Grand theft, or the unlawful taking of another’s car or other property valued at $300 or more, is a felony offense in Florida, punishable by imprisonment and other penalties. Various factors will determine the outcome of a grand theft auto case, including the valuation of the property, the intent of the defendant, and the circumstances in which the alleged theft occurred.

If you or your loved one is facing charges for grand theft auto in Florida, your first step is to speak to a local defense attorney for help with your defense and for instruction about your next steps. For a lawyer in the St. Petersburg area that handles theft cases, contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900.

How does Florida categorize grand theft auto?

Florida Statutes § 812.014(2) typically categorizes grand theft auto as a third-degree felony. However, the state will upgrade the offense to a second- or first-degree felony in certain cases.

For instance, if the car’s value is more than $20,000 but less than $100,000, it will be a second-degree felony. You will also face second-degree felony charges if the theft occurred after the Governor declares a state of emergency.

If the car is valued at $100,000 or more; if the vehicle was a semitrailer deployed by a law enforcement officer; or if the defendant used the vehicle as an instrument to assist in committing an offense and thereby damages the real property of another, the offense will be a felony of the first degree.

What are the penalties for grand theft auto in Florida?

The potential penalties for grand theft auto in Florida are dependent upon the value of the vehicle in question:

  • Vehicles valued at <$20,000: up to five years in prison or five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine
  • Vehicles valued between $20,000 and $100,000: up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine
  • Vehicles valued over $100,000, law enforcement trailers, or getaway vehicles that cause damage: up to 30 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine

Call Goldman Wetzel to defend against grand theft auto charges.

Our team of defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel understands the intricacies of grand theft auto cases and which types of defenses work in these cases. Some defenses we can use include:

  • Lack of intent
  • You thought you had consent to take the vehicle (e.g., your friend loaned it to you)
  • Someone sold you a stolen vehicle
  • You had or thought you had a right to take the vehicle
  • You acted out of necessity or duress (this defense will not work if you took the vehicle during a state of emergency)

We can also challenge the value of the vehicle to try to get the charges reduced. With your future on the line, it is critical to start working on your case with a theft defense lawyer in St. Petersburg from Goldman Wetzel as soon as possible.

Call our office today at 727-828-3900 and speak to one of our staff members today for assistance.