Grand theft can occur in all kinds of situations. One of the more unusual cases to hit Florida recently involved a Canadian native who experienced a bit of delusional thinking at a Florida airport. After claiming to be a pilot, trailing an employee with a cleaning cart, and removing his pants, he absconded with a luggage tug onto a taxiway. When he was finally subdued by a firefighter and arrested, he was charged with grand theft for commandeering the $75,000 luggage tug. Go figure.
Another curious case of grand theft involved Gators football players who became complicit in a debit card scheme. The players purchased expensive electronics with University issued credit cards, then sold the electronics. No problem so far. The crime occurred when players reported the cards as stolen.
In yet one more variation of grand theft in Florida, a female psychic was charged with defrauding her victim in a fortune-telling scheme involving over $80,000.
While most stories involving grand theft are not so colorful, the charges are nonetheless serious, and require the skill and determination of an experienced local attorney.
What is Grand Theft?
Grand theft is a Third Degree felony crime that takes shape in a variety of ways. The key component in this type of crime is intent. The prosecution must be able to convince a jury that the accused committed the theft, knowing it was stealing. In other words, if the accused genuinely believes the items taken belong to him or her, intent might not be provable. That being said, grand theft might involve a number of acts, including:
- Deliberately taking something valued at $300 or more.
- Stealing a firearm;
- Stealing a stop sign;
- Taking a motor vehicle;
- Stealing a fire extinguisher;
- Stealing 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit;
- Taking items from a posted construction site.
The penalties for this Third Degree felony may include a maximum of five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
When the theft involves emergency medical equipment or law enforcement equipment that exceeds $300 in value, and the charge rises to a Second-Degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and a fine of $10,000.
Finally, if the stolen item exceeds $100,000 in value, is a law enforcement semitrailer, or disrupts interstate commerce involving cargo exceeding $50,000 in value, it bumps up to a First Degree felony. Naturally, the maximum punishment rises as well, including a 30-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
If you have been accused of grand theft, it is imperative that you have a strong legal defense. At Aiken, O’Halloran and Foley, our experienced team will work aggressively to ensure the best outcomes for you. Contact us today in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda or Sarasota for a free initial consultation.