Shoplifting: A Not-So-Innocent Crime

From the moment you awake in the morning to the second you lay your head down to go to bed, there will have been 550,000 shoplifting incidents in the U.S.

Although most think of shoplifting as one of the more “harmless” crimes, it is considered “retail theft” in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Senate, a person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to either temporarily or permanently:

(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
(b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

The penalty for shoplifting depends on the value of the stolen goods.

Penalties based on the value of goods:

Value less than $100:
the offender committed petit theft of the second degree, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree. This is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or up-to a $500 fine.

More than $100 but less than $750:
It is considered a Petit Theft of the First Degree. This is punishable by one year in jail, one year of probation, or a fine of up to $1,000.

More than $750 but less than $20,000:
This is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Legal representation is critical to avoiding or minimizing the harsh consequences of a theft charge. Pre-trial diversion programs are available in both misdemeanor and felony cases and afford first-time offenders an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction. If approved for a program, it is likely that the case will be disposed of “nolle prosequi” which is Latin for “unwilling to pursue”. If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of petit theft in South Florida, contact South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael B. Cohen today.

The initial consultation is free and he is always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

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