Have you ever forgotten to pay for something at the store? Many people have, as it happens all the time. Are they criminals? Did they feel like committing a “heist”? Usually, the answer is no. A slip of the mind is all it takes to be labeled a “shoplifter”. Luckily, defense lawyers have numerous ways to beat this charge.
It all starts with finding out about the store/business. Your lawyer can investigate whether or not the store employee accurately identify you as the person stealing. Is there video evidence of the alleged theft? Your lawyer will always maintain that you actually intend to purchase the merchandise, but simply forgot to pay before you left the store.
In the state of Florida, shoplifting is seen as a very serious crime even if you don’t believe it to be so. Penalties for a shoplifting depend on the value of the stolen merchandise that they allege you swiped. Your prior criminal history definitely plays a major role. If you have been previously convicted of any theft offense, your current second degree misdemeanor charge for shoplifting can be upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor charge. If the value of the stolen merchandise is less than $100, you will be charged with petit theft in the second degree, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.
It’s easy to say be careful when you are shopping, but you already know that. It doesn’t seem to stop this crime from happening. Another useful defense tactic is finding out if the alleged thief has a medical condition relating to kleptomania. Your defense attorney could persuade the judge to get you medical help for your condition, rather than have you serve any time in jail.