A 23-year-old truck driver from Hollywood is charged with grand theft auto after allegedly stealing a car that hadn’t violated any traffic laws, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Grand theft auto in Fort Lauderdale is a felony and can be punishable by serious time in prison. That’s why it is crucial to consult with a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer before making any statements to police or conceding to any searches of your property.
In this case, the tow truck driver is accused of stealing a car from private property on Northwest 15th Street and taking it to be crushed. According to police, the tow truck driver obtained the vehicle from someone other than the owner and didn’t get the person’s thumb print on a derelict motor vehicle certificate, which is required by state law.
The tow truck driver allegedly took the vehicle to an impound lot, where it was completely crushed. She is charged with grand theft auto, knowingly inducing another to sign a vehicle title and receiving a derelict vehicle without proper paperwork.
She is being held in the Broward County Jail because she has a probation violation on a previous charge of fraudulently obtaining property in another jurisdiction.
This case offers some important lessons to the public. For one, grand theft auto is a serious charge that can result in years in prison. Under Florida law, the amount of possible punishment is determined by the value of the vehicle stolen. According to Florida Statutes 812.014, grand theft is punishable by anywhere from a third-degree felony to a first-degree felony. That’s a range of 5 to 30 years.
In this case, the vehicle stolen is a 1992 Ford Escort, so it’s unlikely that the charge will be more than a third-degree felony. But still, that charge can put someone in prison for five years. That kind of charge can ruin a person’s career and reputation and cause many problems in the future.
Second, violation of probation in Fort Lauderdale can have lasting effects. Some defendants believe that getting out of jail time and getting a probation sentence is a walk in the park. But it’s not. Probation officers are paid to hound defendants and make sure they are abiding by every condition of their probation sentence.
Any minor slip-up means the defendant can be right back in front of a judge who might have given them a break with a probation sentence, which typically doesn’t make judges happy. They can sometimes revoke the probation sentence and send a person to prison for the full term of probation. For instance, if a person is sentenced to five years on probation in lieu of prison for a grand theft auto charge but fails a drug test, doesn’t report on time or commits a number of the many conditions of probation, a judge could send that person to prison for five years and revoke the probation sentence.
That’s why making sure your case is properly defended, which sometimes means getting charges tossed out or winning at trial. If not, it means getting the best resolution possible, which sometimes means striking a plea deal that works for the defendant and the state. But this charge carries tough penalties and has to be taken seriously.
If you are arrested on grand theft auto charges in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.