Shoplifting, otherwise known as retail theft, is a subset of theft under Florida law. The value of the merchandise that is the subject of the theft or attempted theft, as well as any prior history of theft convictions, determines the level of the offense and the potential penalties that you might receive for a conviction.
If you wish to avoid a potential conviction, a Lake Worth shoplifting Lawyer may be able to help you avoid the most severe consequences of a shoplifting charge. One of our knowledgeable Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert may be able to explain your options and help you construct a well-thought-out defense applicable to your case.
What is a Shoplifting Offense?
As per, Fla. Stat. § 812.015 you commit shoplifting when you take an item from a store with the intent of permanently or even temporarily depriving the seller or the owner of the store from the full possession, use, or value of the item. Shoplifting may also include the switching or removing of price tags or labels, moving items into different containers, or taking shopping carts. A shoplifting Lawyer in Lake Worth may be able to analyze the circumstances that led to any shoplifting charges and determine whether the actions at issue rose to the level of retail theft as defined under Florida law.
Severity of a Retail Theft Offense
Depending on various factors, if you were accused of shoplifting, you may face either Misdemeanor or Felony charges. A Misdemeanor charge is less severe than a Felony charge and typically carries the potential for a maximum of one year of incarceration. A Felony charge, on the other hand, has more severe implications and can result in more than one year of imprisonment.
In most cases, a shoplifting offense is charged as a second-degree Misdemeanor offense for merchandise worth less than $100 and a first-degree Misdemeanor offense for merchandise worth between $100 and $300. You could also face a first-degree Misdemeanor offense if you have committed a prior offense, no matter the worth of the item that was taken.
A retail theft offense could also become a third-degree Felony if the items stolen are worth more than $300 but less than $20,000. If you have two or more prior theft convictions, or if you possess, use, or attempt to use specific anti-theft devices in the commission of the shoplifting, you could be charged with a Felony offense as well.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Lake Worth
Depending on whether the charge is a first or second-degree offense, Misdemeanor shoplifting offenses could result in jail sentences of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. For a third-degree Felony conviction, however, the offense could result in up to five years in prison and a $5,000 maximum fine. Moreover, a Felony conviction could have collateral consequences that you may not have anticipated.
For instance, if you were convicted of a Felony retail theft offense, may lose the right to possess firearms under federal law. Some occupations and professional licenses may also be unavailable to you. An experienced Lake Worth shoplifting lawyer may be able to defend your rights if you were accused of any level of retail theft offenses.
A Lake Worth Shoplifting Attorney May Be Able to Help
A conviction for shoplifting, no matter how minor it may seem, can have significant implications for your future that you might not expect. A retail theft conviction can impact your ability to get jobs, promotions, return to college, or even get a mortgage loan to purchase a home. Avoiding these repercussions may be more likely with the assistance of a Lake Worth shoplifting Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert.
Obtaining a reduction or dismissal of charges may be possible in selected cases. Furthermore, having legal counsel to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution and represent your interests also can result in lesser penalties in your case. To get started on your case, schedule a consultation today.