In Florida, there is no specific crime for grand theft auto. Theft is theft in Florida. Most auto theft is characterized under the theft statute, and the degree of theft charged will depend on the value of the automobile taken. There are some exceptions, such as not returning a leased vehicle. If the vehicle is over $300, as most vehicles are, it will be grand theft if the person is accused of taking the vehicle in Florida. A West Palm Beach auto theft lawyer is well-versed on the topic of theft. Should you have any questions, an experienced theft attorney can help.
Auto Theft and Petty Larceny in West Palm Beach
Petty larceny refers to the taking of property valued at less than $300. Auto theft is almost certain to be the taking of a motor vehicle of greater value than $300. There are some potential exceptions here, such as the taking of an older motorcycle or scooter in poor repair.
It is possible for an auto theft lawyer in West Palm Beach to negotiate the crime down to petty theft nevertheless, depending on the value of the car that was taken.
Possible Consequences of Auto Theft Conviction
The consequences depend upon the value of the car taken, the circumstances under which the car was taken, whether the car was returned intact or with damages, the input of the person whose property was taken, and the prior history of the person. Talk to a West Palm Beach attorney for specific auto theft consequences relating to a situation.
Auto Theft as Felony
Almost all auto theft is going to be charged as a felony, and the question then becomes what level of felony it will be. In Florida, there are three different levels of felonies. The lower level is third degree, the next level is second degree, and the top level is first degree. Third-degree auto theft is theft of a motor vehicle with a value of over $300 or less than $20,000 and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If the value of the vehicle is more than $20,000 but less than $100,000, that is a second-degree grand theft of a motor vehicle, and a second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If a person is charged and convicted of stealing a motor vehicle that has a value of over $100,000, that is a felony of a first degree, which is punishable by 25 years in prison.
How Consequences Differ for a Second-Time Offender
For a first offense, the person may get the benefit of the doubt in sentencing, depending on whether anyone was hurt and in what condition of the property was returned if it was recovered.
For a repeat offense, the person can be deemed to be more of a danger to the community, and they will be punished much more harshly the second time. A person with a prior record needs an attorney that much more. A car theft lawyer in West Palm Beach would want to prevent the facts from a first case from being used in the second case, or that the facts are not referred to in an improper way.
Hiring a West Palm Beach Auto Theft Attorney
Theft charges involve dishonesty and speak to the person’s reputation for trustworthiness and veracity. If a person is accused of stealing a motor vehicle, it might be difficult to rent a car, lease a car, or even test drive a car if others become aware of the charge. Someone charged with auto theft would want to hire a West Palm Beach auto theft lawyer to avoid being convicted. It is the attorney’s job to try to mitigate the prosecution’s facts and lessen consequences to the person. Call Leifert & Leifert to discuss your legal options.