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What is the sentence for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Florida?

Jacksonville, FL |

My ex boyfriend took my car while I was in the shower and traded it for drugs to his dealer. My car was missing for 13 days (14 days would have been a felony in FL) before I located it. During the 13 days, he admitted to an officer that he had taken the car and let someone else use it. I want to know what his sentence will be if he is found guilty? How can I get the ASA to upgrade to something more than a misdemeanor? Damages exceed over $2,500 (rental car, re-keying igintion, broken windsheild) to my BMW.

I spoke to the State Attorney handling the case. Her division chief downgraded the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. She does not think that it will be upgraded to a felony because the car was not missing for 14 or more days (it was missing for 13 days and 20 hours). I own a BMW which means that the BMW dealership are the only technicians to change my ignition, locks and alarms at a cost of $1,600.00. The physical damages (cracked windshield and body damage) total $1,025.00. When sentencing, does the Judge take in account who the victim is? I am a military veteran, a single mother, and a full-time graduate student. I want the Judge to give him the maximum sentence possible.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Contact the State Attorney's Office. You may want to send a letter to the SAO that includes copies of your bills. Your boyfriend may be required to pay restitution as a part of his sentence. If no restitution you may be able to sue him in civil court.


  2. I am not sure why they didn't charge him with Grand Theft Auto which is a third degree felony. You may want to contact the Detective handling the case to find out the answer. I hope this is helpful.

    Without reviewing all the facts and evidence, it is not possible to give a proper opinion regarding the liklihood of sucess of your case.


  3. I agree with the other comments. You would likely need to contact the State Attorney's Office to question about a Grand Theft charge.

    If he committed actual physical damage to your car that exceeded $1,000.00 then the State may be able to charge him with Felony Criminal Mischief.

    Fla. Stat. sec. 806.13(3):
    (3) If the damage is $1,000 or greater, or if there is interruption or impairment of a business operation or public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power, or other public service which costs $1,000 or more in labor and supplies to restore, it is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    Good Luck


  4. Your ex-boyfriend should be charged with Grand Theft, a 3rd Degree felony, plain and simple. The discussion of how long the vehicle was missing ( 14 days??) is of no relevance whatsoever. Any taking of the property of another, regardless of the duration, is a theft. In addition, since he thereafter used the vehicle in a transaction with his drug dealer, he could also be charged with Dealing in Stolen Property, a 2nd Degree Felony which is punishable by up to 15 years.

    If there's nothing more to the story, this decision by the prosecutor smells bad. Sounds like a quick resolution by taking the path of least resistance by the state attorney. I worked as a state attorney for 15 years. If you are not satisfied with the discussed disposition, you need to speak with the division chief's supervisor.

    Good Luck,

    Robert E. Heyman, Esq.

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