Florida does not have a singular law for grand larceny. Rather, it is incorporated within their theft law. This law focuses on different types of property crimes, which includes larceny, but also misappropriation, stealing, conversion and more. Generally speaking, theft means that someone else’s property is taken or used without any form of authorization. To prove theft, the prosecution must be able to evidence a number of different things.
It is the prosecution’s role, firstly, to prove that the defendant specifically intended to use or take a property that belongs to somebody else. The goal of the defendant must have been to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the use of that particular property. The prosecution must demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that criminal intent was at play.
Within theft laws, Florida recognizes petit and grand theft. Additionally, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Generally speaking, the value of the property is what determines this. As such:
- Property valued below $300 classifies as petit theft and a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
- Property valued between $300 and $20,000 is 3rd degree grand theft.
- Property valued between $20,000 and $100,000 is 2nd degree grand theft.
- Property valued above $100,000 is 1st degree grand theft.
Additionally, if the grand theft included the use of a motor vehicle in a way that is instrumental to committing the crime, with the exception of a getaway car, the crime automatically becomes 1st degree grand theft. Additionally, if the crime resulted in property damage or damage to the premises of the crime itself valued at more than $1,000, the state can choose to prosecute as a 1st degree crime.
Laws and Penalties
The way theft is punished depends mainly on the degree of the charge. As such:
- Petit theft is punishable by up to 60 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500.
- Petit theft for someone with a prior conviction can be upgraded to a 1st degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Petit theft for someone with multiple prior convictions can be upgraded to 3rd degree felony. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Grand theft in the 3rd degree is punishable by 60 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500.
- Grand theft in the 2nd degree is a 2nd degree felony, which leads to up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Grand theft in the 1st degree is a 1st degree felony, which leads to up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Grand Larceny Defenses
Generally speaking, defenses for someone charged with grand larceny include:
- Having a good faith belief of right to possess or own the property.
- Consent for use or taking having been given by the owner.
- Involuntary intoxication.
In many cases, defendants try to claim entrapment. However, Florida now has statutes that preclude this defense. The exception is if the actions of law enforcement would not have induced an ordinary, law-abiding citizen from participating.
Statute of Limitations
The statue of limitations depends on the type of grand larceny that has been committed. It is generally between three and five years. Additionally, Florida can choose to toll the statute of limitations if the defendant is out of state or out of the country.
Grand Larceny Cases
- Police: Attendant Looted Donations – Marc Costa, a Florida flight attendant, had left his vehicle parked at John F. Kennedy Airport, where it raised suspicions. Upon investigation, it was found that Costa was supposed to deliver UNICEF donations, instead keeping them for himself.
- $150K bail for fugitive who ran cars off the road in Blackfoot chase – A man who was on the run from Florida law enforcement on charges including grand larceny traveled through Oklahoma and eventually ran a police officer off the road in Montana before finally being arrested.
- Pharmacy employee charged in theft of 3,000 pills – 54 year old Leslie Morehouse has been charged with one case of felony grand larceny in relation to the theft of almost 3,000 Hydrocodone pills.
- Robert Van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice, Released After Being Charged for Residential Burglary: Police – According to the police, Vanilla Ice, who was arrested earlier for charges including grand larceny, has now been released from prison.
- Nicholas Brendon Arrested in Florida After Allegedly Trashing Hotel Room – Nicholas Brendon, famous from the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been arrested on grand larceny charges after trashing the hotel room in which he was staying. A spokesperson is blaming alcohol consumption.