Florida Shoplifting Laws
Have you ever been accused of shoplifting? According to statistics, close to 1 in 11 people shoplift. That is nearly 27 million people in the United States. People in all walks of life are accused of shoplifting; from young teenagers to adult crime rings. Whether you have been wrongfully accused or were involved in a misunderstanding, it is important that you are aware of the laws surrounding your case.
In the state of Florida, shoplifting is considered retail theft. The following are examples of retail theft crimes:
- Changing labels or price tags
- Taking a shopping cart
- Carrying away or taking possession of a merchant’s property
These acts must be committed with actual intent to do so. When an individual aims to deprive a merchant of the possession, use, or full retail value of their products, they can be accused of shoplifting, or retail theft. If a merchant has probable cause to believe that you did intend to shoplift from them, they can hold or detain you for a reasonable time frame.
What are the penalties for shoplifting?
Typically, the severity of your charges and penalties will depend on the amount of property you were accused of stealing or attempting to steal.
- Less than $100 worth of property: As a second degree misdemeanor, this crime can carry fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
- Between $100 and $300: This is considered a first degree misdemeanor and carries up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail. You can also be charged with a first degree misdemeanor if you have previous theft charges.
- Between $300 and $20,000: This can be charged as a third degree felony and can result in up to $5,000 in fines and up to 5 years in prison.
- Between $20,000 and $100,000: As a second degree felony, this carries up to $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison.
For multiple offenses, you may face even more severe penalties. Furthermore, merchants may have the right to sue a shoplifter, resulting in additional fines and damages.
Take your shoplifting charges seriously. Contact my firm today if you are facing charges and need legal representation.