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Grand Theft Defense Lawyer in Stuart, Florida

Charged With Grand Theft in Martin County? Contact Our Stuart Criminal Defense Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Stuart grand theft defense attorney brings more than 20 years of experience to the support of clients. Grand theft is a felony offense in Florida. Any person facing such a serious criminal charge needs a skilled professional advocate on their side. Our firm puts client interests first. If you or your loved one was arrested and charged with grand theft, we can help. Contact us at our Stuart law office today to arrange a strictly confidential, no-obligation case evaluation with an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer.

An Overview of Grand Theft Charges in Florida

An Overview of Grand Theft Charges in Florida

Theft is a crime in Florida. Under state law (Florida Statutes § 812.014), a person can be arrested for and convicted of theft if he or she “knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently.” Theft is divided into two broad categories in Florida:

  • Petit theft (misdemeanor); and
  • Grand theft (felony).

In Florida, the threshold for grand theft is $750. In other words, if the amount that was allegedly stolen is in excess of $750, a person can be hit with a felony grand theft charge instead of a misdemeanor petit theft charge. The exact classification of a grand theft charge will depend, in large part, on the amount that was stolen.

Note: In Florida, grand theft is classified as an “aggravated offense.” Technically, multiple separate grand theft offenses could be combined together when determining the classification of the charge and the extent of the penalties. For example, if a person stole $500 in merchandise from a retail store in Florida one day and then $400 more merchandise the next day, these two cases could be “aggregated” and charged as a felony grand theft offense since the total value is $900.

Know the Penalties for a Grand Theft Conviction

In Florida, not all grand theft charges are created equal. While they all carry serious criminal penalties, these penalties can sometimes be especially severe. A number of different factors impact the penalties that a person will face. With that being said, the most important factor is the amount of total goods, property, assets, etc., that was taken without authorization. Here is a more detailed overview of the possible penalties:

  • Third Degree Felony: Grand theft of the third degree is the least severe classification and is applied when the value of the stolen property is between $750 and $20,000. A conviction for a third-degree felony can lead to penalties including up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and fines up to $5,000.
  • Second Degree Felony: Grand theft becomes a second-degree felony when the value of the property stolen is between $20,000 and $100,000. This level also covers theft that results in property damage exceeding $1,000 and theft involving emergency medical equipment valued at $300 or more from a licensed facility. The penalties for a second-degree felony include up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
  • First-Degree Felony: The most serious classification, first-degree felony grand theft, applies when the value of the stolen property exceeds $100,000 or if the theft causes damage to the property of others that exceeds $1,000 during the commission of the crime. A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in up to 30 years in prison, with the same period of probation, and fines up to $10,000 or more.

Know Your Rights When Facing a Grand Theft Charge in Stuart, Florida

Are you facing allegations of Grand Theft in Stuart, Martin County, or elsewhere in South Florida? It is imperative that you take immediate action to protect yourself and your legal rights. A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Here are four key points to know about your rights:

  • You Have the Right to Remain Silent: When arrested for grand theft, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions posed by the police or other investigators. For example, imagine being accused of electronics from a retail store in Stuart worth $5,000. You may be pressured to explain your actions or your whereabouts. You do not have to answer these questions. Indeed, exercising your right to remain silent can prevent unintentional self-incrimination. Get a lawyer before giving a statement.
  • You Have the Right to Freedom from Illegal Searches: Your constitutional right against illegal searches and seizures is protected by the Fourth Amendment. The police need a valid warrant or a legitimate legal justification (probable cause to search your person, vehicle, home, or other private spaces. If charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing goods from a store, law enforcement cannot search your home for these items without a warrant unless certain exigent circumstances exist. Illegally obtained evidence might be deemed inadmissible in court. Without that evidence, the charges may end up getting dismissed.
  • You Have the Right to a Defense Lawyer: You do not have to take on police or prosecutors alone. You have the right to be represented by a Stuart, FL, grand theft defense lawyer. The legal nuances of grand theft charges can be complex. A defense lawyer will help you navigate the legal system, advise you on the best course of action, and represent your interests in court. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the better.
  • You Have the Right to a Fair Trial: Every person charged with a crime in Florida is entitled to a fair trial by jury—a felony grand theft This means you can contest the grand theft charge in a court of law before a jury of your peers. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt—which is the highest standard of proof in the legal system. For example, if you are accused of grand theft for allegedly stealing high-end jewelry, you have the right to present your defense, including raising evidence and cross-examining witnesses.

Common Defenses Against Grand Theft Charges in Florida

What is the best defense strategy against a grand theft charge in Stuart? The answer depends on a number of different factors, including the specific circumstances of your case. A top-tier criminal defense lawyer can review the allegations in question and help you determine the best approach. Some of the most common defense strategies against grand theft include:

  • Lack of Intent to Steal: One of the primary elements required to establish a grand theft charge in Florida is the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. If the defendant can demonstrate that there was no intention to steal—perhaps believing that the property was theirs or that they had permission to use it—this can be a powerful defense. For example, if a person took a bicycle thinking it was the same one they had lent to a friend, and it turned out to be someone else’s, their lack of intent could be a viable defense.
  • Consent from the Owner: If the defendant had explicit permission from the property owner to take the property, this could serve as a valid defense against grand theft charges. Consent must be clear and unequivocal, and the defendant must demonstrate that the property owner authorized the taking under the terms agreed upon. For example, if a person is accused of stealing a car but can show that the owner had lent them the vehicle for the weekend, it is a viable defense.
  • Return of Property: While not by itself a definitive defense, returning the stolen property can sometimes play a role in mitigating the charges or the potential sentence. It can be particularly effective if the return is voluntary and occurs before the defendant has any knowledge of impending charges. It can be used to demonstrate remorse and the lack of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
  • A Plea Agreement: Finally, in some cases, a plea agreement (plea bargain) may be the best course of action. It also the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence or the dropping of additional charges. This can be an advantageous option if the evidence against the defendant is strong and a conviction seems likely. In a grand theft case, for example, the defense might negotiate a plea for a lesser offense like petit theft. Notably, petit theft is a misdemeanor offense. Jail time may be avoided.

Why Rely on Stuart Grand Theft Defense Lawyer Denise Miller

Facing a criminal charge is stressful—especially if it is a felony allegation, such as a grand theft charge. You do not have to take on the criminal justice process alone. Our founder Denise Miller is an experienced criminal defense advocate and a former Judicial Clerk For the 17th Judicial Circuit. Our client testimonials tell the story best. We are committed to proactive legal representation. When you reach out to our Stuart law office, you will have a chance to speak to a Florida grand theft defense lawyer who is ready to:

  • Hear your story and answer legal questions about grand theft charges;
  • Investigate the allegations—securing any exonerating evidence;
  • Handle all of the interactions with police officers and prosecutors;
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to protect your rights and your interests.

Is Grand Theft a Felony in Florida?

Yes. By definition, grand theft is a felony in Florida. The classification of the felony—either first, second, or third degree—depends on the value and nature of the property stolen. The penalties can range from up to 5 years in prison for third-degree felony to up to 30 years for first-degree felony grand theft. Grand theft is a very serious criminal offense.

Can I Go to Jail for a Grand Theft Conviction?

Yes. You can go to jail for a grand theft conviction in Florida. Grand theft is a felony, and it carries the potential for a significant state prison sentence. The length of the jail or prison term depends on the degree of the felony. Additional penalties can include fines and restitution.

Should I Accept a Plea Agreement in a Grand Theft Case?

It depends. Whether or not to accept a plea agreement in a grand theft case depends on the specifics of your case, the evidence against you, and your overall legal strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. A plea agreement can offer a guaranteed outcome and potentially lighter penalties compared to risking a trial. A Stuart, FL, grand theft defense lawyer can help.

Can I Get a Grand Theft Arrest Expunged?

Maybe. Getting a grand theft arrest expunged in Florida is possible under certain conditions, including if the charges were dropped, the court withheld adjudication, or you were acquitted of the allegations in a trial. The process involves filing a petition for expungement and proving eligibility under Florida law. A Stuart, FL, criminal defense lawyer with experience handling expungement cases can help you navigate the process.

Is Retail Theft a Type of Grand Theft in Florida?

It can be. Retail theft can be classified as grand theft in Florida if the value of the merchandise stolen exceeds $750. Theft of lower-valued items typically falls under petit theft. With that being said, retail theft involving large amounts or organized schemes can lead to even more severe charges.

Contact Our Stuart, FL Grand Theft Defense Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Stuart grand theft lawyers provide aggressive, solutions-focused legal guidance and support to clients. If you have any questions or concerns about a grand theft charge, we are here to help. Contact us today for a completely confidential initial consultation. With a law office in Stuart, we defend grand theft charges throughout all of Martin County, including in Palm City, Port Salerno, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown.

At Law Office of Denise Miller, our criminal and family law firm in Stuart, FL focuses on the following practice areas:

Family Law, including:

Criminal Defense, including:

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