Orlando Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting or retail theft is a serious offense in Florida, a state that punishes all theft offenses harshly. Not only may you face penalties imposed by the court, a conviction may affect employment opportunities and more, as you will have a criminal record. Theft offenses are considered "crimes of dishonesty," which employers frown upon. If you have been accused of shoplifting or retail theft, we urge you to contact the Orlando theft defense lawyers at Adams & Luka immediately. We provide vigorous, effective legal representation for individuals who have been arrested or charged, or who are under investigation.
Florida Statute §812.015 defines retail theft as:
- Taking property, money, negotiable documents (document showing possession of goods/merchandise), or merchandise;
- the transfer of merchandise from one container or package to another;
- changing or removing a label, price tag, or UPC (universal product code)
- removing a shopping cart
The intent of any of the above actions is to deprive the merchant of use, benefit, possession, or full retail value of the property/merchandise taken. How serious the charges you face are depend on the value of the property involved. Merchandise valued at less than $300 will typically be charged as petit or petty theft according to Florida Statute §812.014, which can be charged as first or second degree. Shoplifting or retail theft of property valued at more than $300 may be charged as grand theft, which may be charged as first, second, or third degree.Defenses to Charges of Shoplifting in Florida
Because of the potential impact to your reputation and employment, it may be worth the time and effort to fight charges of retail theft. Depending on your situation, the options may include having charges reduced, dismissed, or going to trial to clear your name. Some of the most common defenses used by Orlando shoplifting attorneys to defend those charged include:
- Intent to deprive the merchant/retail establishment of its property
- Intentionally concealing or possession of merchandise offered for sale
Prosecutors must prove certain elements of every crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of shoplifting or retail theft, intent is key. You may not have intentionally concealed an item, or purposely intended to deprive the merchant of the item or product without paying for it.
Challenging witnesses may also be a viable defense, particularly in cases where there was no video evidence and allegations are based on what witnesses claim to have seen, which may be false.Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Orlando & Central Florida
The penalties an individual may face if found guilty of shoplifting depend on the value of the merchandise taken, and whether the offense is charged as first or second degree petit theft, or first, second, or third degree grand theft.
Second degree petit theft is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail, and fines of up to $500.
First degree petit theft is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and fines of as much as $1,000.
Third degree grand theft is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of as much as $5,000.
Second degree grand theft is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
First degree grand theft is a felony punishable by up to 30 years or possibly life in prison, along with fines of up to $10,000.Contact Adams & Luka Immediately
As you can see, the punishment for a shoplifting conviction can be extremely harsh, depending on the value of the merchandise and other factors. Our Orlando retail theft attorneys are committed to providing you with unparalleled legal guidance and support, always working vigorously toward the best possible results. Contact us now for a free consultation at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.