A Shoplifting charge may seem relatively minor, but depending on the circumstances of your offense, you could have your life derailed by a conviction or even just by the allegation alone. A conviction on your record would consistently appear on background checks by prospective employers, potentially hindering your ability to secure a job. The allegation may make it difficult to obtain another job or even maintain the one you have, depending on your skill trade or profession
Fortunately, there may be ways to avoid a shoplifting conviction, particularly for a first or isolated offense. To learn more about how you could defend yourself from these charges, get in touch with one of our trusted theft defense Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert. A Palm Beach Gardens shoplifting Lawyer could explore all alternatives that may be available to you and help you choose the best resolution possible that is applicable to your situation.
Shoplifting Offenses in Palm Beach Gardens
Florida law refers to shoplifting as retail theft, which occurs when individuals take merchandise in retail stores without paying for it. Retail theft under Fla. Stat. § 812.015 includes a variety of common actions used to shoplift, including:
- Taking possession of or removing merchandise, property, money, or negotiable instruments
- Changing or removing price tags, UPCs, or labels from merchandise
- Moving merchandise from one container to another container
- Removing a shopping cart
In each of these cases, you the Government will have to prove that you had/have the intent to deprive the merchant of the possession, use, or benefit of the full retail value of the merchandise for it to constitute shoplifting. Without the requisite intent, these actions may not rise to the level of retail theft. If you believe that you have been wrongfully accused of shoplifting, it is strongly recommended to get in touch with a Palm Beach Gardens shoplifting Lawyer.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Petit Theft
If the merchandise that is the subject of the shoplifting offense is worth less than $300, you would potentially face a Misdemeanor petit theft charge. Petit theft may be considered a second-degree Misdemeanor for merchandise worth less than $100 and a first-degree Misdemeanor for merchandise worth at least $100, but not more than $299.
A second-degree Misdemeanor offense can result in a 60-day jail sentence, a $500 fine, or both. A first-degree Misdemeanor offense can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. As the penalties for Misdemeanor shoplifting or petit theft can be harsh, individuals may want to seek out a shoplifting Attorney in Palm Beach Gardens for advice.
Shoplifting as a Felony Offense
Florida law provides for various circumstances in which shoplifting becomes a Felony offense. Two or more previous convictions can result in grand theft charges, leading to a third-degree Felony charge. Theft of merchandise worth between $300 and $20,000 is also a third-degree Felony offense.
Other circumstances may lead to Felony charges, as well. For example, if you were caught in possession of devices that are designed to defeat antishoplifting measures, you could face third-degree Felony charges. Likewise, attempting to use one of these devices to carry out shoplifting is also a Felony offense.
A third-degree Felony conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years or a $5,000 fine or both. A Felony conviction could also eliminate some of your Civil Rights, such as the right to own and possess firearms. Defendants facing Felony charges should reach out to an experienced Lawyer from Leifert & Leifert right away.
Contact a Palm Beach Gardens Shoplifting Attorney for Advice
Shoplifting is often a Misdemeanor offense, but it can become a Felony offense in various circumstances. Whether it is a Misdemeanor or a Felony, however, you may face the stigma of a permanent criminal record and the difficulties that could arise in career advancement, housing, and credit as a result of your record. If law enforcement officials accuse you of shoplifting, you may wish to get advice from a Palm Beach Gardens shoplifting Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert right away.
Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming and stressful experience that only legal counsel may be able to ease for you. You may be able to get answers to your questions about your case, thoroughly understand your alternatives, and choose the route that is least likely to impact your future. To get started on your case, schedule a consultation today.