft must be proven, including:
- You knowingly used or obtained or tried to use or obtain another person’s motor vehicle.
- You had the intent to deprive the person of the motor vehicle either temporarily or permanently.
- Either you or someone else planned to use the motor vehicle without being authorized to do so.
- The vehicle—whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, or another motorized vehicle—had a value of at least $750.
The Best Defenses for Grand Theft in Florida
According to our Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer, if you have been accused of grand theft in Florida, there are several defenses that can be used to dispute the charge, such as:
- Lack of intent. The defendant will need to prove that they did not intend to commit the crime in order to avoid a conviction.
- Joint ownership. The defendant believed that they had either joint ownership of the vehicle or had a right to take the vehicle.
- Vehicle owner consent. The accused believed that the vehicle owner gave their consent to take the vehicle, or they had a legal right to take possession of it, so they were not aware that this was a crime.
- Mistake of fact. The defendant had no intent to commit a crime and believed that the vehicle was rightfully theirs to take or that they were sold a stolen vehicle and were not aware of this fact.
- Voluntary abandonment. The accused stopped committing the crime due to their own conscience and withdrew from the attempted theft of the vehicle without being prompted to do so.
- Mere presence. The defendant did not commit a crime. They were merely present at the scene at the time that the theft was committed and were not an active participant.
- Act of necessity or duress. The accused believed that there was a threat of physical or economic harm that was beyond their control and that they took the vehicle as an act of necessity or duress to escape the harm.
Penalties for Grand Theft Auto
Having a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer experienced with grand theft in Florida on your side is important in building a strong defense. If charged with the crime, you can face severe penalties. The felony charges in Florida for grand theft auto depend on the value of the vehicle that was taken and include:
- Vehicle value of less than $20,000. This is considered a third-degree felony. The penalty is up to five years in jail, five years of probation, and/or a fine of $5,000.
- Vehicle value between $20,000 and $100,000. This is considered a second-degree felony. The penalty is fifteen years in jail, fifteen years of probation, and/or a fine of $10,000.
- Vehicle value over $100,000. This is considered a first-degree felony. There is a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison with a minimum of 21 months in prison, thirty years of probation, and/or a fine of $10,000.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer for a Free Consult
If you have been arrested and are facing charges of grand theft in Florida, you need our experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer to help with your case.
Robert David Malove has over 30 years of experience defending those accused of drug trafficking and other offenses. To set up a free consultation to discuss your case, contact us online or by calling our office at 954-861-0384. For your convenience, payment plans are available.