Almost every example of a shoplifting case that goes before area courts is a Misdemeanor. This means that while a conviction will create a criminal record, most people avoid spending time in Jail. While a Jail sentence is certainly possible, most Courts will treat shoplifting as a minor offense.
However, there are situations where a shoplifting conviction comes with harsher penalties. In some examples, shoplifting can even be a Felony. Law Enforcement and Prosecutors are aware of the aggravating factors in Wellington shoplifting cases and are on the watch for them when making arrests and pursuing charges. A knowledgeable shoplifting Attorney could help you understand these aggravating factors and why your case is moving forward as it is.
The Value of the Items Involved Makes a Shoplifting Case More Serious
Shoplifting is one example of behavior that falls under the State’s theft laws. Under Florida Statute § 812.014, one factor in determining the seriousness of any theft case is the value of the item or items involved in the incident.
Most cases with a value of below $750 will be Misdemeanors. However, if the value of the items rises above this level, the case can move forward as a Felony. Making matters worse, Prosecutors can combine the value of multiple items involved in an incident to determine the seriousness of an allegation. For example, if a person supposedly shoplifts three purses with a value of $500 each, the case will be a Felony. As a result, the value of items involved in a shoplifting incident in Wellington is an aggravating factor.
A Person’s Prior History of Shoplifting
Shoplifting can be a minor offense if a person has stayed out of trouble in the past. However, a prior criminal history of shoplifting convictions can make an allegation much more serious. This is another aggravating factor for an individual facing shoplifting allegations in Wellington.
The shoplifting statute found in Florida Statute § 812.015 says that if a person has a prior shoplifting conviction on their record, any subsequent conviction must include a fine of between $50 and $1,000. In addition, committing multiple offenses within 30 days can lead to shoplifting charges that rise to the level of Felonies. These Felonies carry mandatory minimum prison sentences upon conviction.
Using Tools or Obtaining Help During a Theft
Other aggravating factors deal with how a person in Wellington commits the shoplifting offense in question. For example, possessing or using any device to help a person commit shoplifting is illegal. This can include a tool to remove anti-theft devices or a substance to obscure a security camera.
Similarly, it is also a Felony offense to work with another to help in the commission of shoplifting. For instance, if one person works to distract a shop owner while the other takes merchandise, this is a Felony under state law. Finally, if a person steals property from a store and later attempts to sell it, this is also a Felony.
A Collection of Aggravating Factors in Wellington Shoplifting Cases Can Bring Harsh Penalties
Every shoplifting arrest is a cause for concern. However, most people are fortunate in that their case will be a Misdemeanor with no minimum penalty. Still, some situations can arise that make a shoplifting case more serious. These are the aggravating factors in Wellington shoplifting cases.
These factors can include the value of the items taken, whether a person has a prior history of shoplifting, and if they had any help through the use of a tool or another person. Consulting with a Lawyer now could help you better understand the factors that may make a shoplifting case more serious. Call Leifert & Leifert now to discuss your defense options.