Florida Shoplifting Charges
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you could be facing some serious time, depending on the specific charges and the details of the case. You should know that prosecutors are extremely aggressive in these cases, particularly if you have a previous record. Retaining an experienced and hard-hitting defense attorney would be a smart move at this point.
What Constitutes Shoplifting?
Under Florida law, retail theft, or shoplifting, is defined as taking merchandise from a store without making full payment (statutes 812.014-812.015). That means that in addition to being charged for walking off with property that doesn’t belong to you, shoplifting charges can be filed for switching or altering price tags /UPC codes, or for taking a shopping cart outside of the store property.
Two of the key things that factor into the penalties for a shoplifting conviction include the value of the stolen items and the prior criminal history of the individual.
|Less than $100 stolen||2nd degree petit theft misdemeanor||60 days||$500|
|Less than $100 stolen + prev. conviction||1st degree misdemeanor||1 year||$1,000|
|Less than $100 stolen + multiple prev. conviction||3rd degree felony||1 year||$5,000|
|$101-$300 stolen||1st degree petit theft||1 year + 1 year probation + 6 mos. suspended license||$1,000|
|$101-$300 stolen + prev. conviction||1 year + 1 year probation+ 1 yr. suspended license|
|$301-$5,000 stolen||3rd degree grand theft felony||5 yrs. prison||$5,000|
Defending Against Charges
When defending against shoplifting charges, the goal is to get charges dismissed and the record expunged. If that is not possible, reducing charges is sometimes an option. In limited circumstances, defendants may participate in diversion programs designed to rehabilitate criminal offenders while repaying costs associated with the incident. This is an option only to first-time offenders whose involvement in such a program is agreed to by the alleged victim of the crime. What issues might be considered while developing a defense strategy if the case does go to court? Just a few include:
- Proving there was no intent (merchandise was taken by accident);
- Proving law enforcement officers failed to Mirandize the suspect;
- Creating doubt in the veracity of eyewitness accounts.
In addition to criminal charges for shoplifting, perpetrators may face civil action. One common strategy businesses employ is the use of Civil Demand Letters. These may be sent with demands for reimbursement (even if the merchandise has been returned (Statute 772.11).
If you are facing charges for shoplifting, you may be looking at significant penalties. But you are constitutionally guaranteed a legal defense. At the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., our experienced Kissimmee theft and robbery attorneys will consider the details of your situation and develop a defense strategy that aims for the best possible outcomes for you. We will fight aggressively on your behalf. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, contact our office today.