The act of shoplifting can result in serious consequences regardless of the value of the item(s) that was or were stolen. Shoplifting in Florida can result in jail time, and even the loss of your driver’s license may be possible. In some circumstances, you can even be charged with retail theft despite never making a break for the exit with the merchandise in question.
Retail employees are allowed to detain suspected shoplifters. Not only can this situation be embarrassing, you could face a lawsuit and demands for restitution in addition to criminal charges. You may even be banned from that particular store such that you cannot shop there again. Speak with an experienced attorney today to explore your options in criminal defense.
Retail Theft in West Palm Beach
Retail theft is not treated lightly by the courts. If you are accused of shoplifting, you will likely face charges for theft under Florida Statute §812.014. This statute includes the phrase “attempts to obtain or use the property of another, including retail merchandise that one has not paid for,” meaning that even if you did not leave the store with the merchandise you could face theft charges. In addition, the statute covers obtaining property fraudulently, such as by switching price tags or packaging; the act of placing smaller items inside larger items with the intent of only paying for the larger items also counts as theft.
Retail Theft Penalties in West Palm Beach
Many shoplifting charges involve items that cost under $100. Ironically, the fine you can pay if you are convicted is five times more, with a possible sentence of up to sixty days in jail. This constitutes a second degree misdemeanor theft charge, often referred to as “petit theft.”
Stolen items that are valued at a minimum of $100 but under $300 will result in first degree misdemeanor charges. A prior theft conviction will also lead to first degree misdemeanor charges for items that are worth even less. A first degree misdemeanor charge can result in a sentence of up to one full year in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000.
Items that cost $300 or more will likely lead to felony charges with the possibility of spending several years in a state prison if a conviction results from these charges. The following acts can result in third degree felony charges:
- Using or bringing into a store a device designed to defeat security tags
- Coordinating with others to shoplift over $300 worth of items
- Shoplifting over $300 worth of items within a 48-hour period
- Placing items in different boxes in order to take over $300 worth of items
- Taking over $300 worth of merchandise but under $20,000 worth
Third degree felony theft charges can lead to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles shoplifting and retail theft charges to protect your interests throughout the legal process. With the help of an attorney like Brian Gabriel, you can work toward the most favorable outcome for your case. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.