Retail Theft Attorney in Tampa & Shoplifting Lawyer in Brandon, Florida
Florida Statute 812.015 defines Shoplifting or "Retail theft" as the taking possession of or carrying away of merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value. While the common scenario involves concealing the merchandise and exiting without paying, retail theft can be charged where price tags are changed to reduce the price, or fraudulent returns are made. Even taking the shopping cart from the parking lot can support an arrest for retail theft.
Retail Theft charges are punished based on the value and type of the stolen property. A first timer shoplifting charge involving property less than $100 in value is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in jail, six months of probation, fines and court costs, and may include special conditions of probation such as completion of a theft abatement course. If the property was valued at more than $300, the charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If two or more people work together, or if there were multiple thefts within a 48 hour period, the value of all the merchandise can be aggregated to determine the level of the crime. Retail heft is also an enhanceable offense, meaning that a second offense raises the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor, and a third or subsequent charge is elevated to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison.
In addition to these penalties, a theft conviction will also result in a suspension of your drivers license. The suspension is up to six months for the first conviction and one year for subsequent convictions. The court can also impose a fine up to twice the value of the stolen property, and the store may pursue damages in civil court for a minimum of $200.00.
Have you been charged with retail theft in Tampa Bay? A criminal defense lawyer from The Lawler Firm can help.
Theft cases can be defended in many ways depending on the particular circumstances of your case. In some cases, taking the property out of the store is a simple oversight - this is common while shopping with children. A Tampa Bay shoplifting defense attorney can discuss your options based on the facts of your case.
If you have been charged with retail theft, call The Lawler Firm now for a free no obligation consultation. You will speak to your actual shoplifting criminal defense attorney who will meet with you, even on evenings and weekends. Call Now (813) 413-8828!