Florida shoplifting and theft charges can result in serious criminal penalties, including lengthy jail time and hefty fines. In addition to criminal penalties, offenders may also be subject to civil penalties and monetary damages.
If you have been charged with shoplifting, otherwise known in Florida as ‘retail theft,’ you need experienced defense counsel on your side. An experienced St. Petersburg shoplifting defense attorney will be able to explain all of your legal options and raise the proper defenses to help you obtain a dismissal of your case or favorable plea deal with the State.
- Under Florida law, retail theft may consist of any of the following:
- Physically carrying away merchandise from a store
- Physically removing a shopping cart from a store
- Altering labels or tags on store merchandise
In order to qualify as retail theft, the offender must have had the specific intent to deprive the owner of the use, benefit, or possession of the merchandise.
Under the law, shop merchants are free to detain a person or persons suspected of shoplifting for a “reasonable time,” in order to try and retrieve the stolen goods. In addition to (or in the alternative to) a retail theft charge, an offender could be charged with attempted retail theft if the offender “withdrew” from the theft or otherwise did not complete it.
The criminal penalties for retail theft depend upon the monetary amount of the goods stolen. Offenders may also be subject to civil damages, which may include three times the actual damages (i.e. the amount of the merchandise stolen), plus attorney’s fees and court costs incurred.
The following defenses may be available to individuals charged with retail theft in Florida:
- Mistaken identity
- Exiting a store for some purpose other than theft
- Merchandise not found in defendant’s possession
- Poor quality security video camera footage
- Customer forgetting about merchandise in a bag or stroller
- Set-up by a co-defendant
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Shoplifting Defense Attorney Today
Shoplifting can result in serious criminal penalties in Florida. Fortunately, several legal defenses are available to combat shoplifting or retail theft charges. If you have been charged with a Florida shoplifting or retail theft offense, you should contact the experienced St. Petersburg shoplifting defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group today at 727-269-5300, or contact us online.