It is easy to regard shoplifting charges as minor crimes with relatively minor consequences. But serious consequences, including fines and jail time, can follow from aggravating factors in West Palm Beach shoplifting cases.
Fortunately, not all shoplifting charges result in convictions. A Leifert & Leifert attorney can determine the best course of action for your case.
Shoplifting in West Palm Beach
The term “shoplifting” is not mentioned explicitly in the Florida statutes. Rather, such offenses are often referred to as retail theft. Under Florida Statutes 812.015, retail theft is taking goods, funds, property, or negotiable documents from a merchant and unlawfully transporting them from the merchant.
Additionally, attempting to remove or modify a label or price tag is also prohibited. Moving goods from one container to another, or deceit that denies merchants access to the merchandise, is also considered a crime under the law.
A dedicated Leifert & Leifert attorney can further explain the effects of aggravating factors on shoplifting cases in West Palm Beach.
Product Value Determines Severity of the Charge
The value of the items taken determines the severity of the penalties for shoplifting. It is considered petty theft in the second degree when the total value of the stolen goods is less than $100. If convicted, you may face 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or a combination of both. This is a second-degree misdemeanor in most cases, but it can upgraded to first-degree when you have a prior conviction for shoplifting.
It is considered petty theft in the first degree when the value of the stolen goods is between $100 and $300. A conviction can lead to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine. Depending on the circumstances, you may only be subject to a fine rather than probation or jail time.
West Palm Beach law also requires that your driver’s license be suspended for up to six months, and each subsequent conviction will add an additional year to the suspension.
West Palm Beach lawyers at Leifert & Leifert are knowledgeable about shoplifting cases and the aggravating factors associated with them. They can fight to protect your rights and strive for the most favorable possible outcome.
Aggravating Factors May Lead to Grand Theft Charges
There are instances where the overall value of the goods will change the nature of the underlying shoplifting charge. Aggravating factors, in this sense, are so overwhelming that it is no longer a petty offense.
For instance, theft which involves stealing property with a value between $300 and $5,000, is grand theft in the third degree by the law. If found guilty, you face a maximum of five years in state prison, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both if there is a successful conviction.
Leifert & Leifert attorneys have the skill and understanding necessary to treat your situation with the attention and diligence it deserves.
Discuss How Aggravating Factors Affect Your West Palm Beach Shoplifting Case
An experienced Leifert & Leifert lawyer knows how to combat aggravating factors in West Palm Beach shoplifting cases. When it comes to shoplifting arrests, there is a variety of defense strategies to consider. An incident may be the result of a complete misunderstanding.
Regardless, it is vital to handle any shoplifting charge with care. Even a relatively minor charge can yield significant consequences. Conducting an investigation and forming a solid legal defense as soon as possible is imperative.
Obtaining legal counsel can equip you with the insight necessary to handle your case. Please speak with us about your cases, the factors involved, and how to proceed by scheduling a consultation today.