In Florida, most retail establishments take an aggressive stance to protect their inventory and the law supports them in this effort. A retail theft charge, even when the merchandise involved had a low monetary value, can lead to a criminal record that follows a person for the rest of their life.
If you have been accused of illegally taking store property or merchandise, you should reach out to one of our experienced Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert. Speak with a Tequesta shoplifting Lawyer to learn more.
Examples of Shoplifting Under Tequesta Law
When the average person thinks of shoplifting, they probably think of hiding an item under their clothes or in a bag and leaving a store without paying. However, Florida Statue § 812.015 lists several other examples of that would be considered shoplifting:
- Carrying away money, property or documents—not just merchandise–from a retail establishment
- Removing or altering a label or UPC, or changing the sale price of an item
- Transferring merchandise from one container to another to avoid paying for it or avoid paying its full retail value
- Using a countermeasure to antishoplifting or inventory control devices
Retail theft charges become more severe as the value of the property taken increases. If the value of the property is less than $100, the offense would be charged as second-degree petit theft, which is a Misdemeanor. If the value is between $100 and $750, the charge will be first-degree petty theft, also a Misdemeanor. Stealing property valued at more than $750 is a Felony. If the accused is a repeat offender, they will be charged with a Felony no matter the value of the property.
According to Florida Statute § 812.017, requesting a refund for something of value using a false receipt is a second-degree Misdemeanor. Presenting a fake receipt to obtain merchandise, money, or some other thing of value is also a first-degree Misdemeanor.
Could Shop Employees in Tequesta Detain Shoplifters?
A store employee may use reasonable efforts to detain someone they suspect is attempting to steal property. A store employee may also detain someone they suspect is using countermeasures to thwart antishoplifting or inventory control devices. The suspect does have to leave the premises with the store’s property in order for the employee to reasonably believe the person is attempting to shoplift.
Store employees could also hold shoppers who activate inventory control devices when they leave the premises.
Even though retail employees have the right to detain people they suspect are shoplifting, their efforts must be reasonable. An Attorney can assess the circumstances of a shoplifting case and determine whether the Tequesta store employee acted reasonably.
Multiple Offenses Can Lead to Felony Charges
If a person shoplifts more than once within 30 days, the total value of the items stolen can be combined to bring a single, more severe charge. If the total value of all the shoplifted items exceeds $750, the prosecutors can bring a third-degree Felony charge, which carries a possibility of a five-year jail term. If the total value is more than $3000, the charge is a second-degree Felony, which is punishable by up to fifteen years in jail. If the aggregate value of the items is more than $10,000, prosecutors can bring first-degree Felony charges, and the sentence can be up to 30 years’ imprisonment.
Felony charges also apply to situations where two or more persons, acting together, shoplift multiple times over 30 days. These instances of organized retail crime can also be prosecuted as Felonies, with the total value of items stolen over a 30-day period combined to determine the severity of the charge.
A skilled shoplifting Attorney in Tequesta may be able to reduce the aggregate amount the prosecutor can charge, and so reduce the amount of possible jail time or any other criminal penalty such as probation, fines and community service.
Speak with a Tequesta Shoplifting Attorney Today
Although sentences for shoplifting in Florida are harsh, an experienced defense Attorney may be able to help defendants obtain a better result. First offenders are often eligible to enter a Diversion Program where their charges will eventually be Dismissed A Tequesta shoplifting Lawyer may work with the prosecutor to get a fair outcome, or go to trial and force the prosecutor to prove all aspects of the case.
If you are involved in a shoplifting case, you need a skilled Attorney at your side. Call today for an appointment.