Arrests for shoplifting are always serious matters. Even incidents that result in prosecution for petit theft are Misdemeanors where convictions will create a criminal record and could see you spend time in Jail.
However, aggravating factors in Boca Raton shoplifting cases could see a Prosecutor pursuing a case as an example of a Felony. This means a conviction could see you lose vital civil rights and may come with a mandatory-minimum Prison sentence. Fighting back against these allegations should be at the top of your priority list. Hiring a shoplifting Attorney to handle the case can help lower the seriousness of a charge or even bring a total acquittal.
The Value of the Property Involved in a Shoplifting Incident
The main factor determining the seriousness of a shoplifting charge in Boca Raton is the value of the items in the alleged theft. Shoplifting falls under the category of simple theft charges under state law. Specifically, Florida Statute § 812.014 sets a list of charges that apply based solely on the total value of these items.
For example, shoplifting is petit theft when those items are between $100 and $750. These cases are Misdemeanors under state law. This means convictions can never result in more than one year in Jail.
However, other examples of shoplifting are Felonies. This applies whenever the value of the items exceeds $750. In the most extreme examples, a shoplifting conviction will come with a mandatory-minimum Prison sentence.
Prior Convictions Enhance the Seriousness of a Conviction
Most criminal cases take only the facts of a specific charge into account when determining the seriousness of a charge. However, shoplifting is an exception to this rule. According to Florida Statute § 812.015, judges deciding sentences after a conviction can examine a person’s criminal record to determine if any prior shoplifting convictions are present. If so, the judge must impose an additional fine between $50 and $1,000. In addition, repeated offenses within 30 days can justify a Prosecutor pursuing a case as a Felony, regardless of the value of the involved items. This factor can lead to an aggravating case result for individuals accused of shoplifting in Boca Raton.
An Attorney Could Provide Support by Explaining Aggravating Factors in Boca Raton Shoplifting Cases
Most shoplifting cases have a reputation as minor annoyances in a person’s life. Indeed, this is true when a person has no prior convictions, and the value of the items is low. However, as the value of the items rises, or when shoplifting becomes a habit, the penalties become much more severe.
The main aggravating factor in Boca Raton shoplifting cases is the value of the item. For example, the theft of an item with a value of more than $750 will always be a Felony. The harshest consequences bring mandatory Prison sentences upon conviction.
More severe penalties will also follow if a person has prior convictions for shoplifting on their criminal record. A third shoplifting conviction is always a Felony. Talking with a Lawyer could help you better understand the aggravating factors in Boca Raton shoplifting cases. They are ready to develop a defense against these charges that may obtain an acquittal in court. Reach out today to get started.