What is Grand Theft of a Controlled Substance?
September 10, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Drug Charges, Theft/Property Crimes Social Share
When someone is accused of stealing an item or property belonging to someone else, it is considered a theft crime. In Florida, theft crimes can range from petit theft to grand theft, depending on the value of the stolen property. Theft penalties are more severe for high-value stolen property.
Under Florida law, it is against the law to steal any type of controlled substance or illegal drug. In a recent case, a woman was arrested for allegedly stealing controlled substances from her former place of work. We will cover the details of the case, along with information on grand theft charges and controlled substances in Florida.
Defining Grand Theft in Florida
Theft is defined under Florida Statute Section 812.014 as when an individual knowingly and purposefully obtains or uses an object or property belonging to another person with the intent to either permanently deprive the true owner from the use or benefit of the property or appropriate the property to their own use or another’s use who is not entitled to the property. Theft can be categorized as either petit theft or grand theft.
Petit theft covers property stolen that is valued between $100 to $750 and is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of incarceration, 12 months of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine. If the theft is valued at less than $100, the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days of incarceration, 6 months of probation, and/or a $500 fine.
Theft is classified as grand theft when the object or property stolen is valued above $750 and can result in much more severe consequences. If the stolen object(s) or property is valued at less than $20,000 but more than $750, it is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration, 5 years of probation, and/or a $5,000 fine. The charge can be increased to a second-degree felony if the object(s) or property is valued between $20,000 and $100,000. This offense is punishable by up to 15 years of incarceration. 15 years of probation, and/or a $10,000 fine. If the stolen object(s) or property is valued above $100,000, the charge is considered a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years of incarceration with a fine of up to $10,000.
Under Florida Statute Section 812.014(c)(13), it is considered a grand theft charge and a third-degree felony to use or obtain any amount of a controlled substance as defined in Florida Statute Section 893.02.
Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes defines drug abuse prevention and control. Under Florida law, “controlled substances” are any substances that are listed in the Drug Schedule I-V, which is defined as the following:
- Schedule I: Substances that have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use in the U.S. and does not meet the accepted medical safety standards.
- Schedule II: Substances that have a high potential for abuse and have an accepted but restricted medical use in the U.S. and any abuse can lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.
- Schedule III: Substances that have a potential for abuse less than those listed in Schedule I and II, and have an accepted medical use in the U.S. The abuse of substances under this list can lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence, or in the case of anabolic steroids can lead to physical damage.
- Schedule IV: Substances that have low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule III and have an accepted medical use in the U.S., and abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule III.
- Schedule V: Substances that have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule IV and have medical use in the U.S., and the abuse of such compound, mixture, or preparation may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule IV.
For more information on drug charges in Florida, read our page here.
Lynda Rusinowski, 56, has been arrested for allegedly stealing narcotics after formerly serving as a Monroe County Fire Rescue flight nurse.
According to Adam Linhardt, the spokesperson for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, there was a concern over missing narcotics addressed back in late July. After issuing an investigation, the detectives discovered that “Rusinoswki stole Morphine and Versed and then altered or falsified records in an attempt to conceal the thefts.”
After being questioned by the authorities, Rusinowski admitted to stealing the controlled substances.
“I was deeply troubled to learn of this situation, but I can assure you that I will take whatever actions are necessary to ensure Trauma Star continues its critical life-saving operations,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement.
Rusinowski was a chief flight nurse for the Trauma Star helicopter program. She has now been arrested and faces charges with two counts of grand theft of a controlled substance, two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and two counts of official misconduct.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
Theft charges can lead to serious consequences in Florida. Depending on the value of the stolen property, you can face expensive fines and imprisonment if convicted. Grand theft is a more extreme theft charge and stealing any type of controlled substance has harsh punishments as mentioned in the example case above. If you or a loved one have been accused of a theft crime, reach out to an experienced defense attorney today. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients for all types of criminal charges, and we vow to stand by your side and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today
Written by Karissa Key