No one wants to become the victim of a crime. Certainly, no one wants to lose their hard-earned valuables at the hands of another human being for no other reason than they were there for the taking. Theft is a crime. As luck would have it, the more someone steals the greater the crime. Grand theft is used to describe the theft of material goods or services that usually amount to more than just a little. When does petty theft become grand theft? It depends on where you are, but there are general laws to take into consideration.
Theft, in general, is more of an umbrella term for a library of other more specific crimes that involve stealing goods or services. Some examples include larceny, robbery, looting, embezzlement, burglary, fraud, and shoplifting. In Florida, it becomes grand theft when the amount of the theft exceeds value appraised at over $300.
Sometimes, the property has personal value but not monetary value. In these instances, the crime of grand theft may still apply. For example, if a last will and testament was stolen then that is considered grand theft. No matter a car’s value, stealing one is grand theft. Other examples that override monetary value include firearms, farm animals, fire extinguishers, two thousand or more pieces of citrus fruit, stop signs or any controlled substance under federal law. These particular examples all fall under the third degree of grand theft.
Grand theft in the second degree occurs in Florida when the property or services stolen amount to more than $20,000 but less than $100,000. Examples that fall outside of monetary value include law enforcement or emergency medical equipment, or cargo that relies on interstate commerce while shipping.
Grand theft in the first degree occurs in Florida when the property or services stolen amount to more than $100,000. If in the course of stealing these goods and services the suspect uses a motor vehicle and damages property while doing so, it is considered grand theft.
There are a few things to keep in mind when contemplating grand theft. First and foremost, by definition, a perpetrator of grand theft knew what he or she was doing and actively sought out to do it anyway. One interesting stipulation of grand theft that sometimes arises in court is this: it doesn’t matter if you intend to replace what you stole at a later date. Theft is still theft; it’s never borrowing.