Grand Theft Auto
There are several different types of theft crimes in Florida, but any criminal offense that involves theft of an automobile is classified as a felony. This is true even in cases in which the allegedly stolen motor vehicle has a value that would ordinarily be considered petit theft.
This means that an alleged offender could be subject to a very lengthy prison sentence and substantial fines. Auto theft is a rampant problem in the Sunshine State, and prosecutors will vigorously pursue these types of criminal charges.
Tallahassee Grand Theft Auto Lawyer
If you were recently arrested in Northern Florida for allegedly stealing a motor vehicle, it is critical to find knowledgeable legal representation right away. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law handle theft cases of all sizes and aggressively work to have these charges reduced or dismissed.
Our firm represents clients in the greater Tallahassee area and many other locations in the Florida Panhandle, including Freeport, Saint Marks, Bonifay, De Funiak Springs, and many more. We will provide a free, confidential consultation to review and discuss your case when you call (850) 681-7777.
Leon County Grand Theft Auto Information Center
- How are criminal charges determined in these cases?
- What are the possible sentences a person faces if convicted?
- Does an alleged offender have any legal defenses against these charges?
Under Florida Statute § 320.01, a motor vehicle is defined as either:
- An automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power, but the term does not include traction engines, road rollers, special mobile equipment, vehicles that run only upon a track, bicycles, swamp buggies, or mopeds.
- A recreational vehicle-type unit primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel use, which either has its own motive power or is mounted on or drawn by another vehicle. This includes travel trailers, camping trailers, truck campers, motor homes, private motor coaches, van conversions, park trailers, and fifth-wheel trailers.
The degree of grand theft depends on the value of the automobile that was allegedly stolen:
- $300 or more, but less than $20,000 — Grand Theft in the Third Degree
- $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000 — Grand Theft in the Second Degree
- $100,000 or more — Grand Theft in the First Degree
It is important to keep in mind that an alleged offender could also face additional criminal charges, depending on the circumstances under which the alleged theft occurred. If the alleged crime involved the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear while the alleged offender was taking a motor vehicle from another person, then that individual could be charged with the first-degree felony offense of carjacking.
The felony classification for this crime corresponds to the degree of grand theft:
- Grand Theft in the Third Degree — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000
- Grand Theft in the Second Degree — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000
- Grand Theft in the First Degree — First-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000
The prospect of facing felony charges can be extremely daunting, but a prosecutor still needs to prove an alleged offender’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Some the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or other defenses that the alleged offender could raise may include, but are not limited to:
- Claim of right (alleged offender had reasonable belief that vehicle belonged to him or her)
- Consent of automobile owner
- False accusations
- Lack of evidence
- Mistaken identity
- No criminal intent to permanently deprive owner of vehicle
Find A Grand Theft Auto Lawyer in Tallahassee
Did you get arrested and charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing an automobile in Northern Florida? You should immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Pumphrey Law fights to protect the rights of clients all over Leon County as well as many nearby areas, including Wakulla County, Holmes County, Walton County, and Gadsden County. Call (850) 681-7777 right now to set up a free legal consultation that will let our firm review your case.
Article last updated August 5, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.