Man breaking into car to steal it and commit grand theft auto with screwdriver as a burglary tool. This isn't carjacking as there's no proof a person is inside the car.


Florida punishes Grand Theft Auto under the Theft statute, with sentences up to 5 years in prison. Theft occurs when you knowingly use the property of another with intent to deprive the person of a right to the property. It doesn’t matter if you take the car for a joyride or keep it for months. The law treats both situations the same.

Police rarely catch thieves stealing cars. Therefore, the State of Florida added laws to make Grand Theft Auto easier to prove. The law presumes you know you possess a stolen car if: you drive a recently stolen car; you drive a car with a tampered ignition; or you bought the car for a price much cheaper than fair market value.

The penalty may increase if you steal the car from someone. Then the offense becomes Carjacking. Carjacking penalizes taking a car from someone while using force or violence, or assaulting the victim or putting the victim in fear. Carjacking is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. You face life in prison if you Carjack someone while carrying a firearm. Check out the page explaining penalties for Firearm Offenses by clicking here.

Talk to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney!

Maybe you’ve been arrested for taking a car that belongs to you. Maybe you didn’t use any force or put anyone in fear. Mr. Brown has handled and tried Grand Theft Auto and Carjacking offenses and can’t wait to discuss your situation with you.

The criminal defense firm Brown Legal PLLC operates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but regularly handles cases throughout South Florida and the rest of the state. Before it’s too late, talk to Mr. Brown to see if he can help you best defense your case! Reach out over the phone at (954) 524-6700 or through the Contact Page if you have any questions.

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