Auto theft is the intentional taking or depriving of another’s ownership or interest in an automobile. In Fort Lauderdale and Florida, any auto theft crime is considered a third-degree Felony, which is punishable by up to five years in the Florida State Prison. Considering the fact that this charge may carry serious consequences, it is recommended to get in touch with our seasoned theft attorneys from Leifert & Leifert. For help with building a defense, contact a Ft. Lauderdale auto theft lawyer today.
Larceny and Auto Theft Charges
As mentioned above, all auto theft crimes are considered Felonies. When it comes to theft offenses, the amount of money taken or the value of the property is taken into consideration when determining the level of offense. If the estimated amount that was taken is $100 or below, it may be charged as a second-degree Misdemeanor. When the amount is between $101 and $299, the charge then becomes a first-degree Misdemeanor. Theft crimes involving anything over $300 is considered a third-degree Felony. As the amounts increase, the degree of Felony increases. Auto theft crimes are considered Felonies because vehicles are typically considered to be worth more than $300. For more information about theft charges, reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer at Leifert & Leifert.
Varying Degrees of Theft Charges
Florida Statute 812.014 defines grand theft as the unlawful use or taking of someone’s property that is valued at $300 or more with the intention of depriving the owner of their rights to the property. Third degree-grand theft is punishable by up to five years in prison or five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Second-degree grand theft may be charged when the value of the property is at least $20,000 and less than $100,000. Theft of cargo, medical equipment, and law enforcement equipment may be charged if the circumstances meet the criteria identified in the statutes. The penalties for second-degree theft are up to 15 years in Prison or 15 years of probation, and $10,000 in fines.
When the value of the property stolen is more than $100,000, Felony grand theft in the first degree may be charged. Other elements of first-degree grand theft are stealing cargo valued at more than $50,000, theft of a semi-trailer being used by a law enforcement officer, or the individual uses a motor vehicle in the course of committing the offense and damages the property of another. The penalties for first-degree theft are up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The penalties are harsh which is why defendants should reach out to a dedicated auto theft attorney in Ft. Lauderdale.
Circumstances for Second-Time Offenders
Some second-time offenders might not be eligible for diversion programs that would result in the charges being dismissed. Second-time offenders may not be eligible for a withholding of adjudication, which is a means of resolving a Felony case in Ft. Lauderdale by avoiding a conviction on an individual’s record.
For a secondary or subsequent offense, a first offense could leave points on an individual’s record (on their sentencing guidelines scoresheet) and that would enhance the penalty on a second or subsequent offense. Second-time offenders should absolutely get in touch with a Ft. Lauderdale auto theft lawyer if they have been charged with this defense again.
Reasons for Hiring a Ft. Lauderdale Auto Theft Attorney
Any allegation of criminal activity should not be taken lightly, especially when it involves a Felony accusation. When someone is a convicted felon, they lose certain rights as a result of their conviction. An individual’s employment prospects are significantly diminished with a Felony conviction and any type of Felony disposition on their record.
Hiring a Ft. Lauderdale auto theft lawyer to prepare a defense against these allegations could result in the dismissal of the charges, a reduction of charges, or no charges on an individual’s record. Call Leifert & Leifert today so we could begin working on your defense.