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Auto Theft / Burglary of a Conveyance

Crimes involving motor vehicles are exceptionally common in the Sunshine State, and many offenses are aggressively prosecuted. Whether an alleged offender has stolen something in a vehicle or stolen the actual automobile, he or she will likely be charged with a felony offense.

There is a multitude of complicating factors in these cases that can further impact sentencing, but people accused of these types of crimes often face very stiff consequences. If convicted, alleged offenders not only face the possibility of having to serve several years in a state prison but could also be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

St. Petersburg Grand Theft Auto Lawyer

If you have been arrested for allegedly stealing a motor vehicle or breaking into an automobile, you should not delay in finding legal representation. Having previously served as a felony prosecutor in the State Attorney’s Office, Melinda Morris understands every facet of these kinds of cases.

Our Pinellas County auto theft attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. fight to protect the rights of people facing these charges in communities throughout Pasco County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Hillsborough County as well as the Pinellas peninsula. You can receive a complete review of your case in which our firm will help you understand your options and answer all of your legal questions when you call (727) 388-4736 for a free consultation.


Florida Auto Theft Information Center


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Burglary of a Conveyance in Pinellas County

Under Florida law, a conveyance is defined as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. This form of burglary is committed when an alleged offender enters or remains in a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein.

While intent is traditionally a difficult aspect for prosecutors to prove, the burden is somewhat lessened by Florida Statute § 810.07. This statute states that in cases of burglary or attempted burglary, proof of the entering of such conveyance “at any time stealthily and without the consent of the owner or occupant thereof is prima facie evidence of entering with intent to commit an offense.”

People are generally charged with this crime when they allegedly break into automobiles to steal purses, stereos, or other valuable property. The classification of this crime depends on whether there is a person inside the motor vehicle at the time of the offense.

  • If there is not another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains, this is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000; or
  • If there is another person in the conveyance at the time the offender enters or remains, this is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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Grand Theft Auto in Florida

Knowingly obtaining, using, or endeavoring to obtain or to use the property of another party with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other party of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or appropriate the property to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property constitutes theft in Florida. When the property stolen is a motor vehicle, this crime is considered grand theft.

The grade of the grand theft auto offense will depend on the value of the motor vehicle that was allegedly stolen:

  • If the vehicle is valued at less than $20,000, this is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
  • If the vehicle is valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, this is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
  • If the vehicle is valued at more than $100,000, this is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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Pinellas County Carjacking Charges

Unlike burglary of a conveyance or grand theft auto charges that rarely involve motor vehicles being occupied, the crime of carjacking is taken very seriously by prosecutors because the alleged victims were present in the automobiles being taken and the alleged offender used force, violence, assault, or putting fear into the alleged victim when committing the crime.

Generally, under Florida Statute § 812.133, this criminal offense is graded as follows:

  • If in the course of committing this crime the alleged offender carried no firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon, this is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If in the course of committing this crime the alleged offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, this is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

It is important to understand that alleged offenders can face other criminal charges in addition to the offense of carjacking, depending on the harm done to the alleged victim. If the alleged victim remains in the automobile during a carjacking, an alleged offender could be charged with kidnapping. An alleged offender could also be charged with aggravated assault and/or battery if the alleged victim suffers any injuries, but the death of an alleged victim can result in the capital offense of murder.


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Find a Burglary of a Conveyance Lawyer in St. Petersburg

Have you been accused of breaking into or stealing an automobile in Florida? It is critical that you immediately seek legal counsel in order to begin developing the strongest possible legal defense.

Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and many surrounding areas. Call (727) 388-4736 right now to arrange a free, confidential consultation that will let our Pinellas County auto theft attorneys review your case.

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