Pretend you are in your favorite retail store, and you notice a great clearance deal. You find a blue shirt that you really like in your size, but only the purple shirts are marked with the clearance price. So, you take a clearance tag from one of the purple shirts and stick it on the blue shirt. Then, you pay for your newly discounted shirt and head out. In Florida, you are now a shoplifter.
Four Florida Shoplifting Facts to Steal Your Attention
- Fact 1: Changing the tags on an item is shoplifting in Florida, even if you pay for that item. Florida law uses a broad definition for shoplifting or “retail theft.” The law says retail theft includes taking or walking away with property or money, “altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart.” This definition means there are many ways to be convicted of shoplifting.
- Fact 2: You do not have to leave the store with the items to have shoplifted. If you just put something into your purse or backpack with the idea that you will take it without paying, you have already shoplifted. Florida law looks at your intent, and if you have the “intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value” of the property, you could be guilty of retail theft.
- Fact 3: Using a fraudulently-obtained receipt to get money back is a punishable crime. If you just ask to get money back, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor in the second degree. If you actually are given money back, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree. (Head on over to Part II to see what kind of consequences come with these different conviction levels.)
- Fact 4: Removing the price tag from an item could constitute shoplifting. If you clip off a tag in order to either take the item or obtain a better price on it, you may be guilty of shoplifting.
Call a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Firm Today for a Free, Confidential Consultation
Punishments for shoplifting can be quite severe. You could be fined, have your driver’s license suspended for six months to a year, or even be sent to jail. If you have been accused of or caught shoplifting, you should call a qualified St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney right away for a free consultation. The Khonsari Law Group has the attorneys you need to protect you through the criminal justice process and obtain the best possible result. Contact them today for a free, confidential consultation online or at (727) 269-5300.
Head on over to Part II to see what kinds of punishments you could face as a shoplifter.