If you are caught shoplifting in Florida, you could face serious penalties. While many people think that shoplifting isn’t a serious crime, the reality is that you could face either a misdemeanor or felony for committing this act.
The kinds of penalties you will face will depend on the value of a stolen item. For example, if you stop merchandise valued at under $100, then you could be charged with petit theft in the second degree. This is normally penalized with up to 60 days in jail and/or fines of up to $500.
As the value of the stolen item increases, the potential penalties do as well.
Most people don’t realize it, but you can face a felony charge for stealing property valued at $301 and $5,000. For example, if you were to shoplift a valuable name brand bag that is worth $500, you could face a third-degree felony, up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.
What can you do to protect yourself if you’re accused of shoplifting?
If you are accused of shoplifting, you need to take the accusations seriously. Your priority should be to collect evidence of your innocence and to talk to someone who has the legal knowledge necessary to help you build a strong defense.
Mistakes happen. You might have walked out of a store after forgetting that you were holding an expensive item. You might have brought a duplicate of an item sold in the store into the store and been falsely accused of stealing from the owner. Whatever the case may be, it’s your right to defend yourself. You don’t deserve to face these charges without having a say in what happens next.
Good defenses for shoplifting charges can range from proving that you didn’t steal anything to showing that there isn’t enough evidence to convict. The only way to know what kind of penalties you’ll face and the defenses that you may be able to use is to get to know the laws more specifically and to determine what kinds of evidence the prosecution may have against you.