Shoplifting and petty thefts, also known as petit thefts, are commonly believed to be minor offenses that do not carry severe penalties. However, this is not always the case. State Law places significant consequences on shoplifting offenses, especially when they involve repeat offenders.
It’s not uncommon for a person to find themselves wrongfully accused of shoplifting due to the increased attention to this type of offense. One of our experienced Lawyers at Leifert & Leifert can guide you through aggravating factors in Ft. Lauderdale shoplifting cases and get a favorable result.
Shoplifting Charges in Ft. Lauderdale
According to State Law, shoplifting charges typically fall under one of two categories: petit theft and retail theft. A petit theft charge is commonly associated with smaller-value theft cases. On the other hand, retail theft charges commonly include aggravating factors that cause the prosecution to charge the offense more seriously.
Petit theft is often referred to as petty theft and typically applies to most shoplifting cases. A petty theft offense requires the value of the stolen property to be less than $750.
A second-degree misdemeanor petit theft charge generally means the stolen property is under $100. A first-degree misdemeanor petit theft charge commonly involves possessions valued between $100 and $750. After a previous theft offense conviction, a court may also invoke an additional charge for stealing anything valued less than $750.
A third-degree felony petit theft charge is typically the highest for a stolen property offense. For a third-degree crime, a property must be valued at under $750, and the case needs to involve two or more prior convictions for theft offenses.
According to Florida Statutes § 812.015, shoplifting is often charged as petit theft. However, there are several aggravating circumstances that could force a Prosecutor to increase the severity of a theft charge. For example, a shoplifting offense may be a third-degree felony if the accused used antishoplifting countermeasures. Additionally, if the stolen property has a value of more than $750, the offense may also be charged as a third-degree felony.
A shoplifting charge may become a second-degree felony if the stolen possessions cost more than $750 and the accused individual has a previous conviction for stealing property valued at greater than $750. A seasoned Lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could evaluate a shoplifting case to determine the potential charges based on the case’s circumstances and aggravating factors.
Potential Defenses to Shoplifting Charges and Aggravating Factors
Facing a shoplifting charge is stressful for an accused individual. However, it is essential to understand that a charge does not automatically result in a conviction. There are several defenses that an accused person could use based on the case’s circumstances, including:
- Factual challenges, including if a person did not steal an item
- Intent or state of mind challenges such as the accused individual’s knowledge and intent to steal
- Challenges to the value of the stolen possessions
- Constitutional challenges to the search, contact, or arrest by a police officer
Providing a proper defense could secure a favorable result for an accused person. A dedicated Attorney in Ft. Lauderdale could help defend against factors that might aggravate a shoplifting charge and make a case more complicated.
Contact an Attorney About Aggravating Factors in Ft. Lauderdale Shoplifting Cases
You might believe that a shoplifting offense is like a traffic ticket or other minor violation; however, a conviction for shoplifting could carry significant consequences that affect you later in life. When facing a shoplifting charge, you should seek a proper defense against the allegations.
A knowledgeable Lawyer who understands aggravating factors in Ft. Lauderdale shoplifting cases could help find the weaknesses in a prosecution’s case and work to seek a favorable outcome. Contact our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert for a free consultation about your case.