120 S. Olive Ave., Suite 402
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Specific Types of Larceny Charges

Grand theft is a term used to describe any theft that in which the items taken exceed a certain monetary value. The exact cost of the item or items needed to constitute a theft of this magnitude may vary based on location. Grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the jurisdiction and the situation surrounding the theft. Factors which may affect how the case is charged may include whether force was used during the theft and the exact value of the stolen goods. Legally, theft is often synonymous with larceny.

Robbery is the taking or attempting to take something of value from another person by use of force, threats or intimidation. It is committed in the presence of the victim. Robbery is commonly known as a “holdup” or a “stickup and is usually divided into different ‘degrees’. The degrees vary by state and can also depend on whether a weapon or something that appears to be a weapon was present and/or if an accomplice was present. Any degree of robbery is considered a felony by law.

There are a number of different types of robbery, but in general they all share certain common traits and are specific types of larceny. Two of the most common forms of robbery are armed and unarmed, which may both be involved in another specific form — bank robbery. The term “highway robbery” is also often used both in reference to an actual crime, as well as in a more abstract sense in reference to a crime or perceived immoral act that is flagrant and performed boldly.

In general, robbery is differentiated from other types of theft or larceny in that it is typically performed in connection with violence or a threat of violence. Someone breaking into a car and stealing something from within the car when no one is around is committing theft, since there is no threat or violence performed against the owner of the car. On the other hand, if the person approaches a car in which the owner is currently located and threatens or does physically harm the person to steal the item from the car, then it would constitute robbery.

You might also hear the term ‘aggravated robbery’. If a suspect makes a victim believe that he has a deadly weapon by showing a weapon, saying he has a weapon or displaying something that appears to be a weapon, it is aggravated robbery.


Burglary is the unlawful entry of a ‘structure’ to commit a felony or a theft. Burglary is commonly known as a “break in,” or, “breaking and entering.” A ‘structure’ is usually in reference to physical buildings but not cars. Car break-ins or thefts are considered larcenies.

Burglary does not necessarily translate to damage. It is still considered burglary if someone enters through an unlocked door or window with the intent to commit a felony or theft. This is called ‘non-forcible entry’.

‘Forcible entry’ is when windows and doors are broken or forced; screens, walls or roofs are broken; tools are used; locks are picked, etc. You might also hear about ‘attempted forcible entry,’ which is when a burglar attempts to enter but is frightened off.


Larceny is similar to burglary. The major difference between the two is that the perpetrator did not illegally enter a structure by using forcible, non- forcible or attempted forcible entry (with the exception of a motor vehicle.)

All thefts of motor vehicles or from motor vehicles (parts, accessories, personal property) are considered larcenies whether the vehicle was locked or unlocked.

Along with motor vehicle theft, larcenies can include purse snatching, shoplifting, theft of any bicycle, fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, forgery, con games, etc.


Sometimes viewed under the category of theft or larceny, extortion is when a person forces another person to do something against his will (usually give up money) by threat of violence, property damage, extreme financial hardship or damage to the person’s reputation. Blackmail is a type of extortion. Racketeering is also often linked to extortion.

In robbery, the offender steals from the victim by immediate threats and force. In extortion, the victim willingly hands over personal property in order to avoid future damage or violence.

The definitions of burglary vary from state to state. It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney in your state to learn more about the legal definitions and consequences of crime committed.


West Palm Beach Petty and Grand Theft Defense Attorney

In Florida, the seriousness of a theft charge depends upon the amount taken. Theft of $300 or less is misdemeanor petty theft, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Theft or embezzlement of more than $300 is grand theft, a felony that may be subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three or more years.

At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we take a proactive approach in defending clients who have been charged with theft. Even a conviction for petty theft can be very detrimental to your future. A misdemeanor shoplifting conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. In addition, one petty theft conviction will build on another, and your third offense will be charged as a felony.

Many theft charges can be resolved through a diversion program called pre-trial intervention. If you want to take responsibility for the theft charge, we can take the money you would otherwise pay us and use it instead to pay restitution, fine, and court costs. Our fees for this would be less than defending you in a court trial, and we can often resolve the charge without you getting a criminal record. If we are successful in getting the charges dismissed, we can have your record sealed, so that if you are ever asked if you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, you can confidently answer no.

If you did not commit the crime of theft, we can prepare an aggressive defense and force the state to prove its case.

Civil penalties in shoplifting cases

Florida has a civil statute allowing stores to collect triple damages from people caught shoplifting. If you have been arrested for shoplifting from one of the major department stores, you may receive a letter from a law firm demanding payment to resolve the store’s civil case. If you receive such a letter, you should bring it to a lawyer immediately. Do not pay the amount requested because that could be used as an admission in your criminal case. As your lawyer, we will draft a response to the letter protecting your rights and will resolve the civil case after the conclusion of your criminal case.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.

Share this Article

This entry was posted in Florida Criminal Statutes, and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *