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In Florida, any auto theft will be charged as a grand theft felony, no matter what the value of the vehicle is. The penalties are increased for carjacking and in other circumstances, such as if the incident took place during a state of emergency.
Being charged with grand theft of an automobile or carjacking in Florida can be a tough, overwhelming experience. The qualified grand theft auto and carjacking defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm in Gainesville have approximately 50 years of combined legal experience and know what it takes to expose any weak links in the prosecution's case to help your situation.
If you have been arrested and charged with grand theft of an automobile or carjacking in Alachua County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, Marion County, or Union County, put the many years of experience and criminal defense specialization of the Galigani Law Firm on your case. Your first consultation concerning your Gainesville grand theft auto or carjacking case with Galigani Law Firm is free, so call (352) 375-0812 to schedule your appointment today.
In Florida, all auto thefts are considered “grand theft” under Fla. Stat. § 812.014, which includes anyone who knowingly obtains or uses, or attempts to obtain or to use, a motor vehicle belonging to another person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of ownership rights or other benefits; or who wrongfully uses or grants use to another person of motor vehicles which you are not allowed by the owner to drive or use.
If you take a car “joyriding” without permission, this is considered grand theft of an automobile, since you have temporarily used a motor vehicle which you are not entitled to use. You could be charged with grand theft even if you return the vehicle in perfect condition before the owner notices it is missing. It is also grand theft if you obtain use of the vehicle by lies, fraud, or trickery.
For purposes of the grand theft law in Florida, “motor vehicle” includes not only cars and trucks but also detached semi-trailers and motorcycles. However, it does not include mopeds or non-motorized transport such as bicycles.
Typically, grand theft of an auto in Florida is charged as a third-degree felony under Fla. Stat. § 812.014(2)(c)7. If convicted of grand theft of an auto as a third degree felony, the sentence may be up to:
If the grand theft auto happens during a state of emergency that has been declared by the Governor, which often happens when a hurricane hits, and the grand theft auto is facilitated by conditions arising from the hurricane or other emergency, you can face second-degree felony charges, which carry more severe penalties.
Some examples of “conditions arising from the emergency” that can lead to second-degree felony charges are:
For example, if you steal a truck from the driveway of a house that has been evacuated during a hurricane, this will probably result in second-degree felony charge of grand theft. If convicted of grand theft of an auto as a second degree felony, the sentence may be up to:
Grand theft of an auto can be charged as an even more serious first-degree felony for auto theft. You will be charged with first-degree felony grand theft if the police report that:
As an example, if the police claim that you loaded a motorcycle belonging to another person into your truck and drove off, and you tore up the yard and knocked over a fence while doing this, it is possible that you could be charged with first-degree felony grand theft of an auto. If convicted of grand theft of an auto as a first degree felony, the sentence may be up to:
If during any auto theft there is a use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear, including during flight from the offense, this is defined as carjacking by Fla. Stat. § 812.133. In Florida, any carjacking is a first-degree felony. If convicted of carjacking, you face:
A carjacking conviction can even lead to life in prison if a court finds that you carried a gun or any other deadly weapon during the carjacking, even if you did not actually fire the gun or even aim it at a person.
If you have been accused of grand theft auto or charged with carjacking in Gainesville or the surrounding areas, including Alachua County, Ocala in Marion County, and Lake City in Columbia County, contact the experienced grand theft auto and carjacking defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm. They will do whatever it takes to fight for a favorable outcome in your Gainesville grand theft auto or carjacking case. To schedule your free initial grand theft auto or carjacking case consultation with the Galigani Law Firm, call (352) 375-0812 today.
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