THEFT ATTORNEYS

Theft Attorneys, Alavi, Bird & Pozzuto recognize sometimes, people can be wrongfully accused. We also know that everyone makes mistakes or impulse decisions that should not impact the rest of our lives. You deserve a Florida Theft Lawyer who empathizes with your circumstances while striving to favorably resolve the charges with as little impact to you as possible. Contact us at (352) 732-9191 or email us about your case.

PETIT THEFT, SHOPLIFTING AND RETAIL THEFT CAN AFFECT YOUR LIFE

If you have been charged with shoplifting or theft in Florida, you could face potentially harsh penalties that may affect your reputation and personal life. For example, many employers require an applicant to disclose if they were convicted of retail theft, as the offense is considered a crime of dishonesty. This disclosure must be made even if the offense was a simple misdemeanor, or the amount of the theft is seemingly insignificant.

Additional penalties for shoplifting or retail theft may include jail, fines, driver license suspension, civil penalties and restitution for the amount of the property stolen. Other Florida legal terms commonly associated with retail theft can be petit theft or grand theft. Grand Theft is a felony crime that exposes a person to the possibility of lengthy prison terms.

SHOPLIFTING OR RETAIL THEFT OFFENSES UNDER FLORIDA LAW

Retail Theft, more commonly known as Shoplifting, is defined as taking possession of merchandise, property or money with the intent to deprive the merchant of the use, benefit, possession or full retail value of the item under Florida Statute 812.015.

A person can also be charged with Retail Theft if they alter or remove labels or tags, move merchandise from one container to another, or remove a shopping cart from a merchant. It is also unlawful for anyone to possess any countermeasure to an anti-shoplifting or inventory control device.

PUNISHMENT FOR THEFT OR SHOPLIFTING IN FLORIDA

In Florida, the severity of the available punishment for Theft depends on the value of the property alleged to have been stolen.

  • Petit Theft in Florida
    Under Florida Statute 812.014(2)(e), the crime of Petit Theft is defined as the unlawful taking of property worth less than $300.

    • To prove the crime of Petit Theft, the State must prove a person took another person’s property with the intent to deprive the person of a right or benefit of the property; or took the property for personal use or the use of another person not entitled to the use of the property.
    • Penalties for Petit Theft
      The value of the property taken determines whether the crime is Petit Theft of the First Degree or Petit Theft of the Second Degree
    • Petit Theft of the First Degree
      It is considered Petit Theft of the First Degree if:

      • The value of the property taken is worth less than $300, but more than $100; or
      • You have a prior theft conviction.
    • In Florida, penalties for Petit Theft of the First Degree, may include any combination of the following:
      • 1 year in jail,
      • 1 year of probation, or
      • A fine of up to a $1,000.
    • Petit Theft of the Second Degree
      If the value of the property taken is worth less than $100, the crime is considered Petit Theft of the Second Degree.
    • In Florida, penalties for Petit Theft of the Second Degree, can include any combination of the following penalties:
      • 6 months in jail,
      • 6 months of probation, or
      • A fine of up to a $500.
      • Driver’s License Suspension
        If you are adjudicated guilty of Petit Theft, your driver’s license can be suspended up to:

        • Six months upon a first conviction.
        • One (1) year for each subsequent conviction.

CAN I BE CHARGED WITH A FELONY AND GO TO PRISON?

Yes. In Florida, if the property alleged to have been stolen is valued at $300 or more, a person can be charged with GRAND THEFT. If you are charged with Grand Theft, your best decision is to discuss your case with an experienced Florida Grand Theft Lawyer who can properly advise you of your options.

  • Grand Theft of the Third Degree
    • Grand Theft of the Third Degree is committed if the property taken is:
      • worth less than $20,000, but more than $300;
      • a will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument.
      • a firearm.
      • a motor vehicle.
    • Penalties: Grand Theft of the Third Degree is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5000 fine.
  • Grand Theft of the Second Degree
    • Grand Theft of the Second Degree is committed if the property taken:
      • Is worth less than $100,000, but more than $20,000.
      • Is shipping cargo worth less than $50,000.
      • Is emergency medical equipment worth more than $300.
    • Penalties: Grand Theft of the Second Degree is a Second Degree Felony punishable by up to 15 years prison and a fine of up $10,000.
  • Grand Theft of the First Degree
    • Grand Theft of the First Degree is committed if the property taken is:
      • worth more than $100,000
      • shipping cargo worth more than $50,000
    • Penalties: Grand Theft of the First Degree is a First Degree Felony and is punishable by:
      • A minimum sentence of 21 months in prison,
      • A maximum sentence of thirty years in prison,
      • 30 years of probation, or
      • A fine up to $10,000.

OTHER REPERCUSSIONS TO SHOPLIFTING

  • If convicted of Petit Theft, a person is required to be fingerprinted, and their name will be recorded in a national database for employer background searches according to the Florida Fingerprint Requirement.
  • If convicted of a Misdemeanor Theft, the State can suspend a person’s Driver License for 6 months to 1 year, and if the conviction is a second offense, their driver’s license is required to be suspended.
  • Additional fines and restitution can be imposed on anyone convicted of shoplifting up to double the value of the item taken.

CIVIL PENALTIES: A RETAIL STORE MAY COLLECT FEES

Anyone found guilty of shoplifting can also face civil penalties under Florida Statute 772.11. Many large retail establishments will collect the personal information of the alleged offender and turn this information over to law firms that act as collection agencies. The law firm will then send a letter to the alleged shoplifter demanding a civil penalty be paid to the retailer. This Civil Penalty Demand Letter will usually demand a fee around $200 be paid within 30 days. If it is not, the letter will usually state the retailer will take further action. This type of suit is for civil proceedings and does not bar criminal prosecution. It is imperative to hire a Retail Theft & Shoplifting Attorney in this situation who is experience with Florida Theft law and who is committed to defending your best interests.

EVIDENCE TO PROVE SHOPLIFTING

If you have been arrested for shoplifting, the prosecution will usually look for the following types of evidence when prosecuting your case:

  • Testimony from employees of the merchant or establishment from where the item was allegedly taken
  • Any surveillance camera
  • Testimony from other eyewitnesses

A Theft conviction may adversely affect your life now and follow you around in the future. Contact Gainesville & Ocala Criminal Defense Attorneys Alavi, Bird & Pozzuto today to discuss your case. We are aggressive trial attorneys with proven courtroom skills and creative negotiators who strive to resolve your case with the least impact on you, your family and your future. Call (352) 732-9191 today.