Shoplifting / Retail Theft
A shoplifting or retail theft charge in Florida can come with long-term consequences. Considering that this is a crime of trust, if convicted, this will be included in your permanent record and has the potential to have a major negative effect on your social, professional and financial well-being.
With this being the case, it is important that, if you have been charged with shoplifting, to immediately begin working with a qualified criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully guide you through this difficult and stressful experience.
Melbourne Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
The state of Florida provides for harsh penalties and punishments for the crime of shoplifting or retail theft. The most common defense to this charge is that the person accused of shoplifting left the store by accident after becoming distracted without realizing that he or she did not pay for a certain item.
Shoplifting is a charge that can be made against men and women of all social and economic backgrounds. Many people accused have no prior criminal record. We have represented teachers, nurses and other professionals charged with this serious crime of dishonesty.
Call an experienced shoplifting and retail theft defense attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthyMcCarthy at (321) 253-3447 if you have been charged with this serious petit theft charge. We can talk with you about the circumstances of the accusation and what you need to do right now to protect yourself.
Elements of Retail Theft or Shoplifting under Florida Law
The prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must prove the following two elements of the crime of shoplifting or retail theft at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:
- The person accused of retail theft knowingly did one of the following acts:
- carried away merchandise or took possession of merchandise;
- transferred merchandise from one container to another;
- removed or altered a label or price tag from merchandise.
- Intended to deprive the merchant of use, benefit, possession, or full retail value of the merchandise.
Definitions and Penalties under Florida’s Shoplifting Statutes
Florida’s retail theft statute defines the term “merchandise” means any personal property, capable of manual delivery, displayed, held or offered for retail sale by a merchant. The term “merchant” is defined to mean an owner or operator and the agent, consignee, employee, lessee or officer of an owner or operator of any premises or apparatus used for retail purchase or sale of any merchandise.
The “value of merchandise” is defined by Florida’s retail theft statute to mean the sale price of the merchandise at the time it was stolen or otherwise removed depriving the owner of his lawful right to ownership and sale of said item.
The term “knowingly” means with actual knowledge and understanding of the facts or the truth. Furthermore, the term “knowingly” means an act done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident or other innocent reason.
Petit thefts are categorized in Florida law according to the monetary value of the property. Generally, petit thefts involving money, goods, or services valued at $100 or less are classified as second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to sixty days in jail. In addition, if the property is not recovered, restitution for the item or items taken may also be part of the sentence (§775.082).
For items that are valued at more than $100, but less than $300, a charge of petit theft can be treated as a first-degree misdemeanor. This more serious misdemeanor charge carries a maximum fine of $1000 and up to one year in County Jail (§775.083).
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy | Retail Theft Lawyer in Brevard County
If you or a loved one has been accused of a shoplifting or retail theft charge in or around Brevard County, Florida, make sure you are well represented by working with the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy.
Dedicated to protecting your individual rights while arguing on your behalf in the court of law, the legal team will do everything in their power to reach a favorable solution to this anxiety-inducing time in your life.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call (321) 253-3447 or send an online message today. The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy proudly represent individual accused of shoplifting in and around the Florida counties of Brevard, Orange, Volusia, Seminole, Indian River and Osceola.