“Theft” is a broadly used term in Florida that covers a multitude of crimes, from high-profile embezzlement cases to minor shoplifting charges. However, one crime you may be surprised theft does not include in Florida is robbery.
Although theft and robbery are frequently—and mistakenly—used interchangeably, both involve stealing, and both are considered property crimes in Florida, they are not the same crime. The State of Florida has chosen to define and penalize theft and robbery differently. So, where does the prosecution draw the line between these two crimes?
What Does Florida Consider to be a Theft Crime?
Florida’s definition of theft, according to Florida Statute 812.04, is when a person “A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.”
A victim does not need to be present for a theft crime to occur. The theft does not even have to involve tangible property. Although most people may think of theft as physical property, stealing a service can also be charged as a theft crime. Services that are commonly stolen in Florida include:
- Cable, internet, phone, or electricity services
- Public transportation and taxi services
- Repair, construction, and contractor services
- Tree-trimming and other landscaping services
- Hotel and restaurant accommodations
- Medical treatments
Other theft crimes that involve stealing, but do not necessarily involve physical property, are identity theft, embezzlement, and other types of fraud crimes. Often, these crimes are not just illegal under state law but federal law as well.
What is the Difference Between Petit Theft and Grand Theft in Florida?
Florida categorizes theft crimes as either “petit theft” or “grand theft.” The value of the stolen property will determine which category the offense will fall into. Petit theft crimes involve property valued at less than $300 and are charged as misdemeanors. Grand theft crimes, on the other hand, are felony crimes that are divided into three levels.
The three degrees of grand theft crimes in Florida are:
- Third-degree grand theft: Property valued between $300 and $20,000
- Second-degree grand theft: Property valued between $20,000 and $100,000
- First-degree grand theft: Property valued over $100,000
Using a vehicle while committing the theft crime or causing over $1,000 in damage to property during a theft crime can exaggerate the penalties.
What Constitutes as Robbery in Florida?
The State of Florida, in Florida Statute 812.13, defines a “robbery” as:
“the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.”
As with grand theft, Florida breaks robbery down into degrees of severity. They are:
- Second-degree robbery: Unarmed robbery (the offender carried no firearm or deadly weapon)
- First-degree robbery: Armed robbery (the offender carried a weapon)
Unlike theft crimes, a victim must be present for a robbery to occur as it entails taking property directly from another person.
West Palm Beach, Florida Theft and Robbery Criminal Defense Attorney
Felony theft and robbery convictions never go away. Such convictions will stay on your permanent criminal record, affecting your ability to find housing or employment. Potential employers are typically opposed to hiring people with convictions for theft in particular because they see them as untrustworthy.
Do not risk being put behind bars and derailing your future plans by fighting a theft or robbery charge alone. If you have been charged or are being investigated for theft or robbery, contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, where Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his over 30 year career. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form to schedule a free no-obligation consultation today.