What Are the Potential Costs?
When an individual is charged with theft or shoplifting in Florida, he or she faces potentially serious penalties. This can affect one’s ability to secure a job because such a crime is classified as a crime of dishonesty. This is significant even though a misdemeanor is typically considered relatively insignificant. When a potential employer performs a background check and finds a conviction for such a crime in a candidate’s history, it may disqualify the candidate depending on the type of job. The penalties for shoplifting or retail theft include jail, fines, civil penalties, restitution, court costs, and attorney’s fees. In the event one is convicted a Grand Theft in Florida, they may be sentenced a prison.
How Does Florida Law Define Retail Theft?
The definition of “Retail Theft” under Florida Law is: “…the taking possession of or carrying away of merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value.” F.S. 812.015(1)(d).
What Action Can Be Considered Shoplifting?
An individual can be charged with shoplifting or retail theft if they remove labels, alter tags, transfer merchandise from one container to another. It is additionally unlawful to be in possession of any countermeasure to thwart an anti-shoplifting device.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting?
Under the Florida Statutes, the penalty for shoplifting depends on the value of the merchandise that is alleged to have been stolen. When the value of the property is below $100.00, a Defendant is typically charged with Petit Theft, which is a second-degree misdemeanor. Such a misdemeanor could land one convicted of the crime with up to 60 days in jail. And or a $500.00 fine. Where one has previously been convicted two or more times for a theft offense, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. Where the value of the merchandise that is alleged to have been stolen is between $100.00 and $300.00, a Defendant faces a first-degree petit theft charge. A conviction for petit theft of the first degree has a potential punishment of one year in county jail, a year of probation, and or a $000.00 fine. A Defendant that is convicted of a first- or second-degree petit theft additionally faces loss of their driving privileges for up to six months. When the value of the alleged stolen merchandise is between $300.00 and $5000.00, a Defendant may be charged with a third-degree felony and a conviction could result in a potential sentence of up to five years in state prison and or up to a $5000.00 fine.
What Are the Defenses to Shoplifting?
Some of the typical defenses to shoplifting are concealing merchandise without the intent to steal, mistake or incorrect identification of a suspect, accidental removal of merchandise from a store, and a suspect was not the individual who removed or altered a price tag.
If You Have Been Charged with Shoplifting, You Should Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
If you have been charged with retail theft or a theft offense in North Florida, it is in your best interests to find an experienced North Florida criminal defense attorney. Here at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, the attorneys have significant experience developing an effective criminal defense strategy to assist their clients, so they receive reduced penalties, or potentially have the charges dismissed altogether. It is common for a defense attorney to negotiate a plea with the prosecutor. This is a reason it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney’s job is to provide you with the best defense possible and to minimize the potential harm to your future.
About the author
Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law for over 15 years in North Florida. Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida. You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation today to find out how having an experienced attorney on your side can help. Call (904) 685-1200 today. Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207. Telephone (904) 685-1200.