Most people arrested for grand theft are concerned about whether they'll go to prison and how a conviction would impact their families and their ability to get a job. Prosecutors are required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled defense attorney can help you develop a strategy and protect your rights. If you have been charged with grand theft, robbery, burglary, or any similar offense, an experienced Miami theft crime lawyer at The Hoffman Firm may be able to help.Grand Theft in Miami
Florida Statute section 812.014 defines grand theft as an illegal using or taking of property that is worth at least $300 while having the specific intent of keeping the owner from his rights to the taken property. A prosecutor hoping to establish grand theft will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) you illegally and knowingly took or used or endeavored to take or use (2) someone else's property worth at least $300, (3) specifically intending to temporarily or permanently keep the victim from the property or benefits of the property or appropriate the victim's property to your own use.Degrees and Penalties of Grand Theft in Miami
The most serious grand theft charge is first degree grand theft. A prosecutor can charge you with grand theft for stealing property that is worth at least $100,000, or for stealing cargo in interstate commerce that is worth at least $50,000, or a semitrailer used by a law enforcement officer. You can also be charged with first degree grand theft if you perpetrate a grand theft involving property of any value and in doing so you use a motor vehicle to help in perpetration of the offense and thereby damage another's real property or while perpetrating the offense, you cause damage to another's real or personal property worth more than $1000.
The next most serious grand theft charge is grand theft in the second degree. This charge applies if the property at issue is worth $20,000 to $100,000. Second degree grand theft can also be charged where the stolen goods are: cargo worth less than $50,000 in the stream of commerce, law enforcement equipment taken from an authorized emergency vehicle and valued at least at $300, or emergency medical equipment worth at least $300 and taken from a licensed facility. The potential sentence for second degree grand theft in Miami is 15 years in prison or on probation and a $10,000 fine.
The least serious form of grand theft is grand theft in the third degree, which is a third degree felony. You can be charged with third degree grand theft if the property at issue is $300-$20,000. You may also be charged with third degree grand theft if the property at issue is a will, another testamentary instrument, a motor vehicle, a firearm, a commercially farmed animal, certain amounts of citrus fruit, a stop sign, a controlled substance, or the property was taken from a designated construction site.Proving the Value of the Property Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
A critical element of a grand theft charge is proving the worth of the property that was allegedly stolen. The value of the property must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney. Usually, market value is used to establish the value of the property. Generally, the original purchase price of stolen property isn't enough by itself to show what the value was when the property was stolen. However, if the market value can't be determined, the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time of the alleged theft can be used. If a witness is testifying as to value, he or she must be competent to testify about the value. When the property value can't be determined, the value can be found to be not less than a specific sum. However, if no minimum value can be set, the value will be considered to be under $100, too low for a grand theft charge. Generally, the quality and general condition of the property when stolen needs to be established.Consult an Experienced Theft Crime Defense Attorney in Miami
Evan Hoffman of The Hoffman Firm can examine theft charges against you in Miami and help you determine a defense strategy. Our firm defends those charged with grand theft in Miami, as well as North Miami, Key Biscayne, Aventura, and Miami Beach. Contact The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 or via our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.