The potential penalties for a crime frequently include aggravating factors. Aggravating factors may increase the punishment you may face for a particular offense. For example, aggravating factors in Delray Beach shoplifting cases may consist of the value of the items taken, the offender’s prior convictions, and how the shoplifting occurred. If you proceed to Trial or a plea bargain without understanding these factors and how they affect sentencing and your future, you could face a punishment much harsher than you anticipated.
When you, or one you care about, is facing criminal charges for shoplifting, consulting with an experienced defense Attorney is helpful. Our team of skilled shoplifting Attorneys understands how aggravating factors may impact your sentencing and will work hard to protect your rights and get you the best result by presenting mitigating evidence on your behalf.
The Value of the Items Stolen
The primary aggravating factor in a shoplifting case in Delray Beach is the value of the items stolen. As a result, the Prosecution may bring a shoplifting charge as either a Misdemeanor or Felony.
The lowest charge is a Misdemeanor charge for petit theft. A Court uses this charge when the dollar amount is under $750 and no aggravating factors exist to enhance the case. Depending on whether the value is under or over $100, it will be either a second or first-degree misdemeanor and may be punishable by Jail time of up to a year, probation, and fines and any other terms a Court may impose.
The highest charges are Felonies for shoplifting items valued over $750. These may result in Jail or Prison sentences, as well as fines and probation. Knowing what potential punishment comes with a shoplifting charge is essential.
Prior Convictions as Aggravating Factors
Another factor the Prosecution may use to aggravate the seriousness of a shoplifting case is the offender’s prior arrests and/or convictions. For example, a previous Misdemeanor conviction for petit theft may automatically aggravate a subsequent petit theft conviction to a higher class of offense. Repeated and recent violations may elevate a Misdemeanor to a Felony charge. A third conviction for shoplifting is generally elevated to a Felony charge regardless of the amount taken.
Understanding how prior arrests and convictions may operate to increase punishment in a Delray Beach shoplifting case allows the accused to create an effective strategy to combat the enhancement. For example, where the enhanced penalties are subject to prosecutorial discretion, it may be possible to negotiate around the aggravating factor, especially if you have the right representation.
The Methods Employed to Conduct the Shoplifting
The Florida theft statute lists numerous other factors that may result in an aggravating factor. Some of the most common aggravating factors that apply to Delray Beach shoplifting cases may include working in concert with others to conceal the amount stolen, manipulating store security measures, staggering items to keep the value low, and repeated thefts of small value items.
This list of other aggravating factors is not conclusive. Speaking with a shoplifting criminal defense attorney can help a person truly understand which, if any, aggravating factors may apply to their case.
Contact an Experienced Attorney About Aggravating Factors in Delray Beach Shoplifting Cases
When you are facing shoplifting charges, discussing the case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical. Multiple aggravating factors in Delray Beach shoplifting cases may impact the punishment you face. You need counsel that understands these factors and how to combat them. Contact us today for a free consultation.