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Motor Vehicle Theft

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2015 there were approximately 700,000 motor vehicle thefts in the United States. In 2015, Florida ranked third out of the top ten states in the United States for the most motor vehicle thefts, at approximately 40,000.

Nowadays, when people think of grand theft, they think of the video game –Grand Theft Auto, instead of the actual felony theft statute that could cost a person years of their life in prison. Moreover, when people think of the term motor vehicle, they think of only cars. Florida Statute § 316.003(40) defines "motor vehicle" as a "self-propelled vehicle, not operated upon rails or guide ways, but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electronic personal assistive, mobility device, swamp buggy, or moped."

Given the definition, it is important to remember that not only cars but also boats and motorcycles count among the definition of "motor vehicle."

Attorney for Motor Vehicle Theft in Miami, Florida

If you or someone you know has been charged with stealing a motor vehicle, call a certified criminal defense attorney for more information about how to build a defense to grand theft charges. Call attorney E.J. Hubbs to set up a consultation about your case.

E.J. Hubbs has offices in South Miami on Sunset Drive and in North Miami, located on 123rd Street.

Attorney Hubbs takes cases in Miami-Dade County in cities like Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Dadeland, Kendall, The Crossings, Palmetto Bay and South Miami.

Call (305) 615-5945 now to schedule an appointment to speak one-on-one with attorney E.J Hubbs.


Grand Theft Auto

Motor vehicle theft, otherwise known as grand theft, is charged as a third-degree felony under the Florida Theft Statute § 812.014. In order for the State to find a defendant guilty of grand theft of an automobile, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:

  1. the defendant knowingly and unlawfully used or obtained, or tried to use or obtained;
  2. the victim's motor vehicle; and
  3. the defendant did so with the intent to permanently or temporarily do one of the following:
    1. deprive the victim of his or her right to the motor vehicle, or
    2. appropriate the motor vehicle to his or hers own use or to a person's use who was not entitled to it.

Grand theft of a motor vehicle is charged as a third-degree felony under Florida law, punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 fines.


Carjacking under § 812.155

In Miami, Carjacking is defined as taking a motor vehicle using force, violence, fear, or assault, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle.

Under §812.155(2) a defendant may be subject to harsher penalties if he or she carried a firearm or deadly weapon in the course of committing the carjacking.

Carjacking in Florida is a first-degree felony regardless of whether the defendant carried a weapon or not. When a firearm or weapon is used in committing a carjacking, then the punishment is a term of years not to exceed life in prison. When no weapon is used, then the punishment is a first-degree felony punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison.  


Failure to Return a Leased Motor Vehicle

Florida law states that whoever, after leasing property under an agreement to return it to the person or entity letting the personal property, at the termination of agreed upon lease, without the consent of the persons, knowingly abandons or refuses to return the personal property as agreed commits a third-degree felony.

Section § 812.155(2) states that the property that the defendant failed to return must exceed $300 in value to be a third-degree felony, however, leased motor vehicles generally fall into this category.

Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 fines.

Additional Resources

Statistics on Motor Vehicle Theft –Visit the Insurance Information Institute website for more information about motor vehicle thefts in the United States in the years 2013, 2014, and 2015. Also, find out more information about which states have the highest motor vehicle theft rate and what model of vehicle is stolen most often.

Fla. Stat. § 812.014 – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for more information about grand theft charges including information about shoplifting, scheme to defraud, and other theft charges under § 812.014.


Find an Attorney for Motor Vehicle Theft in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Speaking to an attorney who is certified in criminal defense will make a world of difference in helping you understand and fight your criminal charges. Call criminal defense attorney E.J Hubbs for more information about grand theft, carjacking, or failure to return a leased vehicle. 

Attorney E.J Hubbs is an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in North Miami and South Miami, Florida.

E.J. Hubbs takes cases throughout Miami-Dade County in cities like South Miami Heights, Cutler Bay, Princeton, Redland, Leisure City, Homestead, and Florida City.

Call (305) 615-5945 now to schedule an appointment to speak one-on-one with attorney E.J Hubbs.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

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