Shoplifting is among the most frequent cases that go before criminal courts in South Florida. While many people view these allegations as minor annoyances, the fact is that a shoplifting conviction will create a criminal record and comes with the potential for jail time.
Having a strong defense is vital when fighting a shoplifting charge. This is where the expert team at Rossen Law Firm comes in. We prioritize protecting your freedom by providing personalized, detail-oriented defenses for shoplifting in South Florida. Our team of shoplifting attorneys in Fort Lauderdale is ready to fight for you.
A major part of any criminal case is the intent to commit a crime. A prosecutor must prove that not only did you commit an illegal act, but you had the intent to do so.
Shoplifting falls under the category of theft according to Florida Statute § 812.014. To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor needs to prove that you took merchandise from a store with the intent of depriving the owner of its use. Prosecutors may point to the removal of price tags, the concealment of an item under clothing, or the hiding of an item in a different part of a store to show this intent.
A skilled defense lawyer can work to disprove the idea that you intended to commit a shoplifting offense. A defense strategy based on intent argues that an alleged shoplifting incident was a simple mistake and that you lacked the necessary intent to commit a criminal offense. Maybe you were distracted by your phone or struggling to keep your kids under control. With the help of an expert South Florida lawyer, you could assert that you did not have the intent to shoplift.
The dollar value of goods allegedly stolen can impact many aspects of a shoplifting case. The main factor that determines the severity of a shoplifting charge is the value of the items involved in the alleged incident. For example, all items with a value of between $100 and $750 are a misdemeanor known as petit theft. Here, a conviction can result in a fine of no more than $1,000, a jail sentence of one year, or both. By contrast, if the items have a higher value, the court will treat the case as a felony.
The value of an item is usually determined when a store employee or loss prevention officer rings it up at the register and provides a receipt. While it can be tricky to dispute the value of an item on a receipt, there are steps that an expert attorney can take to minimize the effects of this evidence.
It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to make the receipt admissible in court. There is lots of red tape in this process, and a prosecutor that does not get all their ducks in a row could be unable to prove the value of an item in court. One defense strategy that a Fort Lauderdale lawyer can use is debating the true value of items involved or questioning whether all the items included in an incident report were involved in the shoplifting incident.
Another way to defend people against shoplifting charges in South Florida is to argue that police officers violated their Constitutional rights during investigations and arrests. All people have the right to be free from searches without proper cause. They also have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning.
A Miranda violation occurs when law enforcement coerces someone to give a statement against their will. It is critical to understand that loss prevention officers are not members of law enforcement, meaning that an unfair interrogation by these people is not a Miranda violation. However, if a search occurs without proper probable cause, or a police officer extracts a confession without reading your rights, the results of that search or line of questioning cannot go before a jury.
Allegations of shoplifting are always serious. A conviction creates a criminal record and can come with heavy fines or even jail time. It is crucial that you have the best attorneys working on your defense.
Rossen Law Firm is ready to take the lead in building defenses for shoplifting in South Florida. These may include raising doubts about your intent to steal, working to lower the severity of a charge, or arguing that a police officer violated your rights during a search, arrest, or interrogation. To learn more about what we can do for you, schedule your strategy session today.
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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