Whether you saw something you couldn’t afford and were tempted to take it or your friends dared you to steal, shoplifting is considered a serious criminal offense. If you get caught shoplifting in Florida, you could be charged with retail theft.
Charges for retail theft can range from a misdemeanor (petit theft) to a felony (grand theft). Those charges are determined by several factors, such as the value of the item stolen, types of merchandise stolen, criminal history of the defendant, and were any devices used to steal.
If the stolen property is worth less than $100, it is considered second-degree petit theft, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 60 days and fines of up to $500. If the stolen property is worth between $100 and less than $300, it is first-degree petit theft that can result in a one-year jail sentence and fines of up to $1,000. If the stolen property is worth between $300 and less than $20,000, it is third-degree grand theft, which can lead to a maximum prison sentence of five years and fines of up to $5,000.
Additionally, merchants can sue adult and emancipated minor shoplifters in civil court for three times the actual damages sustained (minimum of $200 in damages), court costs, and attorney fees. First, the merchant needs to send a written demand to the shoplifter. If the shoplifter responds and pays the damages within 30 days, they will be released from liability.
Defend Yourself with a Lawyer
Whether you are innocent or guilty of shoplifting in Florida, it is critical to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can evaluate your case, explain the possible defenses, and help obtain the most positive outcomes possible. While the goal is to get your entire case dismissed, the next best option is to negotiate a plea bargain that can substantially reduce your sentence and minimize the impact of the charges.
At Mitchell & West, our Miami theft crime attorney can provide aggressive and effective defense. We understand what is on the line and are ready to fight for the best possible results.
Contact us and schedule your private consultation today.