As a criminal defense attorney, each year around the holidays, I have seen a rise in the amount of people arrested for shoplifting. Often times, these people succumb to the pressure that the holiday brings. Their loved ones see the commercials of shiny new toys and presents and beg their parents for the items. In this economy when there are so many people unemployed or underemployed, there is simply no money to spare and faced with disappointing their loved ones, they attempt to shoplift the item and as a result end up in jail.
The last two months of the year are when most large retailers make their profit. All large retailers employ several loss prevention officers and have hundreds of cameras monitoring not only the store, but the parking lot as well throughout the year. During the Holidays, they step up the level of monitoring even further. Even small retailers and convenience stores have cameras that record the entire store. As a result, most shoplifters are caught and arrested.
In Florida shoplifting is known as retail theft and is charged under Florida Statute 812.014. Depending on the value of the items stolen, and if it is your first time, will depend on whether you are charged as a second degree misdemeanor, first degree misdemeanor the felony of grand theft. You do not need to simply take the item in order to be arrested for retail theft. Simply altering a label or a price tag alone is considered retail theft. For example if you this is your first time arrested for shoplifting and you shoplift property less than $100 you may be charged with a second degree misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine up to $500, up to 60 days in jail and do not forget the court costs, cost of bonding out of jail and then hiring a lawyer. So that $20 item can end up costing you at least $1000 or more.
The penalties only increase based on the value of the item and if you have been previously arrested for shoplifting. If you have previously been convicted of any theft or the value of the property you took was more than $100, it is considered a first-degree misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and fines up to $1000. If the value is more than $300 such as shoplifting an ipad or several other electronics items, that is considered a felony whether it is your first time shoplifting or not. As a result that carries up to five years in prison and fines up to $5000. As a general rule the higher value of the item, the worse penalty it carries. When you add in the time needed to take off work to attend court, the court costs, the lawyer and the bond, shoplifting a small item will cost you dearly.
Any time you or a loved one is charged with shoplifting or retail theft in northeast Florida, it is important that you seek a Jacksonville Criminal Defense attorney immediately. As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has represented thousands of clients in northeast Florida, I can fight to protect your rights and aggressively represent you.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, you can contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman at (904) 685-1200.