Shoplifting (Retail Theft)


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against Shoplifting (Retail Theft) allegations.

Many good people find themselves charged with theft related offenses.  A shoplifting conviction can have a severe effect on your future, including preventing you from obtaining future employment or housing, restricting your right to possess a firearm, affecting your ability to obtain certain benefits, and otherwise tarnish your record.  Call the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law and we'll help you navigate, not only through the criminal justice system, but also work to protect your record, seek to have your record sealed or expunged, and work to develop a strategy that most benefits you.

What is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is simply theft from a merchant, merchant's employee, farmer, or transit agency's employee or agent.  Theft is defined in Florida Statute Section 812.014.  Additional Shoplifting enhancements are listed in Florida Statute Section 812.015.  To prove the crime of shoplifting, the State must prove:

1.   You knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or to use the property of another,

2.   You did so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently,

a.   deprive that person of his or her right to the property or any benefit from it, or

b.   appropriate the property of that person to your own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.

What is the difference between Grand Theft and Petit Theft?

The only difference between grand theft and petit theft is the dollar value of the property alleged to have been taken and the potential sentence the Court can give you. 

What are the potential sentences for a Theft conviction?

Petit Theft (Less than $100)
Up to 60 days in jail

Petit Theft ($100 or more, but less than $300)
Up to 1 year in jail

Grand Theft ($300 or more, but less than $5000)
Up to 5 years in prison

Grand Theft ($5,000 or more, but less than $10,000)
Up to 5 years in prison

Grand Theft ($10,000 or more, but less than $20,000)
Up to 5 years in prison

Grand Theft ($20,000 or more, but less than $100,000)
Up to 15 years in prison

Grand Theft ($100,000 or more)
Up to 30 years in prison

Theft of a Will, Firearm, Motor Vehicle or Construction Sign
Up to 5 years in prison

Theft of Gas

In addition to the potential sentences above,
1st conviction - up to 6 months driver's license suspension
2nd or more conviction - 1 year license suspension

* There are additional laws relating to other specific items, including, theft of cargo in commerce, using a motor vehicle to assist in the offense, law enforcement property, and other specifically defined property.

What are the potential consequences of a Shoplifting conviction?

In addition to the normal theft consequences, there are enhancements for shoplifting.

2nd or Subsequent Conviction
$50 - $1,000 fine or community service hours

Shoplifting enhancements

It is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison to commit shoplifting and:
  • coordinate the activities of one of more people in committing the shoplifting, or
  • act with someone else to distract the owner, employee or law enforcement officer so the theft can be carried out, or
  • commit the theft by purchasing a box that contains items that are different or in addition to what is purported to be in the box.

It is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison if:

  • you have previously been convicted of theft with any of the above listed 4 aggregators, or
  • you coordinated the activities of one of more people and value of the property was more than $3000. 

What if I'm a First Time Offender?

First time offenders are often able to be referred to a pretrial diversion program, which is much like front-ended probation.  Each jurisdiction has different rules and policies on who is eligible and what the terms of the program are.  But basically, you would enter into a contract with the State Attorney's Office to complete certain conditions that are agreed upon (often include community service hours, a course on theft, restitution, etc.) and if you successfully complete the program, the State would drop the charges.  At that point, you may be eligible to get your record expunged.  These programs are subject to acceptance by the State Attorney's Office and a judge cannot require the State to offer you a pretrial diversion program.  Even if pretrial diversion is not available in your case, a defense attorney may be able to negotiate a sentence that allows you protect your record and ultimately help you seal the case.  Give us a call to discuss whether your case may be a good candidate for pretrial diversion. 

What if I have prior theft convictions?

In addition to above listed shoplifting enhancements, there are the normal theft enhancements if you have prior theft convictions.

If you have a prior theft conviction and are arrested on a new theft, you are facing up to 1 year in jail, even if the value of the property is less than $100.

If you have been convicted of 2 or more thefts, you are facing a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. 


What are the possible defenses to a Shoplifting charge?

There are many possible defenses to shoplifting charges.  One of the more common defenses is that you did not intend to steal the property and you were either unaware that you had it in your possession (for example, walking out of a Walmart with a small item in your possession), or you did not know the property didn't belong to you or did belong to someone else (for example, you thought the item had been paid for by someone else). 

What if I give the property back or pay the person the value of the property? Can I still be prosecuted?

Yes.  Whether the listed victim has been compensated or whether the listed victim even wants to prosecute has no effect on whether the State can prosecute you for theft.  The crime of theft is committed against the State of Florida and it is the State who is the party to the criminal litigation.  While compensating the listed victim may serve as mitigation that can help your lawyer negotiate a better result (i.e. dismissal of charges, pretrial intervention program, plea to a lesser offense, plea to a different offense), reimbursement after the fact is not a defense to theft.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Shoplifting,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)

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