Shoplifting in Florida
Shoplifting in Florida may be referred to as petit theft, grand theft (over $300), or retail theft (under $300).
Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.015(1)(d), retail theft means, “…the taking, possession of, or carrying away of merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another: or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value.”
Retail theft can be committed in a variety of ways, and merchants with probable cause that a person has committed shoplifting can detain the person in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable amount of time, in order to retrieve the shoplifted items or prosecute the suspect.
Shoplifters in Florida may be facing serious criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. However, these types of theft cases may present a variety of defenses for criminal defense lawyers to consider. Questions to consider would be, was there an actual intent? Did the accused actually leave the store or facility? Was the stop and search of the accused properly conducted? Was there any racial motivation for the stop and search of the accused?
If a conviction of theft is entered on your record it could effect your reputation, and your career may be at risk, since theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude.”
Some counties in Florida allow individuals accused of first-time and low-level crimes to participate in pre-trial diversion programs. If an accused fulfills the requirements of the program, the criminal charges against them will be dropped. However, other important evaluations may also be necessary such as any motions needing to be filed.
Hire an attorney
If you have been charged with retail theft or any other theft offense in Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal services from experienced criminal defense attorneys. Our lawyers have the experience to put together an effective defense strategy to help their clients aggressively, passionately, and logically. Call the Law Offices of Smith and Eulo today, for a free consultation of your case, 407-930-8912.