Shoplifting is a criminal offense that occurs when a person intentionally takes merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it. Law Enforcement and merchants take shoplifting seriously, which is reflected in the legal penalties for this crime in Delray Beach. When you or someone you know or care about is facing shoplifting charges, seeking Legal Representation from an experienced defense Attorney is the best course of action.
The Lawyers at Leifert & Leifert understand Florida shoplifting laws and penalties. We fight hard to protect your rights.
Florida Shoplifting Laws
Shoplifting is commonly referred to as retail theft. Florida Statute 812.015 defines retail theft as the intentional taking, possessing, or carrying away of merchandise from a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the merchant of full payment permanently or temporarily. Shoplifting may also involve altering or removing price tags, transferring merchandise to different containers, or swapping labels. Whatever method is employed, shoplifting may be a Misdemeanor or a Felony.
Generally, Law Enforcement may charge a person with retail theft up to five years after the date of the offense. There are numerous factors that may extend or shorten this timeframe, and the only way to understand how this impacts a particular shoplifting case’s penalty is to speak with a seasoned criminal and retail theft defense Attorney in Delray Beach.
Classification of Florida Shoplifting Offenses
Shoplifting penalties in Delray Beach depend on the value of the stolen merchandise, any prior convictions of the accused, and several other factors that may enhance the charge to a more severe crime.
Generally, shoplifting is a Misdemeanor when the value of the stolen merchandise is less than $750. Under State law, this offense is considered petit theft. Petit theft in the first degree involves stealing items worth $100 to $750, while petit theft in the second degree requires the theft of items valued under $100. Both degrees of petit theft carry potential penalties such as convictions, fines, probation, community service, and even Jail time.
Shoplifting may be a Felony when the value of the stolen merchandise equals or exceeds $750. The state may charge the accused with first, second, or third-degree Felony theft. The degree of theft depends on the overall value of the stolen property. Often, if contacted soon enough, we are able to influence the “filing decision” and get these charges reduced or even Dismissed.
First-degree theft applies when the value of stolen merchandise exceeds $100,000. A conviction for first-degree theft may result in a 30-year Prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. When the value of stolen merchandise exceeds $20,000 but is less than $100,000, the shoplifter may face second-degree Felony charges. The potential penalties include imprisonment for up to 15 years and fines of up to $10,000. When the value of stolen merchandise is between $750 and $20,000, the offender may face third-degree Felony charges. Penalties may comprise of imprisonment for up to five years and fines of up to $5,000. It is rare, with the right legal representation, that a person would go to Jail or Prison for a Misdemeanor or third-degree felony theft charge.
In addition to legal penalties, shoplifting convictions may have severe non-legal consequences as this is considered a crime of dishonesty and also a “morals” crime. A shoplifting conviction may result in a permanent criminal record. This could affect future employment prospects, housing applications, and educational opportunities. The shoplifter may be held liable for civil damages and be required to compensate the merchant for the stolen merchandise, any damage caused, and legal fees. Retail establishments may enforce civil recovery programs to seek additional monetary compensation from shoplifters to cover their security costs. We work extremely hard to limit any collateral penalties from this charge to our clients.
Contact an Attorney When Facing Penalties for Shoplifting in Delray Beach
Whether the Prosecution charges you with a Felony or Misdemeanor, the penalties for shoplifting in Delray Beach are serious. Shoplifting convictions have long-lasting consequences that extend beyond the legal realm. When you are facing a retail theft charge, an experienced criminal defense Attorney can help. Contact Leifert & Leifert today.