In the state of Florida, there is no specific “grand theft auto” statute. It is simply considered a crime under “grand theft” and it carries a third degree felony count to it. It just so happens when the case involves the theft of a motor vehicle, the term “grand theft auto” is used. Score one for the video game makers.
You could be charged with stealing an automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, or any other vehicle operated on the road. A recent high-profile example of this type of case took place on a college campus. Florida State student/football player Jesus Wilson was arrested back in June on a charge of Grand Theft Auto in the third degree. He was charged with stealing a scooter that was parked on campus. The victim left his keys inside the scooter and Wilson allegedly drove off. This is Wilson’s first brush with the law, so that helped his case. Although under Florida law, the charge of grand theft auto in the third degree carries a maximum sentence of five yeas in prison, five years probation and up to a $5,000 fine, upon conviction.
Florida police departments takes motor vehicle theft very seriously and are aware that motor vehicle theft is often connected to other crimes, such as using them for parts at chop shops. A defense attorney will try to show that their client didn’t knowingly or unlawfully obtain the alleged victim’s vehicle or automobile. Sometimes a simple mistake can lead to harsh consequences. Felony convictions equal incarceration, so if you find yourself in this legal situation you will want to obtain a defense lawyer quickly.