There are numerous theft-related offenses in the State of Florida. Each offense requires proof of specific and varied elements, and each offense has unique possible defenses. Additionally, the State Attorney usually seeks restitution as part of a plea bargain or at a restitution hearing after sentencing. Mr. Glassman is available to consult with you to discuss your charges and any possible defenses that you may have.
Grand or Petit Theft, F.S. 812.014
Grand Theft in the State of Florida entails a theft of property worth over $300 at the the time of the taking. If the property was worth over $100,000, then the offense is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years of incarceration in the Florida Department of Corrections. If the property was worth between $20,000 to $100,000, then it is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years of incarceration. If the property was worth between $300 to $20,000, then it is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration. If value is not proved or if the value is under $300, then the charge is petit theft, which is a misdemeanor (unless the person has two prior petit theft offenses, in which case the state may charge the defendant was felony petit theft).
In order to prove a charge of theft, the State Attorney must prove the value of the property and the following two elements:
- That the defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain the property at issues, and
- That the defendant did so with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the victim of that property.
If you or someone you know has been charged with grand theft, it is vital that you reach out to an attorney that will properly investigate all the issues in the case and zealously represent you in court.
Dealing in Stolen Property, F.S. 812.019
In the State of Florida, Dealing in Stolen Property is a second degree felony offense, punishable by up to 15 years of incarceration in the Florida Department of Corrections. In order to prove a charge of Dealing in Stolen Property, the State Attorney must prove the following two elements:
- The defendant bought, sold, or transferred (or attempted to buy, sell or transfer) certain property, and
- The defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen.
Florida makes no distinction between those who sell stolen property and those who purchase it. Knowledge that the property is stolen can only be proved through circumstantial evidence. The State Attorney will present evidence about how recently the property was stolen, what price was paid, the relationship between the parties, etc. This element can be difficult for the State Attorney to prove and, when appropriate, Mr. Glassman forcefully attacks this issue in front of the jury.
False Verification of Ownership to a Pawnbroker, F.S. 539.001
A False Verification charge is often charged in companion with some other criminal offense, usually dealing in stolen property charge. In fact, if an individual sells a stolen item at a pawn shop, both offenses have been committed based on that one single act. False Verification of Ownership is a third degree felony offense punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration it the Florida Department of Corrections. To prove a charge of False Verification of Ownership to a Pawnbroker, the State Attorney must prove the following three elements:
- The defendant sold goods to a pawnbroker.
- At the time, the defendant knowingly gave false verification of ownership of the goods to the pawnbroker.
- The defendant received money from the pawnbroker for the goods.
In Florida, a pawn transaction involves a substantial amount of paperwork and the customer must provide a signature and thumbprint. As such, it is usually easy for the State Attorney to prove that the prawn transaction occurred. Mr. Glassman will obtain and review all the records involved in the pawn transaction in determining what defenses might be available to you.
- Florida Statute 812.014, Theft
- Florida Statute 812.019, Dealing in Stolen Property
- Florida Statute 539.001, False Verification of Ownership to a Pawnbroker
- Standard Jury Instructions, Florida Supreme Court
Recent Appellate Cases
- Ciani v. State, 177 So.3d 656 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015) – The valuation that needs to be proved for stolen items in a grand theft charge is fair market value at the time of the offense. The purchase price alone is insufficient as it does not take into account any depreciation.
- Bradley v. State, 174 So.3d 1052 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) – A defendant may be convicted of pawning multiple items which were stolen at multiple times from multiple victims without violating double jeopardy.
- Gonzalez v. State, 965 So.2d 273 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007) – A pawn transaction form is a business record and not testimonial, and therefore may be admitted into evidence without violating the confrontation clause.
- Editorial: Strengthen Criminal Laws Against Pawnbrokers, myPalmBeachPost
- Deputies Shut Down Sarasota Pawn Shop, Herald-Tribune
- Florida Lawmakers Look to Curb Unemployment Fraud, Sun-Sentinel