Despite some people viewing allegations of shoplifting as simply a nuisance, these charges are very serious. State law treats shoplifting the same as theft, meaning a conviction for shoplifting an item of even minimal value could leave you facing jail time and a criminal record.
An expert South Florida shoplifting lawyer can help you avoid this outcome. Our knowledgeable theft attorneys at Rossen Law Firm can explain the state’s shoplifting laws and how they apply to your case. We work to understand your specific goals and build a defense that protects your rights and freedoms.
According to Florida Statutes § 812.014, it is against the law to obtain someone else’s property while intending to deprive the owner of its use. The common definition of shoplifting—taking an item from a store without paying for it—falls under this rubric.
Other aspects of state law also prohibit activities related to shoplifting. Fla. Stat. § 812.015 further defines the concept of retail theft to include:
Under this expansive definition, you could face shoplifting charges even if you never took merchandise from a store without paying for it. Our Fort Lauderdale shoplifting attorneys can help you better understand the reason for your arrest and what a district attorney will need to prove in court.
The potential penalties for a shoplifting conviction are harsh. The main factor determining the penalties in a shoplifting case is the value of the item involved. Shoplifting items worth less than $100 is a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a sentence of no more than 60 days in jail. As the value of the items involved increases, though, so do the potential penalties for conviction. It is not unusual for instances of shoplifting to involve felony charges.
In addition, state law includes special provisions that apply to people with multiple shoplifting convictions on their criminal records. Even in cases where the items have minimal value, a second or subsequent conviction requires the court to impose an additional fine of between $50 and $1,000.
Fortunately, it is possible to avoid a conviction in many cases. Our South Florida shoplifting attorneys can explore the facts that led to an arrest to develop a powerful defense. We could argue the police did not have probable cause to make an arrest, that a store clerk’s recollection of events was imprecise, or that you lacked the intent necessary to show your intention to steal an item.
An allegation of shoplifting can have a profound impact on your life, since these charges fall under the category of the state’s general theft laws. All such cases create a criminal record and carry the potential for jail time after a conviction. In addition, a shoplifting mark on a criminal record may make it difficult to obtain housing or employment.
A South Florida shoplifting lawyer at Rossen Law Firm is ready to help. Our expert team will explain the state laws that control these cases and what a prosecutor needs to prove. With this information, we can build a defense that protects your freedom. Schedule your free strategy session today to get started.
Rossen Law Firm’s legal team understands what’s at stake when you’re charged with a crime in South Florida. We’re committed to defending you and protecting your rights. Our legal team is ready to create a customized strategy for your case to fight for the best possible outcome. We handle Criminal, DUI, Federal, Domestic Violence, Marchman Act & Baker Act cases, and more.
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