According to Local 10 News, a shipment of ventilators worth $3 million that was stolen earlier this month in Miami-Dade has been recovered.
FBI officials explained that the ventilators were being prepared for shipment to El Salvador by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) when they were stolen on or around August 8.
Given the value and type of property that was taken, those responsible are likely to face grand theft charges if apprehended and should consider hiring a criminal defense team.
Grand Theft vs. Petty Theft
Many people mistakenly assume that grand theft involves the unlawful taking of an extremely valuable piece of property worth at least several thousand dollars. Items such as an automobile, expensive jewelry, or a prized work of art tend to come to mind when we hear the term. After all, the word “grand” naturally invokes a sense of extravagance and luxury. In truth, the line between what constitutes the more serious grand theft felony charge and the lesser misdemeanor charge of petty theft can be very fine, but the penalties can vary widely.
Penalties for Theft Crimes in Florida
The penalties associated with either petty or grand theft crimes in Florida are based on a number of factors. Petty theft charges (and their subsequent penalties) are more straightforward than grand theft offenses, and usually focus on monetary value. If the property is valued at less than $100, then the accused will face second degree misdemeanor charges and up to 60 days in jail. If the property’s value is at least $100 but less than $300, then the accused will face first degree misdemeanor charges and at least a year in jail.
Grand theft penalties, on the other hand, are far more complex because several factors are taken into account, such as the monetary value of the item(s), the type of property in question, and where the property was taken from. For example, a person may be charged with grand theft instead of petty theft if the property’s value is at least $100 and was taken from the owner’s home or business. A grand theft offense in Florida can be charged as a first, second, or third degree felony, with the maximum penalty being up to 30 years imprisonment.
Why Anyone Accused of Theft Should Consult With a Criminal Defense Lawyer
People are often wrongfully accused of theft for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it can boil down to a simple misunderstanding. However, without legal counsel, the accused can face maximum penalties.
If you or a loved one are facing grand theft charges in Florida, a skilled criminal defense lawyer, like Michael D. Weinstein, PA, can petition the court to reduce the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor or may even successfully throw the charges out altogether.