As discussed in this video, if you’ve been arrested for retail theft, which is commonly referred to as shoplifting, or any kind of theft offense in South Florida, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer. Pursuant to Florida Statute §812.015(1)(d), retail theft means “…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.” Many people view shoplifting as a crime that is not that serious. To the contrary, shoplifting in Florida is looked at by the court of law very seriously. A shoplifting conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life and can affect your employment opportunities, standing in the community, and your ability to get credit. Under Florida Statute §812.014, retail theft can be classified as either petit theft or grand theft depending on the value of the alleged stolen merchandise.
The penalties for a shoplifting charge depend on the value of the alleged stolen merchandise and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If the value of the alleged stolen merchandise is less than $100, the defendant is charged with petit theft in the second degree—a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine. If you have been previously convicted of any theft offense, your second degree misdemeanor charge will be upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor charge. If you have previously been convicted two or more times for any theft offense, your misdemeanor charge will be upgraded to a third degree felony charge.
If the value of the alleged stolen merchandise is more than $100 but less than $300, the defendant is charged with petit theft in the first degree—a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail, a year of probation, and/or a $1000 fine. In addition, if you are charged with either first degree or second degree petit theft, Florida law now requires the suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months for your first conviction and one year for each subsequent conviction.
If the value of the alleged stolen merchandise is more than $300 but less than $5000, the defendant is charged with grand theft third degree—a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or up to a $5000 fine.
If you have been charged with retail theft or any other theft offense in South Florida, it is in your best interests to retain the legal services of an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney or Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. Here at the South Florida law firm of Galanter Law, our lawyers have significant experience putting together an effective defense strategy to help their clients receive reduced penalties or have their charges dismissed altogether. Given that a theft conviction can negatively impact the rest of your life, the stakes are too high to represent yourself. Contact us today—we can help you!
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