In Florida, shoplifting is referred to as “retail theft.” Retail theft leads to a substantial loss for retailers across the country. Because of this, many states are resolute in their prosecution of shoplifting. The penalties are significant. A conviction will land on your permanent record to follow you around on job applications and housing applications. Additionally, you may face a lawsuit in civil court filed by the store owner you allegedly victimized. If you are facing a shoplifting charge, you should be fully informed about what you are up against. At Herman Law, P.A., our clients and their futures come first. We provide skilled and experienced criminal defense representation that you can depend on.
What is Considered to Be Shoplifting?
Florida law defines shoplifting as taking money, merchandise, or other property from a store with the intent of depriving the merchant of possession, use, or full retail value. This type of theft can take many forms above and beyond removing a piece of merchandise from a retail store without paying. Retail theft may also involve:
- Altering a price tag;
- Removing a shopping cart; or
- Switching the container of a piece of merchandise.
All of the above actions can effectively deprive a merchant of the full use, possession, or retail value of an item owned by the store.
What are the Penalties for Shoplifting?
The penalty for a shoplifting conviction will largely rest on the value of the stolen merchandise and your criminal history.
- For stolen merchandise valued less than $100, you face a second degree misdemeanor charge of petit theft. Conviction for this crime can result in up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If you have been previously convicted of petit theft, the charge is upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor. If you have been previously charged with two or more theft offenses, the charge is upgraded to a third degree felony.
- For stolen merchandise valued between $101 and $300, you face a first degree misdemeanor charge of petit theft. Conviction for this crime can result in up to one year in county jail, up to one year of probation, and up to a $1,000 fine. If this is your first offense, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to six months. If it is your second or subsequent offense, your license may be suspended for up to one year.
- For stolen merchandise valued between $301 and $5,000, you could potentially face a third degree felony charge of grand theft. Conviction for this crime may be up to 5 years in state prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
Criminal Defense Counsel Fighting Your Shoplifting Charge.
Shoplifting may sound like a trivial offense not to take too seriously. This is not the case. A criminal conviction for shoplifting carries penalties that need to be taken seriously. Not only are the immediate consequences severe, but the repercussions for a criminal conviction can reach far into the future. Attorney Ron Herman is to provide you with sound legal counsel and rigorous representation. Contact Herman Law, P.A. today.