What Are The Legal Defenses For Grand Theft In Florida?

This blog explains the legal defenses for Grand Theft.  Every crime has a legal defense, and Grand Theft is no different. When facing a Grand Theft charge, it’s important to remember that intent is a critical part of making this charge stick. Under Florida law, a person can only be charged with Grand Theft if they intended to take the property belonging to another person.  Lack of intent and some other extenuating circumstances may serve as good defenses to a Grand Theft charge. Let’s take a look at some of the most important legal defenses to Grand Theft in Florida.

Lack of Intent

If a defendant took property in the good faith belief that they were not stealing, this would be considered a lack of intent and a defense to a Grand Theft charge.  Also, if a defendant took property because they were unaware that the property was in their possession, this would also prove that there was a lack of intent to actually take the property of another person.  When bringing forth a lack of intent defense, you will need to present evidence that proves you didn’t intend to steal.

Lawful Purpose

Did you take the property because you had a legal right to do so?  This issue may come up in cases where one person’s property was left in another person’s home or in their yard. The defendant may have a good reason to take that property if it was in their home or yard, and this may a be a good defense to a Grand Theft charge in Florida.  Other authorized persons may include landlords or property management staff cleaning out an abandoned apartment and disposing of a former tenant’s property.  The courts may decide in that case that the landlord and his agents have a legal right to take the property under certain circumstances.

Duress and Necessity

Under Florida law, someone accused of Grand Theft may present a Duress or Necessity defense. Under this defense the accused will argue that they had no other choice but to commit the crime because not doing so would put them in danger. For example, someone may have stolen a vehicle so that they could escape someone else who had a gun pointed at them—this might be considered a good defense against a Grand Theft charge. In the Duress and Necessity defense, the danger must outweigh the crime being committed before it’s considered an appropriate defense.


If the defendant received permission to take the property from the property owner, this would be considered a good defense against a Grand Theft charge. For example, if a defendant was given permission to drive a friend’s car for a weekend then that would fall under the consent defense.

If you’re facing a Grand Theft charge, call an experienced Key West criminal defense firm, and, together, we will take care review to the details of your situation to formulate the best defense.