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What happens if you get caught shoplifting for the first time in Florida?

Criminal Defense Attorney

What happens if you get caught shoplifting for the first time in Florida? – Criminal Defense Attorney in Orlando, Florida

Shoplifting, or retail theft, is a serious criminal offense in Florida. If you are caught shoplifting, you may face severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. As a first-time offender, it is crucial to understand the legal ramifications of shoplifting and the potential consequences you may face.

The legal definition of shoplifting in Florida is taking merchandise with the intent to deprive the retailer of its value. The value of the merchandise is determined by its retail price. Thus, if you take a $20 item without paying for it, you could be charged with a misdemeanor for theft of property valued at less than $750. Contact our Orlando criminal defense attorney near you to help get your life back on track.

Penalties for getting caught shoplifting in Florida

If you are caught shoplifting for the first time in Florida, the penalties you may face will depend on the value of the merchandise you stole. If the value of the stolen merchandise is less than $100, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Value of Stolen Merchandise Charge Potential Penalty
Less than $100 Second-degree misdemeanor Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
$100 – $750 First-degree misdemeanor Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
$750 or more Third-degree felony Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000

If the value of the merchandise is between $100 and $750, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If the value of the stolen merchandise is $750 or more, you could be charged with a third-degree felony. This charge carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Additionally, Florida law allows retailers to seek civil damages from shoplifters. This means that if you are caught shoplifting, the retailer can demand that you pay them an amount of money that is equal to the value of the stolen merchandise, plus an additional amount to cover their legal costs and other damages.

As a first-time offender, you may have the option to participate in a pretrial diversion program. This program is designed to help first-time offenders avoid a criminal conviction by completing certain requirements, such as community service, counseling, or restitution to the retailer. If you successfully complete the program, your criminal charges may be dropped, and you may avoid a permanent criminal record.

However, pretrial diversion is not available to everyone, and not all first-time offenders will be eligible. Additionally, the terms of the program can be strict and challenging to complete, and failure to comply with the program requirements can result in the reinstatement of criminal charges.

If you are facing criminal charges for shoplifting in Florida, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, negotiate with prosecutors to seek a reduction in charges or sentence, and defend your rights in court.

In addition to legal representation, there are steps you can take to mitigate the consequences of a shoplifting charge. For example, you should avoid speaking to law enforcement or admitting guilt without the advice of an attorney. You should also avoid contacting the retailer or attempting to settle the matter on your own, as this can potentially incriminate you and complicate your case.

In conclusion, shoplifting is a serious criminal offense in Florida, and first-time offenders can face severe legal and financial consequences. If you are caught shoplifting, it is essential to seek legal representation and understand your rights and options. Our highly experienced Florida criminal defense lawyers are determined to target the weaknesses of the prosecution’s argument and create an effective defense strategy on behalf of our clients. For more information on the ways that Leppard Law Theft Lawyers can make an impact for you, contact us at (407) 476-4111 now.

FAQs

What should I do if I’m caught shoplifting for the first time?

If you are caught shoplifting for the first time, it’s essential to remain calm and avoid making any statements without the presence of an attorney. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and legal options.

Can I participate in a pretrial diversion program for a shoplifting charge?

Pretrial diversion programs are available for some first-time offenders. However, eligibility criteria can vary, and not all individuals may qualify for the program. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process.

Will a shoplifting conviction stay on my record permanently?

If convicted of shoplifting, it will result in a permanent criminal record unless you qualify for a pretrial diversion program or other options that may lead to the dismissal of charges.

How can a criminal defense attorney help with my shoplifting case?

An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess the details of your case, develop a strong defense strategy, negotiate with prosecutors, and represent you in court to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Are civil damages in addition to criminal penalties for shoplifting?

Yes, retailers can seek civil damages from shoplifters in addition to any criminal penalties imposed by the court. This is meant to compensate the retailer for losses and cover their legal costs.

Contact Leppard Law for Expert Criminal Defense

For expert criminal defense representation in Orlando, Florida, Leppard Law Theft Lawyers is here to help you. Our team of skilled attorneys will fight for your rights and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us at (407) 476-4111 to schedule a consultation today.

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