Facing Shoplifting Charges in Florida?
Get a Lakeland attorney on your side who knows how to fight back
Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the United States. Motivations for shoplifting can vary widely. Some shoplift as an act of youthful rebellion, while others are compelled by kleptomania. Some steal as a career. Others steal out of sheer desperation.
The exact charges pressed for shoplifting depend on the circumstances of the incident and the value of the item(s) stolen. But no matter the precise charge you’re facing, shoplifting is a serious offense which carries severe consequences.
If you or a loved one is facing a shoplifting charge in Florida, you should consult a criminal defense attorney to help navigate the legal system and fight for your future. Get Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law on your side right away.
What’s the penalty for shoplifting in Florida?
Two important factors determine the punishment for shoplifting charges:
- The total value of the items being shoplifted
- The defendant’s prior shoplifting history
The charges you will face when being charged with shoplifting depend on the value of the items being shoplifted. For cases where the total value of the items being shoplifted amounts to less than $750, you will be charged with misdemeanor petty theft. This charge can be punished with a maximum of six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
If the total value of the items was $750 or greater, you will be charged with grand theft. Grand theft charges can be either misdemeanor or felony charges. It is up to the discretion of the prosecutor if they want to pursue felony charges or not.
For some, shoplifting is a habitual action. Some steal from stores to resell items. These shoplifters may face the most severe punishments. The shoplifter’s past record is carefully considered in deciding to pursue misdemeanor or felony grand theft charges. The penalty for grand theft can be as much as a year in prison.
Legal defenses for shoplifting
There are many legal defenses which can be employed in a shoplifting case.
To establish that a person was shoplifting, the prosecution must demonstrate two elements:
- The person intentionally concealed or possessed an item they had not purchased.
- The person intended to permanently deprive the store or business of this item by removing it.
What is important here is the intent. In some circumstances, a person may accidentally conceal an item on their person or remove it from the store without the intention of stealing it. For example, the defendant may forget while shopping that they had placed an item on themselves while trying on clothes or jewelry or may have accidentally placed one item inside another. They may absentmindedly exit the store without paying for an item they were holding. Or maybe the self-checkout scanner didn’t work correctly.
In such a case, if it can be established that the person had no intention of stealing the item, it is possible that they could mount a successful defense against shoplifting charges.
This is merely one example. There are many possible circumstances and defenses which can be utilized against shoplifting charges. The best way to find out what sort of defense should be employed in your case is to consult a qualified shoplifting defense attorney.
Get a Lakeland shoplifting defense attorney on your side right away
If you or a loved one are facing shoplifting charges, you should seek out a qualified defense attorney immediately. Having a defense attorney working the case as soon as possible helps to ensure that you don’t make any missteps as you deal with the charges. It puts you in the best possible shape to beat the charges or receive the minimal punishment.
What’s more, working with the right defense attorney will significantly ease the burden of your legal woes. I will be able to handle almost all the details, filings, and deadlines associated with your charges, helping to minimize your time expenditure in dealing with the case.
No matter if your shoplifting case is complex or dead simple, having the right defense attorney in your corner can make all the difference. Getting a lawyer means you have help navigating every step of the process and guidance on your best legal options. If your case proceeds to trial, you need a trial attorney who knows the law and the courts in Polk County advocating for you.