When Is Theft A Felony Offense In Florida?
Theft is one of the most common criminal charges filed in Florida. It occurs when a person takes the money, assets, or property of another without their consent and with the intent to deprive the rightful owner. Theft is a serious criminal offense. A conviction on a theft charge can result in jail time. You may be wondering: Is theft a felony in Florida? The answer is “it depends”—the primary factor is the amount that was allegedly stolen by the. Here, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer provides an in-depth guide to theft charges in Florida.
Starting Point: What is Theft in Florida?
Theft has both a general definition and a legal definition. To obtain a conviction in a theft case in Florida, prosecutors must prove all of the elements under state law (Florida Statutes § 812.014). More specifically, this means that prosecutors must establish that the defendant:
- Knowingly obtained money or property from another person without consent; and
- Did so with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of its use and/or did so with the intent of “converting” the property.
As with all other criminal charges, the burden of proof rests upon the prosecution. The prosecution has a duty to present comprehensive evidence that proves that the defendant engaged in theft under Florida law.
Theft Charges in Florida: Severity Based on Value of Stolen Money/Property
In Florida, the severity of a theft charge is driven primarily by the amount. Put another way, the total value of the goods that were allegedly stolen will (largely) determine the classification of the theft charge and the severity of the corresponding criminal penalties. Here is an overview of theft charges in Florida:
- Less than $100: A second degree misdemeanor offense carrying up to 60 days in jail.
- $100 to $750: A first degree misdemeanor offense carrying up to one year in jail.
- $750 to $20,000: A third degree felony offense carrying up to five years in jail.
- $20,000 to $100,000: A second degree felony offense carrying up to fifteen years in jail.
- In Excess of $100,000: A first degree felony offense carrying up to thirty years in jail.
It is important to emphasize that the value of property stolen is the main factor in determining the severity of a theft charge. However, it is not the only factor. In some circumstances, the type of property could also have an impact. For example, theft of a firearm can always be charged as a felony in Florida—regardless of the market value of the gun.
Get Help From a Theft Defense Lawyer in Central Florida
At The Baez Law Firm, our Florida criminal defense attorney is a zealous, tenacious advocate for clients. You deserve justice. If you or someone you know was aerated and charged with either misdemeanor theft or felony theft, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today to set up your confidential initial legal consultation. From our Orlando law office, we defend theft charges in Orange County and throughout the surrounding region in Central Florida.